SB 0773 Revision of State Merit System Law
LR Number:S2991.01P Fiscal Note:2991-01
Committee:Financial and Governmental Operations
Last Action:04/15/96 - Hearing Conducted H Science, Technology & Critical Issues
Effective Date:August 28, 1996
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Current Bill Summary

SB 773 - This act follows recommendations of the Commission on Management and Productivity (COMAP), established by the Governor in 1994 to recommend ways to improve the efficiency of state government. The bill increases the number of employees exempt from the Merit System in each department. In addition, each "appointing authority" can exempt special assistants and policymaking assistants up to 1% of the FTE authorized. One percent is equal to the following number of employees in select departments:

Department of Mental Health 105 Department of Social Services 93 Department of Natural Resources 17 Office of Administration 10

Some current exemptions are deleted.

The Personnel Advisory Board is expended from three to seven members. One of the members shall be a nonmanagement state employee, one shall be a management state employee and five shall be members of the public. The state employees cannot participate in disciplinary proceedings arising from their agency.

When the Director of the Division of Personnel develops a classification plan and pay plan, he may group management positions within a broad management class. The typical pattern today is for each department to have its own subset of management classes and a first level manager in one department would not be eligible for a similar or higher position in another.

The Director of the Division of Personnel may authorize appointing authorities to establish job classes within their department within limits and standards that have been mutually developed.

Departments may request authority from the Board to administer promotional exams and a requirement that all such examinations be prepared and validated by the Division of Personnel has been deleted. The bill deletes an outdated provision which required that notices of exams be published two weeks before the exam. The Board may waive a requirement for competitive examinations for a class or a position when the number of applicants is or has been insufficient to provide meaningful competition. Appointing authorities may implement alternative promotional procedures after obtaining Board approval.

Under current law, the Division of Personnel provides the names of the top ten candidates for a position. The bill allows the Division to provide the top fifteen or the top fifteen percent, whichever is greater. When more than one position is being filled, the Director may provide the names of five additional candidates ("eligibles") for each vacancy.

If the Division of Personnel is unable to certify at least ten eligible candidates, the appointing authority may make a provisional appointment. The person appointed will serve the normal probationary period for the position and may be made a regular employee without examination.

State employees who are not covered by the state personnel system, except employees of the Departments of Conservation and Highways and Transportation, employees of elected officials and the Highway Patrol, may transfer into a merit agency and these employees may be reemployed by a merit agency without a competitive examination.

Under current law, service rating scores (evaluations) are used to determine who will be laid off. Another COMAP initiative is to reorient evaluations so that they are goal-setting, self improvement tools rather than disciplinary tools. The bill removes service ratings from the decision to lay off employees, allowing managers to use "ability to do the remaining work" instead.

The current appeals procedure remains unchanged but the Board is given the authority to establish methods for alternative dispute resolution.

This act is very similar to HCS/HB 1146.