Beginning next year, about 3,000 state government employees who are not covered by labor union contracts will no longer receive automatic cost-of-living salary increases.

Instead, Gov. Pete Ricketts announced Wednesday, they will be subject to new "pay-for-performance" standards that will tie "merit increases" in salaries to success in meeting performance goals.

"This new pay-for-performance plan will bring state agencies into alignment with private sector best practices and give leaders a new tool to recognize our teammates who are making state government more effective, efficient and customer-oriented," Ricketts said. 

The change, which impacts only employees in agencies under the governor's management control, is in line with his ongoing efforts to "run government like a business," Ricketts said.

Over the past year, Ricketts said, he has ordered creation of job descriptions for top positions in state government, hired a chief human resources officer, developed goals and measurements for agencies under his control, and trained state employees in process improvement.

And, he said, he has "worked to eliminate hundreds of unnecessary positions" in state government.

Ricketts raised the possibility that he may raise his pay-for-performance plan as a point of negotiation in next year's negotiation of a new labor contract for union employees.

But, in 2018, he said, his new pay raise policy will not affect any state government union employees.

The first opportunity for a performance-based pay increase for non-union employees on the goals set would be Jan. 1, 2019. 

Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSDon.

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