Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry learned of Sen. Frank Antenori's secret plan to end civil service merit selection for county employees during a review of legislation that passed in the wee hours before sine die. This secret plan was not reported by any Capitol reporters at the time. Huckelberry alerted the Arizona Daily Star which has the story today. Bill would end merit system for many workers:
Pima County employees are going to be a lot less happy to see raises if the governor signs a bill pushed through the Legislature at 3:49 a.m. Wednesday, the last morning of the session.
HB 2650 kicks thousands of civilian employees who work for counties other than Maricopa out of the system that protects their rights over everything from pay reductions to demotions and terminations.
Most county employees, except for top administrators, department heads and their deputies, are protected by the merit system.
The bill makes anyone who gets a pay raise or a job reassignment, as well as new hires, unprotected "at-will" employees.
On the last day of the session, a small committee from the House and Senate was working out a compromise on a bill to remove a few more administrative employees from the system. When they got done, nearly every employee in 14 of the 15 counties was included. No explanation was given for leaving Maricopa County exempt.
It passed in a rush of nearly 90 bills that were jammed through so lawmakers could meet a self-imposed 100-day deadline.
County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry found out about it Thursday and is having it evaluated for what it means to the county's about 7,000 employees.
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Deputy County Attorney Chris Straub said he's still reviewing the bill, but he confirmed it doesn't apply to law-enforcement personnel in the Sheriff's Department.
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State Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat who was on the committee, said the language came from Tucson Republican Sen. Frank Antenori, who said he was acting on behalf of a Republican elected official in Santa Cruz County [who?] who felt the county staff has too many unresponsive Democrats.
Antenori could not be reached for comment.
Sinema said she's bothered that the bill treats Maricopa County differently and punishes people who do a good job and earn promotions or raises.
State Rep. Steve Farley, a Democrat who voted against the bill, said it "takes us back to the era of Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall. The whole reason we have merit jobs in the first place is so you don't have people firing competent civil servants and replacing them with political supporters. That is not good government."
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The Arizona AFL-CIO opposed the bill and has asked Gov. Jan Brewer to veto it, but the organization doesn't have a lot of pull with Brewer, said Rebekah Friend, executive director of the Arizona AFL-CIO.
The bill was lost in the wave of bad legislation passed at the end of the session, Friend said. "I have grave concerns about the late-night rush. It gives certain legislators cover."
Union backers are fearful the bill is a head start on a larger effort - noting Brewer proposed doing the same thing to state employees in a 300-page bill that didn't make it through the session. They fear it could be taken up either in a special session or next year.
Michael Bryan I will have a post about Gov. Brewer's bill to do to state employees what Sen. Frank Antenori sneaked through the legislature on Wednesday for county employees. Brewer plans a Special Session to eliminate the merit system of public employment for state employees, returning to the spoils system of political patronage and cronyism. Public employees would have an incentive to keep working for politicians and their party — as opposed to a system of awarding employment on the basis of some measure of merit independent of political activity. This bill is far worse than in Wisconsin. Jan Brewer wants to be the Scott Walker of the West.
The State of Maricopa exclusion from HB 2650 exposes Sen. Frank Antenori for being the tool of State of Maricopa Republican bosses that he is. This exclusion makes the law unconstitutional on equal protection grounds. This is grounds for a veto.
Call Gov. Brewer at 1-(800) 253-0883 (It's toll-free!) or visit her Web page to leave a message to veto HB 2650.
And it's time to file the Recall Frank Antenori Committee and start collecting signatures. Enough is enough!