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Archive for Monday, March 18, 2013

House committee advances bill undoing classified system of state employment

March 18, 2013

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— Republicans on a House committee on Monday approved a measure that would undo the protections of the classified employment system for many current state workers and future hires.

House Bill 2384 now goes to the full House for consideration.

The legislation was proposed by Appropriations Chairman Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, but during a public hearing on the measure no one testified in favor of it.

Rep. Jerry Henry of Atchison, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said, “This is a pretty hasty bill. I’m concerned we didn’t go through the proper channels.”

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.

Henry said drastically altering a decades-old system of classified employees who can appeal job dismissals and demotions through the Civil Service System deserved an in-depth study.

Rhoades said based on anecdotal information he has received, agency heads want to have more flexibility to reward and manage employees.

Appropriations Vice Chairman Gene Suellentrop, R-Wichita, said the bill will allow supervisors to bring in top qualified people in information technology and legal support.

But representatives of state workers said the bill would mean jobs would be awarded based on politics instead of merit.

Comments

question4u 1 year, 9 months ago

This bill institutes flat-out corruption. There's simply no other way to put it. Of course no one testified in favor of it. That's saying a lot, because we've already seen members of this legislature step forward to support bills curtailing freedom of speech and eliminating the separation of power in government.

This legislature is apparently willing to accept corruption in exchange for the ability to fire state workers when they become more expensive than entry level hires. The banana republic of Kansas takes another huge regressive step away from American ideals.

In what way can Marc Rhoades justify a bill that will reward state workers for their political leanings over their merit at doing their jobs? That should make any red-blooded American angry. Is "anecdotal information" all you need to support cronyism in the government workforce? Respect the party and prosper; question the party and lose your job: when has that ever been acceptable in the United States, apart from the McCarthy era?

Hand in your freedom of speech and your freedom to support the political party of your choice, or hand in your resignation: that's just the way things are in the third world.

Charles L Bloss Jr 1 year, 9 months ago

This would be so bad for state employees. Coupled with the change from KPERS to a 401k style retirement plan, it will be extremely difficult to find people to work for the state.

Thinking_Out_Loud 1 year, 9 months ago

It has only taken listening to how legislators have been talking about state employees for the last dozen or so years to convince me that I would never work for the state. Then add to that the "transparency" of having to release so much personal information about yourself like your exact salary--no, thanks!

sciencegeek 1 year, 9 months ago

That's the whole point. if no one wants to work for the state, less government will get done, and what has to be done will be done by high-paid consultants from companies who contribute to Republican politicians. If the general populace has to do without, tough.

Lane Signal 1 year, 9 months ago

I think this is an awful idea, but the current administration is all about cronyism. I do have a couple of comments:

  1. It probably is hard for those in government who don't share the political views or agenda of Brownie and his right wing radical side show to take them seriously. It's harder still for those who don't share Brownie and Company's ridiculous views to keep from smirking or even laughing at their stupidity sometimes. I imagine this bill reflects a desire of the radical right to clear the decks of some those who make them feel so dumb.

  2. I think it's going to be hard to find IT resources with such radical right political leanings. At least one's who know how to turn on a computer.

sciencegeek 1 year, 9 months ago

Again, there IT consultants with political ties who will be glad to step in. At far higher pay than state employees. Oh, wait, that's already happening.

LHS1980 1 year, 9 months ago

Say bu-bye to your appeal process state workers. Do you people not see they are taking your basic rights away? Can you not see how the party of less government has their hands all over your personal life? I grew up in Kansas, and this is one IT guy that would NEVER work for this corrupt administration. These people that you voted into office will ruin your state because it will soon be broke, and they won't have other freeway revenue to steal!

Hooligan_016 1 year, 9 months ago

State employees can clearly see what is happening. They just have no recourse to try and stop it.

Bruce Bertsch 1 year, 9 months ago

A couple of things...

  1. This legislature does not believe in any form of workers rights.
  2. If they think they can attract top level IT people with what the State pays they are absolutely nuts, which is becoming more evident by the day.

Hooligan_016 1 year, 9 months ago

Does HB 2384 match up to any ALEC templates? It really wouldn't surprise me ...

