House Speaker Cotter’s reform called political ploy

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The state Democratic party responded this morning, calling the plan the “‘Save Governor Snyder’s Hide Act.’”

There are also union representatives calling this a violation of workers’ due process.

So whether it’s Flint or labor related, plenty of people think the speaker has an ulterior motive.

“The amendment will provide departments the ability to discipline or dismiss an employee for any conduct that directly impacts the department’s ability to accomplish its statutory duties,” House Speaker Kevin Cotter read from the proposal.

He stressed this is not a reaction to Flint’s water crisis. Yet he referred to the crisis as an example of civil service failure. House Minority Leader Tim Greimel says low level workers aren’t the ones to blame there.

“They’re already held accountable under the current system…. Everybody around the governor—the chief of staff, the chief legal advisor, the chief environmental advisor—everybody in the governor’s office knew about this problem and did nothing to fix it.”

Greimel calls Cotter’s proposal “Pass the buck politics,” and democrats aren’t alone.

“Totally is in response to Flint… Who’s going to hold those upper level people accountable,” question Melissa Mays.

She runs “Water You Fighting For?,” which advocates for Flint. She hadn’t heard about this reform plan before we asked her about it, but she immediately said it’s a cop out reaching up to the governor.

“They’ll blame them, fire them do whatever, that’s great. Still doesn’t fix the problem and it still doesn’t change the climate that he’s created that you can do whatever you want and blame the little guy.”

Flint residents aren’t the only ones taking issue. UAW local 6000’s Ray Holman represents the collective bargaining rights of over 17,000 state employees, and he’s worried.

“The concern is not so much who’s paid and who’s not paid while they’re under investigation. The concern is that you’d be taking away due process rights.”

Cotter’s spokesman stressed the speaker views collective bargaining as an unrelated issue.

His press secretary also pointed out that as of now, political appointees can be fired faster than civil servants, so Republicans don’t see those patronage posts as less accountable.

Still… House Minority Leader Greimel tells 6 News he doubts the reform will clear the House two thirds majority and doesn’t even think the Senate will consider it.

Head to our WLNS Facebook page to weigh in.

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