Governor Janice K Brewer has made it very clear that during this year's regular session she wants our state lawmakers to re-institute the Spoils System for state personnel management. The Goldwater Institute has put signficant effort into advocating for this change, in its published writings and in television appearances by members of its staff. HB2571 is currently making its way through the state senate, having already been approved by the House and heard by committees in the Senate.
Goldwater's chief selling point on this is to magnify problems of allegedly bad things state employees do without losing their jobs. What Goldwater does NOT want people to consider (before it's too late to do anything about it anyway) is negative ramifications of eliminating Merit System protections for public employees. Mark Flatten, author of Goldwater "Undisciplined Bureaucracy" report has appeared on local television doing some very crafty verbal sleight of hand.
In so doing, Flatten set forth his preferred problem/objection definition. Objection to the SPOILS SYSTEM plan that is. According to Flatten, people believe every time a new governor would get elected, she might institute wholesale changes in personnel at lower levels in state agencies. That would not happen, he said, because the cost of recruiting and training employees is prohibitive. He cited the experience in Georgia where these "reforms" have already been instituted.
Flatten made these statements on Politics Unplugged, a half-hour program hosted by Frank Camacho on KTVK Channel 3 in Phoenix. Camacho told me this afternoon that Politics Unplugged episodes are not posted to the television station's website.
Flatten's explanation fails however because in order to do grave damage to the "general welfare" of all of Arizona, it would not necessarily take putting very many political appointees in jobs certain positions.
Case in point: the legislature just passed HB2199 the polluter protection bill.
Advocates for this bill claim it provides incentives for polluters to clean up the problem pollution on their own in order to avoid being penalized for damaging the environment.
Combine an anti-environmental governor (not such a far-fetched possibility in Arizona in some election years) with an at-will employment situation for an Arizona Dept. of Environmental Quality inspector and it is really not much of a leap to recognize the potential for a major employer in Arizona to easily avoid responsibility for a potentially catastrophic pollution problem.
This is a very real and tangible issue.
The polluter protection bill was sent to Governor Brewer yesterday (April 9). She wants her Spoils System bill and is prepared to twist arms in the upcoming fiscal year 2013 budget battle brewing between her and the legislature.
Imagine the possibilities. We can only guess at how far the GOP supermajority will succeed in overreaching on change we do NOT believe in.
It is time for an Arizona UPRISING.