WilburM 1 year, 9 months ago

Do not forget the religious test that will now be imposed for employment.

globehead 1 year, 9 months ago

It already is in DCF. Sec. Gillmore is packing the staff with her church buddies.

Pepe 1 year, 9 months ago

Correct me if I am wrong, but aren't classified workers given extra rights above and beyond those afforded to a "normal" employee? In other words, aren't classified workers given (among other things) due process rights which most employees don't have which makes it much more difficult to fire a classified employee.

Thus, am I correct that if classified status is eliminiated, these workers will still have all of the normal legal protections given to typical employees, they just won't have the special protections that were previously given to them?

If so, I can't feel a lot of sympathy for them since even if classified status is eliminated, they will still be in the same boat as the rest of us.

nominalize 1 year, 9 months ago

Exactly Pepe: Instead of fighting for a better workplace for ourselves, let's just cheer while everyone else gets torn down around us.

Stand up for yourself, Pepe.

Lane Signal 1 year, 9 months ago

The point to classified status is to extend some protections to public employees to avoid their being replaced at the whim of newly elected politicians and administrations. It also helps remove political leanings from decisions about promotion, retention and salary. This helps with continuity of services as administrations change. It also allows the state to attract employees seeking jobs that are not subject arbitrary house cleaning every few years so the new party in power can give away all the plum jobs to unqualified friends, family and political allies. The federal government actually requires that some of these protections exist for some state employees in order for a state to qualify for certain federal funding. So, really, these protections are not just for the state employees, but also to protect the citizens of Kansas from the governor and the legislature. And, if the current governor and legislature are any indication, I'd say we need all the protection we can get.

bevy 1 year, 9 months ago

Again, our illustrious Governor and his cronies forget the parts of our history they find inconvenient. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoils_s...

Katara 1 year, 9 months ago

FTA: "Rhoades said based on anecdotal information he has received, agency heads want to have more flexibility to reward and manage employees."

globehead 1 year, 9 months ago

I've had jobs in both the public and private sector. No government job I had was political. In both scenarios, the bottom line was performance. Although, one of my private sector jobs was pretty much based on the whim of a high level manager (boss). That company no longer is in business...and he was fired just prior to its demise and rightfully so. As for the two government jobs, both were civil service positions. Politics never entered into the application or selection process. The directors in these jobs were unclassified civil service positions. Both served at the pleasure of the appointing authority and could have easily been political, but were not. Sometimes, these positions are and sometimes, that is necessary, sometimes not. The only real problem I ever saw with the civil service system was with the unwillingness of these directors to fire dead weight for fear of litigation, so they said. Mid level managers would work their tails off to document the justification for termination only to be thwarted by these appointees. If anything, the civil service would have benefited by making ALL employees, regardless of position level, classified and accountable to everyone rather than rewarding these jobs to hacks who didn't compete for them.

sciencegeek 1 year, 9 months ago

You're missing a salient point. Any unclassified employee can be fired, not for merit, but because they are of the wrong political party, or because a political crony wants a cushy job and gets rid of anyone with the knowledge to question his lack of knowledge. Or an entire class of people can be fired so a crony's business partners can populate those positions, and at higher salaries. What gets lost is the historical knowledge necessary for any business to run efficiently. It's happened before on a limited basis; now it can happen anywhere, anytime. The private sector can't take a hit like that without damaging the business. When it happens in government, the only ones who lose are the taxpayers.

nominalize 1 year, 9 months ago

Workers in the private sector should have the same protections classified public servants do.

I know that would require people like toe standing up for themselves instead of cheering for everyone else to be brought down to their level, but I guess that requires too much courage and hard work.

I mean, why build yourself up when you can just tear everyone down, right toe?

UneasyRider 1 year, 9 months ago

Can anyone remember the qualifications of last IT person our brilliant governor hired. My KPERS is now vested, Dec 1, I resign and apply for it. Jan 1 my residence will no longer be in KS. Bet I won't be only one leaving. Scary thing is so many states look better. Examples being: OK, AR, MS and AL.

verity 1 year, 9 months ago

And your KPERs will benefit the economy of another state, as will that of everybody else who flees this state.

