Archive for Wednesday, May 7, 2003

KU vote to leave state’s civil service system ends in tie

May 7, 2003


Classified workers at Kansas University said they thought their vote on leaving the state's civil service system would be close.

But they never expected the tie that resulted from the Tuesday tally that showed 545 had voted in favor of the plan -- with 545 voting against it.

The tie means the issue, which has become increasingly divisive in recent weeks, remains unresolved.

"It's tore our classified staff apart," said George Cone, who opposed the proposal.

Members of a task force of Classified Senate members and KU administrators said they would meet Monday to discuss what next step to take.

The proposal would have established a new system for classified employees -- who include secretaries, maintenance workers and janitors -- separate from the state's civil service system.

The change would allow KU to use additional funds -- such as those from tuition increases -- for classified employee raises. Opponents said the civil service system provided protections from wrongful termination that couldn't be guaranteed by the university.

Kathy Jansen, president of Classified Senate, said the group could rework the proposal and submit it for another vote in the fall.

"We can't drop it, because half of the people wanted it to go forward," Jansen said. "We want a clear majority. We'd go with a simple majority, but it would be more comfortable to have a larger margin."

Cone said he didn't see any reason to revote.

"I believe at this point it should be a dead issue," he said.

If it returned, he said, employees should have the option whether to stay in civil service or join the KU program. Ola Faucher, KU's director of human resources, said a dual system would be possible but would be "very complex to administer."

Seventy-four percent of KU's 1,468 classified employees mailed in their ballots between April 23 and Monday.

"The number of votes cast definitely shows this is an important issue, pro or con," Jansen said. "That voter percentage is phenomenal."

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