State government employees rarely make headlines, and when they do, the news is often bad. That's especially true in these cash-strapped times, when layoffs, postponed pay raises, cries of inefficiency and marches on state capitols are all the public ever hears about the nation's more than 2 million state government employees.
But Wednesday, May 7, many government workers will get public plaudits when 19 states mark State Employee Recognition Day, an annual event sponsored by the National Association of State Personnel Executives (NASPE).
"With nearly every state facing a budget crisis, it's more important than ever to show our dedicated state employees how much they are appreciated," said Sue Roberson, NASPE president and director of the Indiana Dept. of Personnel.
Festivities in participating states range from an awards ceremony in Georgia to a barbecue in Idaho to a singing contest in Washington.
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) has asked local merchants to offer discounts to state employees.
"In challenging economic and budget times, these dedicated servant leaders have assumed additional responsibilities and extra duties. . . .observance of South Carolina Employee Recognition Day provides a special time to express our appreciation and gratitude to our state employees for their hard work and dedication to our continued well-being and quality of life," Sanford said in a press release.
States holding employee recognition days include: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
State Employee Recognition Day was created in 2001 by former NASPE President Donna Traywick and former South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges (D) in partnership with the National Governors Association. In 2002, 12 states reported holding some kind of recognition event for their employees.