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Mississippi Senate Votes To Suspend State Personnel Board Rules

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 15 Mar 2012 02:14pm | comments

Mississippi's public employees could lose their civil service protection under bills approved by the state legislature.

A version approved by the Senate would take all state employees out from under the state personnel board for two years.

Columbus Senator Terry Brown defendedthe bill on the floor of the senate as a measure to make government more efficient.

"We don't have a product that we are selling. All we are doing is a service and we need to match that service with what it takes to get that service delivered. We are not an employment agency, we are just not that," Brown said.

Senator David Blount of Jackson defended the Civil service protections as a wayto keep rapidly change political forces out of the hiring and firing decision of government agencies.

"There has to be basic continuity of government and professionalism in government as elected officials and agency heads change. Agency heads change often. Elected officials could change every cycle. There has to be somebody who is going to make the wheels of government go on after every election," Blount said.

The Mississippi Alliance of State Employees....the public employee union.....rallied against removing the personnel board rules earlier in the week.

Union President Brenda Scott says the effort to lift the protections are politically motivated.

"It is nothing more than a euphemism for creating a workforce that the Governor feels; one, is politically motivated to see every issue his way. A work force where political favoritism and political cronies run wild," Scott said.

Only a handful of other states have a system where public employees are employees-at-will and can be fired for any reason without recourse.

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