Archive for Monday, March 11, 2013

Opponents of bill eliminating classified worker system say the proposal will lead to patronage

March 11, 2013


— Representatives of state workers on Monday said a bill dismantling the classified employment system would mean jobs would be based on politics instead of merit.

"Every agency could turn over with a turnover of the administration," said Rebecca Proctor, with the American Federation of Teachers-Kansas. "If you are on the wrong side politically, you could lose your job."

No one testified in favor of House Bill 2384 during a hearing before the House Appropriations Committee.

That prompted concern by some of the committee members about why the committee was considering the legislation.

"We really have a ghost," said state Rep. Jerry Henry, D-Atchison.

Appropriations Chairman Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, said he and several others proposed the bill because he said the conversation needs to start on phasing out the classified system. Rhoades said eliminating the classified system would make it easier to reward high-performing employees.

He said the bill was patterned after one adopted in Arizona.

But Proctor said transforming classified employees to unclassified status would remove long-standing civil service protections and then all state employment could be based on political affiliation.

She also warned that the state could jeopardize federal funds for Medicaid, Food Stamps and other major programs aimed at helping those with disabilities because the federal government requires the maintenance of a merit-based employment system to ensure that taxpayer funds are not used in a political way.

But Rhoades disagreed, saying, "We would make sure that everything federally funded was not affected. We are not going to have language in the bill that would jeopardize federal dollars."

Several committee members noted that Kansas University got rid of its classified employee system in 2005 but Proctor said that was decided by employees in a vote and that the switch required the establishment of a civil service-type board to handle appeals of job dismissals or disciplinary actions.

HB 2384 would make all state attorneys, supervisors and information technology workers unclassified. After July 1, all new hires, or any current state employee who is either transferred, demoted or promoted, or is promoted into a different position would be unclassified. The bill would exempt employees of public safety agencies from the changes.

Mike Marvin, executive director with the Kansas Organization of State Employees, said the current classified system also protects the interests of the state by keeping experienced workers at crucial jobs.

"It keeps a continuity in the agencies so when you change management you don't change all your employees at the same time," he said.


Hooligan_016 5 years, 2 months ago

Please stop trying to copy Arizona (and Texas). It's not helping us at all.

Kevin Millikan 5 years, 2 months ago

This is the perfect way to get rid of highly-skilled and dedicated employees. Once again, the GOP reaching into your lives!

Greg Cooper 5 years, 2 months ago

But Rhoades disagreed, saying, "We would make sure that everything federally funded was not affected. We are not going to have language in the bill that would jeopardize federal dollars."

Note that the language presumes the passage of this crap. Too, in what way are we supposed to believe that you would not jeopardize federal funds? That has already been done, by the millions, so what is to stop that from happening again?

You Neo-Republicans in the legislature need to be stoned.

Oh, wait, maybe you already are.

Alyosha 5 years, 2 months ago

The classified employee system was created to remove the opportunity for corruption in political patronage for government jobs.

Again, these are not conservatives but radicals, changing long-standing traditions for no sound reason.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 5 years, 2 months ago

Rhodes said eliminating the Classified system would make it easier to reward High performing employees. I call BS! on that! They already have ways to do that. This is ALL about So called "Protection" the Classified system Supposedly gives the employee. There is no such thing as JOB Security in this Day and Age. Classified employees, even though they have a Public employee Union, Are Not a Protected Species. You can still be Laid off or fired for many Reasons. You just have to show a reason(Budget,Disciplinary Problem, Attendance Problem, etc.) What can be the benefit to hire and fire At Will? Simple: drives down wages. Also will thin the pool of workers who will apply for a given position. Will save the State Money as the infrastructure falls down around us. Good Thinking Brownback.

texburgh 5 years, 2 months ago

Of course it will. That's the idea. If you don't swear fealty to Sam Brownback and the Kochs, you don't deserve to work.

bballwizard 5 years, 2 months ago

Get rid of all state workers Privatize it

Thomas Bryce Jr. 5 years, 2 months ago

Hmm. Private Fire Dept, Private Police Dept, Private paramedics, Private Roads and Road Repair crews,Private Water facilities. If you think your TAXES are High NOW, Wait till you see the FEES for the use of Private Organizations or Systems.

