AFSCME Opposes Jeb’s Plan to Reform State Employee Career Service
Jeb plans to change Florida’s career service system even though it’s not broken. The present system was actually instituted under the leadership of former Republican Gov. Kirk to end the politcal patronage which resulted in the termination of employee every time the party in power was changed. The proposed changes would be to the disadvantage of state employees. In the event of termination it would be up to the employee to prove that they should not be fired. As much as 25% of the work force will be laid off. The classification of the majority of the remaining employees will be changed from career service to serve-at-will. This means they will receive no advantage from their seniority in the event of a layoff. They can be fired at the discretion of the supervisor.
Large sectors of state business will be privatized, including food service, laundry, people who manage foster care placement and child abuse cases etc. This will make the elimination of state jobs easier. The state will be left with the most difficult cases to manage.
Bush has also worked to eliminate the intangible tax, thus, increasing the tax burden on low income and working people.
State employee service expenses are cheaper per capita in Florida than any other state.
The bill to initiate Bush’s “Service First” plan has passed the house. Rudy Garcia has introduced the bill into the FL Senate. The state employees’ union, AFSCME, has opposed Bush’s plan but there is antagonism toward unions in both parties.
Charter Status for Gainesville’s Equal Opportunity Office
The equal opportunity office was originally formed in the late 1970’s to investigate and resolve cases of alleged discrimination in city government.
In 1992 police raided the Equal Opportunity Department office and confiscated records in response to complaints from City Attorney Marion Radson and then-acting City Manager Karen Johnson that conversations were being illegally taped at the EOD department. Three former investigators for the EOD filed federal lawsuits claiming racism, retaliation and denial of due process. Even though none of the cases was successful the department was dismantled in 1995.
After city attorney Wayne Bowers proposed reorganizing the EOD a new director of the equal opportunity office was hired in 1998 and charged with designing an affirmative action plan and finding a way to restore the EOD. In the spring of 1999, after these efforts to renew the EOD had failed, more than 200 people attended the city commission meeting to demand a more effective means to combat discrimination. They demanded the the creation of an independent equal opportunity officer with charter status to protect him from interference by other charter officers, such as the city manager. A blue ribbon committee was appointed to recommend to the city how to deal with discrimination complaints.
The idea of a equal opportunity office is a relatively new concept. Only a few other cities have established such offices.
A charter office would be empowered under the city constitution to answer to the city commission.
The city had previously entered into a contract with the county to oversee discrimination cases in the private sector. All of the city’s discrimination regulations were therefore repealed except discrimination on account of sexual orientation which the county’s regulations did not cover. The blue ribbon committee recommended that the city reinstate the regulations and establish a charter office to oversee enforcement. The city commission voted 4-1 to establish a charter office, with only Paula DeLaney voting “no.”