Archives of Rudolph W. Giuliani

Mayor's WINS Address
Sunday, January 30, 2000

Merit Pay Will Encourage City Workers to Strive Toward Excellence

by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani

This week, I put forward our financial plan for the next four years. A plan that presents a path of fiscal discipline that will strengthen the City's economy and make our finances, which are already stronger and more stable than they've been in at least fifty years, even more secure.

The plan contains a number of important elements: a decrease in City spending; an additional $2 billion in tax cuts that will be added to the $2.4 billion in tax cuts that have already been implemented; a budget stabilization account that's the highest ever; targeted spending initiatives to improve the performance of our schools, enhance public safety, and invest in some of the city's most important cultural institutions; and, in what may be the single most important philosophical shift, money set aside for a merit pay plan for City workers.

I want to spend a moment explaining the concept of the merit or performance pay plan. In the past, excellent work, good work, adequate work, mediocre work, and unacceptably poor work all resulted in an identical pay raise, and an identical reward. That didn't make any sense at all. Everyone knows that a business that tried to function that way would go out of business very quickly. Its employees would tend toward the lowest common denominator rather than the highest performance. The new principals contract negotiated last month and just ratified, is the product of a change in philosophy and it's a very important model for us to follow. It puts the performance of children first and foremost, and gives merit performance and productivity-based pay. It's all targeted at improving student achievement.

Every job is different, so the standards of course must be tailored to the particular job. But one thing will be true no matter what - the very best workers will be rewarded with the most money, with the biggest raises. They're doing a great job and they deserve it and they should be encouraged. The idea would be, instead of having the lowest common denominator, let's have the highest standards of performance for the people of the city and for the people who work for the City of New York. Excellence in carrying out the job of an agency must be rewarded so that more workers strive toward excellence and poor performance must be reduced and eliminated. That's the only way to continue building a city government and a city that responds to the needs of the people and strives year after year toward improvement and toward excellence. This is Rudy Giuliani.

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