The State Civil Service Commission agreed today to suspend merit pay raises for some 56,000 rank-and-file government workers for the second straight year. The measure passed by a 6-1 vote. Commission Vice Chairman John McLure urged workers to be thankful to be employed and to ride out these tough times.

Commission member Scott Hughes says he is new to the panel and regrets having to vote for the proposal because he realizes times aren't easy for most people right now.
Lionel Hardman represented state employees at the meeting. He encouraged the commission to be mindful of all the expenses state workers incur in their daily lives. He says the commission members
make more money than other state workers.
The pay raises are based on annual evaluations and the Jindal administration says agencies can't afford the 4 percent increase. Hardman encourages the commission to vote against the suspension of the merit raise.