Saturday, December 29, 2007

Daniels announces state employee pay raise for 2008

INDIANAPOLIS (December 19, 2007) - Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels today announced state employee salaries will rise 4.8 percent in 2008 on average. Since taking office, Daniels has made properly compensating state employees a top priority through his "pay for performance" program. Prior to the Daniels administration, all state employees received the same across-the-board increase regardless of job performance. This approach led some high-performing employees to leave state employment because they felt unfairly and inadequately compensated.

"It's the rule in life that those working the hardest and getting the best results are rewarded more than those doing a poor job, but Indiana state government, until now, didn't apply that rule," said Daniels. "The best public servants deserve the best pay."

"We have been able to significantly increase salaries and benefits and increase them dramatically for those doing the best job of serving taxpayers," Daniels added. "Because of the new approach, we are in an improved position to attract and retain top talent, even while holding total payroll costs flat."

All state employees will receive a 1.5 percent increase that will be reflected in the employees' final 2007 check. Those whose performance evaluations "meet expectations" will receive an additional three percent performance-based increase for a combined total pay raise of 4.5 percent. Staff who "exceed expectations" will receive an additional 8.5 percent performance-based increase for a combined total pay raise of 10 percent. These merit-based raises will become effective on the last check in February for agencies completing their employee evaluations by the end of January.

Approximately 80 percent of state employees will receive a rating of "meet expectations," while 10 percent will "exceed expectations." Employees in the lowest 10 percent will receive a work plan designed to improve their job performance to the "meets expectations" level.

In addition to salary adjustments, over the last three years, Daniels also authorized increases in the state's contribution to employees' health insurance and implemented two bonus programs. Even with larger increases in average state employee compensation, total payroll costs to the state have dropped by nearly $50 million since the start of the Daniels administration. The overall decrease was made possible by a 10 percent reduction in the number of state employees.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Rank in Rankrz

I don't know if it is because I am sleepy or what but I have completed the Rankrz registration and all but I still don't understand it. I have two votes--one of them mine--and I have a new place to promote my blog, About the site, I read that Rankrz is a user-generated ranking site, which gives ad revenue opportunities to users. I want ad revenue. They want initial users for their beta site. This, I think is what I was supposed to accomplish for Rankrz and I think that I did it. If it were the aforementioned items, then we have all met our objectives and that is just fine. It is a nice site and I like it when I get help with keywords. Maybe you should go check it out for yourself. Look in the box below.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas and have a prosperous New Year

This was a good day for children. They were happy and enjoyed the day. The ham could have been better but I had two vegetable dishes--asparagus and corn and scalloped potatoes with butter and sharp cheddar cheese and corn bread sage dressing.
I got very little sleep over the past two days.
Of course, I didn't get any gifts BECAUSE I AIN'T GOT NO MAN...but that is another blog post.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Well tomorrow is Christmas Eve...

and the carnage will be worse than ever.
Last minute shopping, nick knacks and whatever will take up most of everyone time so if you run into rudeness or if they are out of everything at the store please keep in mind it is Christmas Eve.
Folk coming in from out-of-town can't drive and don't know your town as well as you do so be patient, don't flip anyone off--it's Christmas Eve.
Be patient when picking loved ones up from the airport because it will be crowded so be ready to wait and remember to greet your passengers with a smile. Do not say, "what were you doing in there? Buying stuff? We ain't got time for that! Don't spend all your money in one place!"
It's Christmas Eve. Don't drive through traffic switching lanes and blowing your horn and slamming on your breaks. It's Christmas Eve.
And mostly don't send your spouse out for last minute ingredients--it's Christmas Eve and he or she doesn't want to be bothered either.
(Now when Christmas dinner isn't cooked, don't complain.)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Fly me to the moon--or Australia!

I've never been to Australia but I hear it's nice and I wouldn't mind visiting. I hear it's warm. I plan on visiting somewhere out of the country soon. It’s a country larger than the whole of Europe and unless you are backpacking for a year, you will need several holidays to Australia just to see half of it. I'm going to visit the cities of Sydney and Melbourne, dive the Great Barrier Reef, walk in the rain forest, drive the Great Ocean Road, surf the great beaches, cruise the beautiful Whitsunday Islands, enjoy the rugged west coast and the vast desert of the red center. Then I'm going to sleep. The good thing about a good vacation is all of the good rest you can get.
However, I'm not the only one who wants to go. Anyone can call to book a flight to Australia.

Let the Countdown begin

As of December 22, the real Christmas shopping shall begin. It will be ugly. It will be a mess. People will argue and snatch gifts from your hand. It is the real deal.
Anyone in this country that celebrates Christmas is in a store on this day finishing up the last of the holiday holiday shopping.
It's too late to order stuff off of the Web because it is unlikely that it will arrive by The Day.
Watch out for bad parking bad driving and getting cussed out for pulling in front of people. A car full of gifts and the police at an accident is not the way to get the holiday cheer going.
And watch out for having packages visible in the car. Anybody walking by can see what you have and take it--even when stopping to have a lunch. Eat first and then shop. You can also take packages home then enjoy the evening.

Stay warm this winter

When thinking about home heating this winter think about gas wall heaters.
They're great if something were to go wrong with the furnace--not all of us have signed up to get emergency repair with our utility companies across America. You automatically have back-up heat with a gas wall heater.
Portable room heaters are great if you don't have the space in your home for a fire log burning or even a vent free fireplace. You should consider a wall heater as an alternative heat source. A wall heater will make your rooms more comfortable on a cold winter day, and can even save you quite a bit of money on your heating bill.
I use a portable room heater when I'm downstairs to save on my winter heating costs. I make it a point to keep the thermostat at 68 degrees--like recommended but that definitely means wearing a sweater and using a safe, clean and efficient portable room heater.

What to tell the children?

My 9-year-old son on Friday saw that the Zoe 101 girl who says she is 16 announced her pregnancy.
I said she ought to be ashamed. Take into account that I'm talking to a 9-year-old.
I know that girl has more than enough money and support from her family to do as she pleases. When you do on your own dime, you are grown and can do as you please. She can become emancipated and live her life as an adult legally if she chooses to do so. She is grown--even at 16.
However, my little boy is a child. He didn't seem to see anything wrong with what Ms. Spears was doing. He thinks he is grown anyway so I let him know the whatfor.
"When you are old enough to have sex you are also old enough to pay your own bills and have a place of your own in which to have said sex."
I also told him if you are old enough to have a baby you are old enough to care for said baby. I'm not going to do it.
He was astonished.
"All I did was ask what was wrong with it!"
He finished putting on his school clothes and went on about his day as a child.
But now, at least he knows.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Call the World for Pennies From The USA

Lots of people like my blog so incidently, I have made friends all over the world. We keep in touch frequently but this holiday season, I'm going for a visit.
People like us need a reliable international calling system that doesn't tie us down with long strings of numbers to remember and all of that. I found out about Mobile Talk Packet 8 Voice over Internet protocol. It's low-cost international calling from your mobile phone--it works with over 400 models. Usually, I'd be tied down to my home phone to use a service like this.
First, sign up and activate your account then download the MobileTalk application. In most cases, your phone will receive a text message with a link.
Whenever you make an international call (dialing starts with 011... or starts with '+'), the MobileTalk application will automatically route the call to the Packet8 network and you will save up to 90% or more on your international cell phone calls.
It's the best thing to do if you have even one friend overseas, across the pond or what have you.
There is no calling card needed (I'd lose it) PIN numbers (I'd forget it) no data plan, no connection fee, you don't need a hot spot and you get high quality digital calls.