2017 Legislative Interim Update

Lawmakers Told State Agencies Face Challenge to Retain Workers

Employee recruitment and retention remain a problem for the Utah State Tax Commission, Executive Director Barry Conover told the Legislature’s Business, Economic Development, and Labor Appropriations Subcommittee at its July 26 meeting.

Conover said 732 public employees work for the Tax Commission in six divisions, yet the agency “cannot get enough staff.”

He said it’s difficult in particular to retain tax collectors and auditors because the commission cannot compete with the higher wages offered by  large and mid-sized accounting firms.

In addition, Conover referenced changes to state retirement and health insurance benefits over the past couple years, saying that when benefits were better, employees “could get a lower wage and they would stay for the retirement issue or the medical issue.”

“We have good medical. I’m not complaining and our people don’t complain,” he said. “But those were compensating values between salary and retention.”

Conover also explained that the agency’s “turnover is costly,” noting that the commission uses its efficient employees to train new hires. He said depending on the position. it takes one to five years for a new hire to become fully trained and knowledgeable about the various tax codes.

UPEA often hears from employees struggling to meet their expenses with low wages. Get involved in the Legislative Committee, where members vote on the Association’s legislative priorities, by contacting Kamarie Nicdao at 801-264-8732 ext. 203, or knicdao@upea.net.

Social Services Appropriations Committee Considering Cuts to Office of Recovery Services

A report by the legislative analyst of the Office of Recovery Services (ORS) shows a 35 percent decrease ($3.07 million) in health claim collections from the Bureau of Medical Collections (BMC).

The report, presented to members of the Legislature’s Social Services Appropriations Committee on July 26, recommends cutting full-time positions at the bureau as a result of the reduced workload. .

ORS administrators responded to the recommendation by proposing limiting the potential reduction to five full-time employees. They also proposed reassigning affected employees  to other areas that are experiencing an increase in workload.

UPEA staff is tracking this issue and supports the ORS recommendation from ORS to preserve current employee positions through reassignment rather than a reduction in force.

To view the report, click here.

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