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Scott recommending that state civil service workers get bonuses

School teachers aren’t the only ones Gov. Rick Scott wants to pay more.

When Scott unveils his $74 billion budget on Thursday – the highest dollar figure in state history – it will include bonuses of $1,200 for each of the state’s civil service employees in non-supervisory roles.

The chief negotiator for the union representing the employees said he was surprised by Scott’s offer, which he received late Wednesday.

Previously, Scott had told the union he would propose bonuses only for up to 35 percent of workers. “It’s better than expected,” said Doug Martin. “This is a significant financial commitment to the employees, and we appreciate that.”

Scott’s proposal applies to the state’s civil service workers in agencies like the Department of Revenue and the Department of Transportation and non-sworn employees at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, covering jobs that range from research scientists who studied the oil spill to support personnel in prisons.

Along with the bonus of $1,200 for each employee, Scott is offering additional bonuses of either $5,000 or $2,500 for employees who are reviewed favorably by supervisors. Martin said he’d like assurances that those additional raises aren’t doled out strictly to favorites but to those who deserve them.

Despite the offer, which Martin called “generous”, he said his group still prefers cost of living pay increases of five percent. The downside to Scott’s offer, he said, is that bonuses are for only one year and they aren’t figured into an employee’s retirement payouts. A salary increase would be.

Martin said his union, AFSCME Florida Council 79, will continue to negotiate with Scott’s office. If negotiations reach an impasse, where neither side can resolve it, lawmakers will decide the outcome in next year’s budget.

Although Martin said he won’t accept Scott’s offer, he said it’s a good one that he respects. “We’re certainly glad the governor has recognized that all employees are deserving of raises,” Martin said. “It’s been a long, long tough haul.”