October 29, 2015

Modernizing Civil Service

This week, Assembly Republicans passed Assembly Bill (AB) 373, which reforms Wisconsin’s antiquated civil service laws. Passed back in 1905, the civil service laws are in need of modernizing. The bill adopts best practices from local government and the private sector. The reforms are merged with current civil service protections, which continue protections for employees from any politically motivated actions.

Specifically, AB 373 replaces Wisconsin’s flawed civil service exam with a competitive, resume-based system. The bill also centralizes the human resources services of the state agencies, in an effort to provide consistent and fair hiring standards. With 40% of the state’s workforce eligible for retirement in the next 10 years, now is the time to modernize Wisconsin’s civil service hiring process.

AB 373 also implements an annual performance review of all civil service employees with an emphasis on job performance. This ensures that when it comes time for raises or layoffs, job performance is the most important factor in making these decisions. This way the state can maximize employee effectiveness and reward exemplary job performance.

Furthermore, AB 373 brings common sense reform to the states definition of “just cause” for termination. Under the previous system, employees could watch pornography at work, be insubordinate, or simply not show up for work for days at a time without notifying their employer with little threat of punishment. In one particularly shocking incident, an employee who spent an average of four hours each work day watching pornography was reinstated with back pay after initially being terminated. If AB 373 is passed by the Senate and signed by Governor Walker, it will eliminate the “gray area” surrounding Wisconsin’s laws regarding “just cause” for termination, and will make them simple for both employers and employees to understand.

Eliminating the State Treasurer

The State Assembly also approved a resolution, Assembly Joint Resolution (AJR) 5, which would do away with the antiquated office of the State Treasurer. If passed by the Senate, the resolution would again need to pass the full legislature next session and then be approved on a statewide referendum by Wisconsin voters. I co-authored AJR 5 because it will save tax dollars by eliminating an unnecessary office.

Over the years, the Office of the State Treasurer (OST) has become a prime example of government inefficiency and eliminating it will cut spending and reduce the size of government.

In fact, the state treasurer no longer has any meaningful duties other than to serve on one board that consists of two 15 minute phone calls per month. Over time, the duties of the treasurer have been shifted to other agencies, enabling them to be executed more efficiently.

For example, Governor Walker and the legislature recently transferred the oversight of the Unclaimed Property Program from the OST to the Department of Revenue (DOR). As a result, DOR has been processing unclaimed property much more efficiently than the treasurer’s office, partly due to their ability to match social security numbers.

It is important to note that current State Treasurer Matt Adamczyk, as well as his predecessor, both ran and won on a platform of eliminating the do-nothing office.

In fact, after taking office Treasurer Adamczyk fired all of his staff, including a deputy treasurer making over $100,000 in salary and benefits, because they had nothing to do. The treasurer has estimated eliminating the office will save taxpayers over $1 million in future state budgets.

Congressman Ryan Elected Speaker of the House

Congrats to my good friend Congressman Paul Ryan on becoming Speaker of the House of Representatives! I was honored to be invited by him to Washington to share in this historic day, as this is the first time the Speaker has been from Wisconsin.

Walker announces new dementia toolkit in Lake Geneva.

Last week I attended the Dementia-Friendly Employers event at Primex Wireless, Inc. in Lake Geneva. Here I am joined by Governor Scott Walker and Tom Hlavacek, the executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Southeast Wisconsin Chapter. It always feels good to come out and support a great cause!


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