Haslam: Tenn. should seek balance in pay, benefits

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Gov. Bill Haslam says he

Union worker Dan Burke, center, of Janesville, Wis., uses a bucket to drum after loosing his voice during protests at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Friday, Feb. 25, 2011, over the governor's proposed budget. Protests to the governor's bill to eliminate collective bargaining rights for many state workers are in their 11th day at the Capitol. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Gov. Bill Haslam says he's unconvinced by arguments that state workers deserve better benefits because they may be sacrificing better pay in the private sector.

The Republican governor told The Associated Press after a speech to the state's private colleges association last week that the Tennessee salary and pension levels need to be in balance, even when it comes to positions like accountants and attorneys who could make more money in the private sector.

Haslam said government should offer compensation plans that are competitive with the private sector, not ones that stress benefits over salary because of the longer-term cost of paying for pensions.

Haslam said he has considered possible changes to the pension system for public employees, but has no plans to introduce any proposals this year.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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