Saturday, September 26, 2015

Give WI 'merit' plan shelving civil service a demerit

Wisconsin GOP ideologues running their one-party show intend to further embed their partisan control and policy agendas across the state government.

Having spent nearly five years hammering and devaluing public service, attacking voting rights and non-partisan oversight of campaigns, corroding the publicly-spirited Wisconsin Idea state mission and starving public education at the elementary, secondary and university levels, the corporate servants occupying the Governor's office and legislative leadership positions are now out to get rid of civil service hiring, promotion and firing rules in favor of what is being called merit, or resume-based procedures.


And the justification - - a handful of bad apples, thus blowing up the entire system - - is like the Right's installation of Voter ID in Wisconsin based on anecdotal and alleged irregularities.

Walker says the new state hiring process will be "transparent."

Give me a break, and LOL. Check the record.

Bottom line: No one has asked for the changes. No task force, no outpouring at a hearing, no polling, nothing. It's all politics - - an extension of Act 10, right-to-work, the unwinding of the prevailing wage, the refusal to raise the minimum wage, etc.

If these hard-edged reactionaries have their way gaining more hiring and firing powers, every state employee will basically become an at-will member of the Governor's staff because employment decisions top-to-bottom will be made at agencies and departments run by political appointees without the checks and balances of non-partisan civil service scrutiny.

Here's how it might all play out in a few months, I imagine:

Recruiter from the Department of Natural Resources on the phone with Acme123 Headhunters, Inc.
Recruiter: Got a few openings to run past you.

Headhunter: Fire away.

Recruiter: We're looking for a DNR staff lawyer to review permits filed by dairies, mines, or developers.

Headhunter: Qualifications? 

Recruiter: Fine me someone already on a private sector payroll. Timber oil, plastics, construction, Big Ag. Don't send me anyone from a public defender office or the Sierra Club. And if they work at a law firm, I want a corporate plaintiff attorney, a business specialist. 
Don't waste my time with a trial lawyer.

Headhunter: Sure. That mindset. Permits are for approving. 

Recruiter: Across the board. Like our DOT says, contracts are for letting. Time is money.

Headhunter. Got it.

Recruiter: We also have a groundwater science position open. I want an industry chemist instead of someone teaching freshman chemistry three hours a week. I want someone who knows that that water is a commodity, the market is booming and rules and regulations get in the way. Time is money.

Headhunter: No problem.

Recruiter: We're also going to share a big-picture policy position with the Public Service Commission, so, again, business experience first. 

Headhunter: I'm looking at a utility planner right now.

Recruiter: Fossil fuels, OK. Wind or solar, forget it.

Headhunter: Looks like it's coal and natural gas. Took on the EPA.

Recruiter: Perfect. And make sure you run any names through that Walker recall petition data base. Don't waste my time with anyone who signed it.

Headhunter: Copy that.

Recruiter: And check the names against the campaign donation websites. If the letter "D" pops up, then that's "D" as in "Delete" right there. 

Headhunter: I understand. You guys are running a full-court press out there, right?

Recruiter: Right you are.


Anonymous said...

Rename it the Department of Pollution?

Anonymous said...

State employees have been fired or resigned under pressure for the offenses Walker talks about. The sad truth is most supervisors don't want to go through the work required under law to get rid of employees who break work rules. The process was put into place to protect employees wrongly targeted by vindictive supervisors. And it works on a case-by-case basis. This change is designed to get more people to retire early and reduce the pool of people who want to work for the state even more. Then they can bring in the private contractors that they really want to run the state. That is going to cost taxpayers a lot. Not just in contract costs but in fraud and theft as oversight will be nil.

blurondo said...

Recruiter: "And check their names against the recall petitions. If they pop up, disqualify them".

Anonymous said...

Is it true UW will not be effected by the changes in civil service law because they are a public/private quasi system? Is this what Ray Cross got for taking on Jim Villa?

my5cents said...

Exactly! When you pick and choose based on recall signatures, donations, or whether they are for or against renewable energy, etc., you narrow the field dramatically. Didn't Walker say the new system would be transparent?

Jake formerly of the LP said...

Oh, it's transparent, alright. "It's a bug club, you ain't in it."