Smart move for you, not so much for Kansas.

oldexbeat 1 year, 9 months ago

This will allow lawyer friends of the Governor to be hire, without qualifications, at very high pay.

They already did this in Wichita with a woman that lost for legislature -- she got a nice non-classified non-advertised job with SRS. This will allow Ceasar (oops, Brownback) to give money to political friends.

http://www.kansas.com/2013/01/18/2641665/former-lawmaker-landwehr-lands.html

globehead 1 year, 9 months ago

It has also happened for the benefit of a former Johnson County Commissioner & lawyer of bland reputation. Of course, he is given a clerical title in DCF to circumvent Kansas Statutes which prohibit lawyers from being hired in unclassified positions such as this, yet he is supervising attorneys at this moment. He is also being paid about $65,000/yr even though the pay scale would show his fake title topping out in the upper 20's after 10 years of experience, which he does not have.

Welcome to the world of government without civil service rules. It stinks to high heaven!

William Weissbeck 1 year, 9 months ago

Strange how people forget their history. Presidents for 25 years at the end of the 19th ran on policies of bringing civil service reform to the hiring practices of the federal government. Anyone who saw the movie, Lincoln should recall that it was accepted practice to reward political supporters with jobs.

globehead 1 year, 9 months ago

Exactly, and the Pendelton Act of 1883 was passed to put an end to this corruption. Now, over 100 years later, we have our representative in the Kansas Village Idiot's Convention ( legislature) not knowing or understanding or caring about the history of this mess. Take for example these two village idiots:

***"Rhoades said based on anecdotal information he has received, agency heads want to have more flexibility to reward and manage employees.

Appropriations Vice Chairman Gene Suellentrop, R-Wichita, said the bill will allow supervisors to bring in top qualified people in information technology and legal support."***

You should see some of the "top qualified" cronies they've brought into DCF, where experience folding church bulletins gets you a job but a $20,000/year four year college degree doesn't get you a look.

JayhawkFan1985 1 year, 9 months ago

Pepe, you don't understand state government. Most state employees are "classified" which means they are professional, career service employees. Classified status means they are to be hired and promoted based on merit and they can only be fired or demoted for cause following due process. Most unclassified employees are the political appointees who "lead" the various state agencies. Unclassified employees can be hired or fired for almost any reason. The whole point of having a civil service AKA classified system of employees is to prevent a governor from coming into office and replacing competent people with people whose only qualifications are they voted the right way, belong to the right political party or contributed to the campaign in some way. Think of it this way, do you really want a guy to get to design a bridge on a state highway just because Brownback owes him a favor? I wouldn't drive over that bridge...

petty5069 1 year, 9 months ago

It's interesting how they advertise this Bill as one that eliminates the "protections" State employees have. State employees are not "protected", they cana be fired just like anyone else, but there is a process to follow in order to do it. It is misleading the public by advertising this Bill the way they are. State employees are some of the poorest paid employees in the state. Soon your government will be run by people who cannot get jobs anywhere else. There is no incentive for educated, dedicated and loyal employees to even want to work for the State. State employees are not respected by the Governor or the Legislature. When was the last time a pay raise of any sort was given? Well over 5 years. The pay grade study was ditched, with some employees receiving the benefits of the study and the others left standing out in the cold. And a 401K retirement system? The benefits are the ONLY thing keeping many employees working for the state, and now they want to do away with that. With all the mergers and downsizing that has occurred over the last several years, workloads are huge, efficiency is lost, and morale is horrible.

Alceste 1 year, 9 months ago

It is not simply that these "bills" that KILL civil service result in patronage....it is more of issue of keeping silent any manner of creative idea making in the state work place: Cross your boss....you'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 POWER to Mr. Charlie to put the clampdown on any manner of thought that is contrary to "the program". Head bobbers.

Jen43 1 year, 9 months ago

Would this affect the KU Classified employees since they are now different (not by their choice) from other Kansas Classified employees? What about public safety employees within larger organizations like KU and the Medical Center in Kansas City? Or the other Regents institutions? BTW, it is the higher paid unclassified supervisors who are in position to make questionable purchases, promote or demote and generally run their departments the way they see fit, not the classified employees.

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