I started attending the Department of Livestock meetings in 2014. It has been interesting and at this point enjoyable to see the increased engagement of the Board of Livestock and the improvements in the Department that is so key to the Montana livestock industry. -Maggie
Over the last year and a half the Board of Livestock put in great effort to turn the Department of Livestock (DOL) around. There has been intense focus on the budget, appropriate staffing and spending limited to revenue. Industry groups formed the Long Range Planning Committee and took a in depth look at many of the issue that the DOL was suffering from. They met multiple times and then provide sound suggestions and guidance to the Board of Livestock (BOL) on improvement industry thought would be useful.
Each BOL member has educated themselves on the avenues of income and expenses; they have asked hard questions, raised expectations, hired well to fill key leadership position and now are seeing the fruition of that hard work.
At the June 24th Board of Livestock meeting a when presented with a requested study of the budget and ability to raise wages, the board chose to skip the incremental raises of 70% and 75% and bring the Departments staff’s wages up to 80% of market value. The fact that they are able to enact a raise and still have adequate money to operate the Department is a sign that their constant attention to budget and insistence on spending be revenue based has paid off. The wage increase will now undergo review and approval by the State Budget Office. The approval seemed very likely and the wage increase would go into affect retroactively July 1st, 2016 if the approval comes after that date.
In addition the Board had projected the budget for 2016 and 2017 and proactively raised brand fees and per capita fees to cover the actual cost of operation including pay raises.
Some of the employees that worked for the Department of Livestock were being paid only 58% of the market value for their position. The DOL had long had a reputation for low pay. With the increase of pay they hope to be able to keep their current employees, be able to fill vacancies quicker and to hire persons with higher skill sets. Having quality employees is necessary to give quality service and fulfill the Department legislated obligations to provide brands records, enforcement and animal health documents.
There are currently positions open or soon to open at the Department of Livestock in Information Technology (IT), Brands Division, Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, and Milk and Egg Inspection. As of the date of sending this e-mail not all Jobs were currently listed at the DOL website http://liv.mt.gov/default.mcpx nor would the jobs listed as of this date reflect the proposed wage increase.
Department of Livestock contact information page http://liv.mt.gov/public/contact.mcpx