Even before Gov. Rick Scott publicly touts a new bonus plan for some state employees, a union representing some of those workers has in effect told the governor, "Thanks but no thanks."
The union is the Florida Police Benevolent Association (PBA), which represents officers in the Florida Highway Patrol and other agencies. The PBA said it would seek across-the-board raises for its members instead of what Scott is proposing, which is a one-time $1,200 lump-sum bonus for employees.
"We appreciate the governor's acknowledgement that the officers deserve an award for their outstanding accomplishments," PBA executive director Matt Puckett said in a statement. "But we believe base salary increases are long overdue. Some officers have gone six years without a wage increase due to state budget constraints."
Puckett said the PBA would seek pay increases "through the legislative budgeting process" and that the union is "hopeful that the governor will have a change of opinion." Public school teachers are the only group Scott is recommending receive an across-the-board pay raise, of $2,500 each.
The PBA and Scott have an interesting history. The union strongly supported Scott's Democratic opponent, Alex Sink, in the 2010 race for governor, and ran a memorable TV spot that accused Scott of endangering public safety with a plan to cut $1 billion from the state prison budget. After the election, Department of Corrections employees voted to replace the PBA as its bargaining unit with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
-- Steve Bousquet