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Ecology push for stricter WMS limits

Ecology members who have studied the growth of the Washington Management Service in depth used a hearing Monday on a bill limiting special pay for WMS employees to push for further reforms.
Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-26th Dist., called the special pay freeze for WMS and exempt employees a “common sense temporary pause.”Local 443 Ecology member and Federation Executive Board member Kerry Graber applauded the bill, but said more could be done.

She presented charts showing that pay for WMS in Ecology is out of whack with national averages for executive pay. She also presented data about how the state could save tens of millions of dollars by trimming the size of WMS, including just not replacing WMS employees who leave state service.

“We’re seeing an inequity and we’d like to see more reform in this area,” Graber told the House Ways and Means Committee.

Stan Leja, an Ecology hydrogeologist and member of Local 443, said the current fiscal crisis presents an opportunity for action.

“It think it’s (HB 2998) something that’s needed but doesn’t go far enough,” Leja said. “I think it needs to be permanent.”

Seaquist said further legislation getting at the WMS problem is coming.