Back in 2011, Gov. Scott Walker made it clear that while he wanted to cripple public employee unions through the passage of Act 10, public employees would still have some of the strongest civil service protections in the country. At the time Gov. Walker unambiguously stated civil service laws would not be affected by Act 10, and while that was true then, it appears Walker’s administration is making moves (secretly) to fundamentally change Wisconsin’s civil service laws, and not necessarily for the better.

In an interview, four top appointees of the Republican governor stressed they intended no changes to the core principles of the civil service system: hiring workers based on merit and firing them only for just cause. That system grew out of Progressive-era reforms and sought to stifle Tammany Hall-style patronage in which politicians rewarded their party’s supporters with jobs and left taxpayers with the bill.

Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch said he wants to respond to an aging work force and looming retirements by modernizing a hiring process that can take months of painstaking effort.

“What you have intercepted in those emails is the very first meeting, the very first discussions on a more coordinated basis,” said Huebsch, who was among those trading the emails on possible changes. “For years…it’s been anecdotal but now I said, ‘We really do need to address this.'”

With major civil service rewrites showing up in other states recently, any proposal will receive close scrutiny here. Controversy has surrounded all of Walker’s actions on the state workforce since his 2011 repeal of most collective bargaining for most public workers in Wisconsin.

Per the Journal Sentinel report, Walker administration officials had told the he Milwaukee Journal Sentinel multiple times that they weren’t looking to change the state’s century-old civil service system, but when the newspaper obtained records through Wisconsin’s open records law that showed there had been discussions about changing Wisconsin’s civil service laws, administration officials were forced to acknowledge they had actually had discussions.

The fact that Walker administration officials felt the need to have secret meetings to discuss changes to Wisconsin’s civil service laws – and then felt compelled to lie about those secret meetings – doesn’t bode well for the kinds of changes they want to make. After all, given how virulently anti-worker (not to mention prone to patronage) the Walker administration has proven to be, there can’t be any positives to come from changing Wisconsin’s civil service laws.

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2 Responses to Walker administration moves to change civil service laws

  1. Duane12 says:

    The Journal Sentinel article uses the expression “…streamlining civil service rules” to explain Walker’s and his crews’ engineering of urgent and secretive discussions. That brings to mind the old term “railroaded” to signal the negative or backing up effect their legislation will have upon civil service employees.

  2. Drew Hunkins says:

    The cosmetic surgery addict who makes $2 million per year – Mark Belling, and the serial adulterer who makes $1 million per year – Charlie Sykes, both these hucksters run the entire Republican party in southeastern WI. Until these two savages are put in their place nothing’s ever going to change. They bamboozle and hoodwink myriad voters in the greater Milw area. They have many of the covertly racist suburban Milwaukee dwellers eating out of the palms of their hands.

    Too many Democratic leaning Wisconsin residents know nothing of the filth and half-truths that emanate from these two pieholes every single weekday. Vickie McKenna is nothing compared to the millionaire cosmetic surgery addict Mark Belling and the millionaire serial adulterer Charlie Sykes. If any type of mildly left leaning proposal pops up in a suburb it has NO chance because the serial adulterer and the cosmetic surgery addict will immediately denounce it on air, turning their acolytes against whomever had the temerity to advocate the mildly liberal policy. How dare they think they can pass something the serial adulterer and cosmetic surgery addict disapprove of!

    These two millionaire blowhards viciously attack middle class public servants, public school teachers and other populist reformers with a ferocity that’s truly stunning to behold. It’s disgraceful the way these two millionaires sit on their perches and denounce working class and middle class public servants by name, by name in the greater Milwaukee area!

    These two sick self-serving millionaires have every single GOP politician in the Greater Milwaukee area terrified of crossing them on any and all issues. Until these two whores (no offense to sex workers) for the GOP are attacked and vilified like they so richly deserve, nothing is going to change.

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