- Associated Press - Thursday, September 18, 2014

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Staff at five of six public Kansas universities who voted to leave the civil service received their first raises in several years.

The classified staff chose to leave the civil service last year because of frustration with stagnant pay, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported (https://bit.ly/1Dlw4C2 ). The vote removed the staff from control of the Legislature and allowed the universities to determine their pay. Staff at the University of Kansas left civil service years ago.

“The benefit of this change was almost immediate,” Ali Levine said, “resulting in the first raise a lot of us had seen in over five years.”

Levine is the chairwoman of the University Support Staff Council, an organization that represents more than 4,000 employees at public universities. She told the Board of Regents on Wednesday in a statement that most staff saw pay raises July 1.

That includes custodial and maintenance workers and some administrative and supervisory jobs that receive hourly wages.

Levine, who also works at Wichita State University, said staff there received a 3 percent raise for this year. The raises were equal for workers, but Levine said the university is planning merit-based raises.

“People were excited about that,” she said.

She said universities still have details to work out, such as evaluation matters, but that they are “hopeful our administrations will continue to keep us involved and allow us to help them in any way we can.”

Levine said some colleges are considering new software to improve their employee review systems.

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Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, https://www.cjonline.com

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