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W.Va. state employee pay switch plan on hold

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A controversial plan to switch thousands of state employees from semi-monthly to biweekly pay next month is on hold, after the state Enterprise Resource Planning Board voted Monday to delay the switchover.

State Auditor Glen Gainer objected to the delay, accusing legislative leaders of “playing politics with pay” in raising objections to the change — particularly that the current biweekly pay plan will provide salaried employees with a bonus 27th paycheck once every 11 years.

“This is nothing but political gamesmanship,” Gainer said after the meeting. “Every major employer in the (Kanawha) Valley pays this way.”

Legislative leaders have objected to the current biweekly plan over the bonus paycheck scenario, which would cost an estimated $55 million when it next comes up in 2020. Legislative auditors contend the additional paycheck could be illegal, since state law prohibits paying state employees prior to their services being rendered.

During interim meetings in October, Senate President Bill Cole, R-Mercer, said of biweekly pay: “We intend to pay every dime we owe every state employee but we don’t intend to find $4 million or $5 million (a year) in the state budget to handle the decimal point.”

However, Gainer said Monday that the delay will cost taxpayers money by complicating calculations of leave time and pensions…

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