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Archive for Thursday, March 14, 2013

Letter: Expertise lost

March 14, 2013

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To the editor:

It was interesting to read about the proposed bill that would eliminate the state’s classified employment system. This should not be a surprise to any current state employee. It appears to simply be a way to codify a practice that was introduced when Gov. Brownback took office. For the only time in my experience, at that time, all unclassified state employees were fired or forced into retirement and replaced by inexperienced friends and political allies of the administration. The amount of knowledge and agency experience that was lost was enormous.

Since that time I have seen one agency director create several unclassified support positions to provide employment for friends or relatives. None of the positions were open to experienced agency employees, and I am unaware of any interview process to attempt to determine qualifications.  

With the current system of filling jobs, qualified employees can see no likelihood that that hard work will lead to an opportunity for advancement unless they belong to the correct church, political party or circle of friends.

I find it sad to see a situation where a previously professional workforce is gradually being replaced by less than qualified political appointees, much to the detriment of the agencies.

Comments

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

Sebelius actually initiated a policy to replace classified employees with unclassified ones so it isn't really new.

True this takes it to extremes but where were you when Sebelius did it?

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

No, you're absolutely right that it doesn't make it right, but if the LTE writer was silent when Sebelius did it then his letter is tainted by partisanship. .

progressive_thinker 1 year, 9 months ago

Sebelius' efforts were primarily around upper level management positions and with some newly created positions. Some that were changed to unclassified were even in the classified service pursuant to a very specific state law [example, prison wardens and deputy wardens]; others were changed from classified to unclassified so that the incumbent could be paid a market wage [I think that this was the case with some engineers with DOT].

Tanzer is right, there were no "mass" firings, however, there were several persons that were summarily let go. http://cjonline.com/blog-post/tim-carpenter/2011-01-12/brownbacks-pink-slips-reflect-political-past

globehead 1 year, 9 months ago

Fred, first. the writer indicates she just retired. No longer is there a fear of reprisals. There is not necessarily at all partisanship. Second, The unclassifieds by Sebellius were largely administrative in nature which is normal. In fact, many director level positions were retained by her. Creating new undefined positions and the filing of clerical/secretarial positions was then highly unusual or non existent. It no longer is. Third, Brownback via Gilmore has done this on a much greater level. Fourth, the past didn't see the infusion of political hacks like Wood or Landwehr or a host of friends and church buddies....no way is there any comparison. Finally, Sebellius did not do mass firings of tenured unclassified folks. Generally, a place was found for their talents. Not always, but usually.

BigDog 1 year, 9 months ago

I know a large number of unclassified state employees who were not fired or forced into retirement when the adminstration changed. Any many are in no way Brownback supporters.

Most who were let go were upper management/supervisory level people. You cannot fix issues in the system/philosophies by just changing Secretaries. Many agencies needed to clean out some of the upper management to support the direction and philosophy of Secretary.

Kate Rogge 1 year, 9 months ago

"Many agencies needed to clean out some of the upper management to support the direction and philosophy of Secretary." Secretaries who are, by and large, hostile to the very agencies to which they were appointed (see who was appointed to handle state mental health hospitals and unemployment compensation processing, for examples).

Katara 1 year, 9 months ago

I don't recall Sebelius hiring folks whose degrees came from diploma mills and were highly unqualified for the position they were hired for.

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