Resolution Notes Changes Threaten Civil Service’s Protections Against Corruption
(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Linda Stender and Herb Conaway M.D. sponsored objecting to the establishment of the job banding program as proposed by the Civil Service Commission was released Monday by an Assembly panel.
The bill (AR-177) notes the civil service system in New Jersey, once a statutory creation, gained permanence through its inclusion in the New Jersey Constitution, which provides that appointments and promotions in the civil service must be made according to merit and fitness, to be ascertained, as far as practicable, by competitive examination.
But on March 18, the New Jersey Register published rule changes proposed by the Civil Service Commission to establish a new job banding program for positions in both state and local service. The proposed job banding program gives substantial discretion to civil service employers, potentially imperiling or curtailing veterans’ preference and advancement opportunities for women, minorities, those with disabilities and those vulnerable to discriminatory practices.
Also, the appeal process would be unavailable to employees who have not been selected for an advancement appointment under the proposed job banding program. Instead, a less protective grievance appeal procedure would be used.
“There has been no meaningful discussion of the legitimate questions and concerns presented by members of the public and the Civil Service Commission has held only a single hearing to consider such questions and concerns,” said Stender (D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset). “Changes of questionable constitutionality that erode the longstanding safeguards provided by the civil service system should be done in a straightforward and transparent manner that fosters earnest and constructive discussion. That’s what employers, employees and members of the public deserve.”
“In light of the magnitude of the changes being proposed to the civil service system, the procedural steps that the commission has taken in consideration of these proposed changes have been inadequate,” said Conaway (D-Burlington). “The people of New Jersey benefit most from public service that is based on knowledge, skills and abilities, the guarantee of equal employment opportunities and the protection from political coercion and the sins of discrimination and political cronyism. These changes threaten to undermine all of that and the process being used is wrong.”
The measure, if approved by the full Assembly, would be transmitted to the chairman and members of the Civil Service Commission.
The bill was released by the Assembly State Government Committee chaired by Stender.