Skubick: Speaker Cotter sets up fight over firing state employees

LANSING, MI (WLNS) – House Republicans want to speed up the process of firing state workers who are incompetent, but organized labor claims it’s an attack on the civil service system that was established to protect employees from politicians.

It’s shaping up as another Republicans vs. labor dispute at the State Capitol.

In the wake of the Flint water crisis, the Republican Speaker of the House argues it is time to tweak the civil service system to make sure state workers are not paid when they’ve done something wrong.

But union lobbyists have a different take.

“It’s anti-union, it’s anti-working people,” said Ray Holman, lobbyist, UAW.
Reporter: “So the speaker is simply misguided?”
Holman: “This is hogwash.”

“My hopes is, again, that this will not be seen as a threat, that it will not be seen as an attack on those that provide a tremendous service to the state, but rather something that is provided for a very small number of people,” said House Speaker Kevin Cotter (R).

Mr. Cotter contends there are protections for civil servants

However labor counters, the speaker is trying to divert attention from the mistakes the governor made and blaming the little guy instead.

“The reason for this proposal is a continued effort on the part of this government, the governor and the legislature to evade responsibility for policy decisions made by people who are not civil servants,” adds union lobbyist Nick Ciaramitaro.

And this democrat with a ton of state workers in his district reports workers are being fired now under the current system.

“We fired 366 people last year throughout state government for not doing their job. I haven’t seen a whole lot of legislators lose their jobs,” said State Senator Curtis Hertel Jr. (D), Lansing.

“It creates a system whereby those that do wrong are able to continue to draw payment for an extended period of time from the state until they are ultimately terminated or otherwise disciplined,” said House Speaker Kevin Cotter.

The changes of this ever getting to the state-wide ballot at this early read appear very slim. The speaker needs Democrats to do it and he is likely to get none.

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