2015 – Letter to the Editor, Wisconsin State Journal, October 6, 2015
The Wisconsin Civil Service for state employment has a proud history and celebrated its 110th anniversary this year.
Wisconsin’s civil service system is grounded in concrete principles. Hiring decisions are merit-based, that is, made on the basis of qualifications, following an open competition and objective evaluation; and removal from service must be based on just cause.
The Walker administration and the legislature are celebrating this milestone by introducing legislation that dramatically changes civil service provisions taking them back to long discredited and discarded procedures for hiring and firing state employees.
Hiring, retention and firing are consolidated in the new Division of Personnel Management in the Department of Administration, leaving little agency discretion.
Instead of objective exams and evaluation processes, applicants would be chosen based on resumes, which are obviously more subjective and susceptible to political influence. A 30-day limit for making appointments will increase cronyism and corruption.
Changing probation periods to two years creates a more definite “at will” nature to all appointments. Other provisions such as limiting reinstatement and eliminating restoration rights make it nearly impossible for employees in layoff status to return to service.
The new definition of just cause allows employees to be fired for work performance that is “inadequate, unsuitable, or inferior.” Could this mean speaking in favor of a policy, position, or candidate opposed by the Governor?
The Association of Career Employees urges legislators to reject this bill.
2014 – Published in the Wisconsin State Journal, Tuesday October 14, 2014
Letter to the Editor
The Association of Career Employees recently sent a letter to the Office of Employment Relations with recommendations for development of the State Employee Compensation Plan for 2015-2017.
To retain a competent workforce, it is necessary to provide adequate wages and fringe benefits. During the last five years, state employees received a 1 percent pay increase in both 2013 and 2014. The Consumer Price Index rose 2% in each of those years.
ACE also supports continuing to work toward increased pay for low-wage employees earning less than $15 per hour, fully funding a market survey when increases are needed to be competitive, and addressing pay compression between managers, supervisors, and their employees.
Public employees perform many valuable services in areas where there are no comparable private sector jobs and they deserve to be paid adequately for these services.
ACE is an association of active and retired state employees who work on state employee compensation and benefits, retirement and health insurance benefits and issues related to maintaining a strong civil service system.