The ranks of state middle management will be more closely scrutinized this year under a bill signed into law Monday by Gov. Chris Gregoire.
The state will have to report how many members of the Washington Management Service there are, and how much they receive in bonuses.
“There should be sunlight in the dark halls of management,” said Carol Dotlich, president of the Washington Federation of State Employees.
The union, the largest in state government, has chaffed at the rules surrounding the service.
Last year, rank-and-file workers in the Department of Ecology studied the results of public-records requests and found that bonuses were boosting management pay faster than the rate of regular raises for other staff members.
Gregoire said the results weren’t accurate but demonstrated why information about Washington management service should be easier to find.
“When I checked, nothing improper had occurred, which served to tell me that this should be very transparent – reporting on an annual basis so everybody can see what is going on,” she said.
Gregoire pledged to trim middle management in her first term. The state work force was 9.2 percent management in 2005 and is 7.5 percent management now, according to the Department of Personnel.
But the management service was supposed to be a few elite workers with customized job descriptions; instead, it has 4,500 positions, said Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor.
“The core question is, what is the architecture of supervision within the agencies?” he said. “We’re not even clear on how they get funding for bonuses.”
Seaquist said he wants to shrink the ranks of middle management. He said he plans to use the first report on it by the Department of Personnel to help him write a bill to achieve that goal.
The measure signed Monday also requires a report on executive positions and allows unions to negotiate when management proposes converting a standard slot that is empty into an exempt position.
Adam Wilson: 360-753-1688