03/12/2013 03:52 pm ET Updated May 11, 2013

Bill Could End Kansas Civil Service Protections For Many


HB 2384, a bill pending in the Kansas state legislature relating to civil service classification for public employees, advances a misguided solution in search of a non-existent problem.

HB 2384 will negatively impact our state in a whole host of unsettling ways ranging from the ability to attract, train and maintain the best possible professional public work force, to taxpayers suffering inefficient public services, to political cronyism influencing hiring decisions.

This bill proposes to upend almost a century's worth of civil service tradition in the Sunflower State. In 1915, Kansas was the ninth state to adopt a general civil service system. The system evolved over time and eventually a constitutional amendment adopted by the voters of Kansas in 1940 set the stage for the system we have in place today.

That civil service system was conceived decades ago because the policymakers and citizens who came before us understood even back then that in order to ensure quality public services hiring decisions should be based on merit, not political patronage.

If enacted into law, HB 2384 will roll back a system that has ensured a professional workforce free of political influence for decades. Gov. Sam Brownback has already rewarded his political contributors with large income tax cuts. Don't let him now make a mockery of our public workforce with his latest power grab.

The author is a spokesman for United Steelworkers 307.