Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Apparently Jeremy Duda at the Arizona Capitol Times thinks I am overstating the case by giving Jan Brewer the moniker the "Scott Walker of the West" (See The GOP war on organized labor: Jan Brewer's bid to be the Scott Walker of the West begins Wednesday) for the reasons that she has not endorsed the package of anti-union bills, and that the Arizona Police Association, Arizona Fraternal Order of Police and Phoenix Law Enforcement Association endorsed Brewer in 2010, while the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona stayed neutral. Brewer precedent may spell doom for union bills - Arizona Capitol Times.
First, Brewer rarely discloses her position on a bill before the legislature completes its work. Her spokesman's statement on the package of anti-union bills was about laying down a marker for her priority, her so-called "personnel reform," not any opposition to union busting. Boss Tweed: destroy civil service system before destroying public employee unions.
Second, Brewer may show favoritism towards corrections officers, police officers, and firefighters - just as Scott Walker did by exempting them from his collective bargaining bill in Wisconsin - but when push comes to shove against other public sector employee unions the public safety unions will come to the aid of their brothers and sisters just as they did in Wisconsin. They fully understand that if they do not defend these unions they will be next.
As pastor Martin Niemöller observed in "First They Came"..."Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist... Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me."
So if the "Scott Walker of the West" moniker is only a bit premature, there should be no disagreement that the "Boss Tweed" moniker aptly applies to Jan Brewer's so-called "personnel reforms."
Brewer wants to do away with civil service merit selection system protection and return to the political Spoils system of political patronage and the days of Tamanny Hall. Brewer’s personnel plan seeks to ease firing, hiring state workers - Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required):
Gov. Jan Brewer is seeking to fundamentally alter the way state employees are hired, fired and managed.
In short, the governor wants to make it easier for administrators to hire and fire workers.
In a two-page outline of her “personnel reform” proposal (.pdf), obtained by the Arizona Capitol Times today, newly hired rank-and-file employees would no longer be considered “covered,” meaning the state would strip away some protections and rights to appeal they are currently afforded.
“Uncovered,” workers, on the other hand, can be fired at any time.
Because the proposal would strip away protections available to covered employees, it would also allow administrators to more easily start the process of hiring replacements—instead of having to wait, for example, for an appeals process to play out.
Under the plan, new hires, supervisors, attorneys, and those who hold IT positions are among those who would be “uncovered.” Those who voluntarily accept new jobs within state government would also be uncovered.
Existing employees who already have “covered” status, however, would have the option to remain as such.
Brewer carves out an exemption for peace and correctional officers, who would remain “covered” employees — unless they voluntarily elect otherwise.
Also, the governor wants to prohibit state agencies from considering an employee’s seniority or tenure in the event of layoffs — known as “reductions in force” in government parlance.
[T]he governor wants to alter how the State Personnel Board operates. The board hears and reviews appeals filed by permanent employees who have been dismissed, suspended or demoted as a result of a disciplinary action.
Her outline says the board could no longer modify disciplinary actions on appeal, meaning the board could only accept or reject a supervisor’s proposed penalty or disciplinary action against an employee.
Additionally, state employees would no longer be able to appeal disciplinary actions before a superior court on the grounds that they were arbitrary or capricious.
Brewer also wants to repeal the Law Enforcement Merit Council, replacing it with a 5-member Law Enforcement Personnel Board.
The major difference is that the new body only exists to hear and review appeals. Most of the current council’s duties would be shifted over to the Arizona Department of Administration.
The plan would also limit overtime pay for law enforcement and probation officers—unless it was federally mandated.
Additionally, the plan would authorize reduction in office hours to implement furloughs if necessary.
Finally, it would make most agency directors serve at the pleasure of the governor and their terms of office will also be removed.
Click here to see Brewer’s proposal outline Capitol Times (.pdf)
What this report does not mention is that the Governor is also offering a pay raise to state employees, subject to the condition that they surrender their civil service merit selection system protection and become "uncovered." In legal parlance this is known as "duress." Financially struggling state employees may feel compelled to forgo their employee rights to receive this small "bribe," and that should be considered criminal.
Like the worker's compensation system which was a political compromise to protect employers from a multiplicity of lawsuits for an administrative claims process, the civil service merit selection system was partly a political compromise to protect employers from a multiplicity of lawsuits for an administrative claims process.
This is the law of unintended consequences. The legislature may take away civil service protection, but a public employee doesn’t lose his or her liberty interest in their reputation or their property interest in their job. Both are constitutional claims that can lead to a lawsuit any time a public employee loses his or her job. The civil service system actually avoids such lawsuits. Where public employees are afforded the civil service system appeal process, it is very difficult to sue and to win.
I'll bet the "geniuses" (sic) at the Goldwater Institute behind this package of anti-union bills never even considered this.