Alceste 5 years, 2 months ago

It is not simply that these "bills" that KILL civil service result in is more of issue of keeping silent any manner of creative idea making in the state work place: Cross your're terminated. Why? Your boss is more in bed with Mr. Charlie than you are: If you don't think and act like your boss, it'll be found out sooner or later and you'll be terminated.

Kansas is a great state what with it being a right to work state to start with. spit Removing Civil Service simply gives more rights to Mr. Charlie to put the clampdown on any manner of thought that is contrary to "the program". Head bobbers.

Robert Greenwood 5 years, 2 months ago

Those proposing this legislation


Photographygirl 5 years, 2 months ago

FYI......KU only passed their choice by a division of ONE vote. The majority won by ONE vote. And the vote was taken 3 times. K-State's President is basically forcing their Classified employees to choose this as well. PSU, FHSU, and ESU all have committees that are looking into it, but no votes are scheduled as of this date. On a personal note, this is a bad choice legislators. The only reason why attorneys and IT personnel are being proposed to transition to unclassified is because state legislation has not been enforcing the appropriate pay scales for several years and these attorneys and IT personnel are being tempted to leave their positions and make more money in the public and private sectors. Classified employees are grossly underpaid. But FORCING them out of Classified Status is not the answer. They love their jobs. They are loyal to their jobs (they would have to be, to work so long without any type of equitable pay system). Don't feed them to the wolves of uncertainty in their job security. Bad legislators, bad legislators, no cookie for you!

verity 5 years, 2 months ago

This information from someone who was at a meeting with Mr Rhoades on Saturday.

Mr Rhoades didn't know that classified workers could be fired.

He also made a number of other ignorant statements that he couldn't back up and was yelled at. This in a very small rural town.

sciencegeek 5 years, 2 months ago

"Reward high-performing employees". PUH-LEEZE!! This is all about being able to get rid of a) anyone who disagrees with this administrations, b) stopping any possibility of whistle-blowing, c) being able to dump people who know the system and how it works in favor of political cronies or contract workers of companies owned by cronies.

The Sebelius administration didn't listen to state employees who knew better, and had to pay the feds millions when they closed the state motor pool. Apparently, the current bunch doesn't understand what they're talking about this time, either.

Never have so many know so little about so much, and left so big a mess that the taxpayers will have to pay for. Remember this , Neocons: It isn't enough to tear down what is, ya gotta replace it with something that works for all of the people of Kansas, not just your buddies.

Jen43 5 years, 2 months ago

To Photagraphygirl: I see your point, however the way I remember it there was a vote, more like a poll about 20 years ago in which the classified employees rejected the idea by about 70%. The 2005 vote was first 60/40 Against leaving the state system and going to a KU Classified system. After the next vote, it was announced by those in charge of the vote count that it was a TIE! No one I know ever believed it and a third and final vote was taken and the announced result was 60/40 % in Favor of going to the KU Classified system. The ballots were destroyed before anyone could call for a recount and the whole matter died. I'll leave it to you to guess who rammed the change through. After the change I used to ask other employees how they voted and I very seldom met anyone who was in favor of leaving the state system. Voter fraud, right on the Hill! I'm Shocked!

Paul R Getto 5 years, 2 months ago

Kansas Legislature Opponents of bill eliminating classified worker system say the proposal will lead to patronage

Well, DUH, as the kids say. That's why they are pushing this. Depending on the courts, this could eventually give Muscular Sam the ability to choose which professors keep their jobs. But, on the high side, General Kline could return to KS and teach "law."

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