Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Jan Brewer's Spoils System for personnel administration

The Arizona Eagletarian has obtained an outline of GED Jan Brewer's proposed "personnel reform" plan.

While corporate media minces words, I feel compelled to spell out a bit more of the who, what, when, where, how and why for you. This is nothing less than a complete attack on merit system protections that were enacted to minimize political influence. Merit system personnel rules, for example, minimize risk of regulatory capture.

Consider a hypothetical employee of the state liquor board or the health services or environmental quality departments. She knows her job is to protect the public, but a member of the Chamber of Commerce cries foul to the governor or to a prominent, ALEC-owned state lawmaker. KNOWING that she has NO rights, is she going to protect the public, or risk the economic security of her family? If you think this is implausible, you are far too na├»ve.

From the Arizona Capitol Times
... 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.
Just like in Brewer’s proposal last year, which never got introduced by the Legislature, the 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.
Senate President Steve Pierce said the governor wants the Legislature to approve it as soon as possible.
But he said he told the governor that lawmakers must pass a budget plan first since that is their constitutional obligation.
Pierce said they’re open to tying legislation to overhaul the personnel system with the budget.

What about those existing, "covered" state employees? Do you think they will face a simple, benign choice? Or will there be serious consequences for those covered employees who want to retain merit system protections? Or to borrow from pop culture, will it be No soup for you! for those desiring to retain merit system protections?

Again, this is nothing less than a power grab, eliminating existing statutory guidelines in place to serve the public. Elections have consequences. And our ALEC-owned Arizona governor and state legislature want to make the stakes even higher.


  1. They are doing all they can to destroy this state before November. They know everything they do will be next to impossible to reverse and they so happy about it.