Governor praised state workers at Riverton appearance Friday noon

(Riverton, Wyo.) – Wyoming Governor Matt Mead today thanked Wyoming State Employees for their service and he said the state’s ranking as second in public confidence in the nation was due to dedicated state workers and the service they provide year-around.

Mead made a brief appearance at the annual meeting of the Wyoming Public Employees Association at the Holiday Inn at Riverton. He then shook hands with many in the audience before being whisked away for his next appointment.

“Public confidence in the working of state government doesn’t happen without good state employees and the good work they do,” he said to the delegates at the meeting. “You should take pride in that.” As an aside, the governor said Wyoming was second, “only to that pesky North Dakota.” That drew laughter from the audience.

He told the delegates that he had always tried to promote a raise for state employees with the legislature each year “because it makes good business sense so we don’t have to train people only to see them leave.” He said 2013 was the first year that state employee salaries went down, after four years without raises, which caused some workers to leave state employment.

Mead said he invites long-term public employees to his office or the Governor’s Residence several times a year, “not only to thank them for their loyal service, but to find out what it is that caused them to say with the state for 15, 20, 30 or more years.”

The governor said skilled people who join the state’s payroll should be taken care of, both with good salaries and a good retirement plan. “I want to make sure our retirement system is well funded. People are all living longer now,” he said. “I want to make sure the system is actuarially sound.” He said a good retirement system also serves as a good recruiting tool when looking for new employees.

Before the governor’s arrival, State Trooper Joey Scimone of Cheyenne with the Wyoming Highway Patrol and his canine Lilly swept the lobby and meeting rooms at the Holiday Inn, at one time making conference attendees allegedly leave their meeting room, according to one report.

“We try to be subtle about the security sweeps, but sometimes it can’t be avoided said Lt. Tonya Dove with the Wyoming Highway Patrol in Cheyenne. “It depends on the venue, the number of people at the event, the location and if anything is going on in that area, there are many variables. We’ve been doing this for the past six years or so.”