Survey: Highway workers loyal, but dissatisfied

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A survey of Kansas Highway Patrol employees found a high degree of loyalty to the organization but strong frustration with management.

The $20,000 study, prompted by complaints of weak morale in the agency, was conducted by University of Kansas researchers, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

About 83 percent of those surveyed said they cared about the fate of the organization and nearly 70 percent said they felt loyalty to the agency. But more than two-thirds said they did not believe the highway patrol’s management consistently enforced disciplinary procedures for all workers.

“Employees also perceived inconsistency across the workforce in the way promotions are awarded,” the report said. “In addition, employees perceived the opportunity for job advancement to be rather low.”

Six out of 10 employees responded they were disturbed by the “way top-level leadership of this organization handles workers.”

One factor that also contributed to dissatisfaction in the agency is salaries, the study found. Troopers received a 5 percent raise two years ago, but had gone eight years without an increase in pay.

Ernest Garcia, the highway patrol’s superintendent, said two-thirds of civilian and uniform personnel volunteered for the survey. Nearly 70 percent were troopers and the remaining 30 percent were civilians.

He said he had received complaints in the past three years and wanted the review to identify whether the concerns were perceived or real.

“In spite of some of the concerns raised, I am privileged and honored to be part of this organization,” he said. “We’ve got challenges. We certainly do.”

Mitch Mellick, president of the Kansas State Troopers Association, said the survey found workers were proud of the highway patrol, but discontent with management.

“It is bringing to light some of the issues we’ve been debating for quite some time,” he said.

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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