March 8, 2023
Address pay gap; fund and prevent staff shortages; invest in training and technology
MSEA-SEIU Member Amy Hill, who works as a human services caseworker for Maine DHHS, gave this testimony Feb. 22 as a private citizen to the Maine Legislature’s Appropriations and Health and Human Services committees in support of ending the State Employee Pay Gap:
To the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee and the Health and Human Services Committee:
I am submitting testimony on my own time on the budget regarding the importance of funding public services and addressing continued retention issues. I have been a state employee working for DHHS for over 25 years. The importance of funding public services and retention continues to be a concern.
During my years of state service, I have seen high to impossible caseloads, lack of resources, lack of support from management, and lack of training to support the job. To continue to provide quality services, it is important to provide funding to retain and attract well qualified workers. It is important to stay competitive with the private sector. I have seen people leave because they have found jobs that have better benefits and/or salary as well as less stress due to more manageable job duties.
DHHS has been an ever-evolving system with changes in management, direction of services, changes in technology, and policy. As a state employee, this is very challenging to continue to manage on a direct-care level.
The need to adequately fund public services can make a difference in the quality, longevity of workers, the amount of experience state employees have, and attract more qualified workers.
I urge the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee to address the pay gap in comparison to other states, to adequately fund and prevent staff shortages, and to have adequate resources such as training and technology.
Amy Hill, Augusta