Colorado Ballot Measure Mulls Changes to Personnel System

Monday, 05 Nov 2012 09:44 AM

By Katie Lotman and Patrick Hobin

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Colorado voters will weigh an amendment on Tuesday to streamline and modernize the state's personnel system.

Amendment S, as it’s called, would implement certain testing methods for job applicants, restrict the number of finalists for a particular job or position, place limits on the hiring of temporary workers and require that applicants be residents of the state.

The state’s personnel system has been described by Gov. John Hickenlooper as clumsy and counterproductive, according to the Denver Post, and is beset by rigid rules about how people are to be hired for state jobs.

Hickenlooper, the Post reported, is among three governors —former Govs. Bill Ritter, a Democrat, and Bill Owens, a Republican — who support the changes.

The measure would modify the state charter by allowing up to six finalists for a job instead of the three allowed now.

“It would give temporary workers the ability to be on the payroll as long as nine months, instead of just six months,” according to the Post. “It will give military veterans expanded preference in the hiring process so those who have served the nation will have a better chance of landing a state job. It would also allow governors to fill up to 325 jobs with what are called political appointees.”

Opponents of the measure say it will take the state back to a “spoils system” of officials give positions to friends, family members, and allies.

The Colorado Citizens for Good Government claims that the “jobs created by the amendment are unnecessary, and will ultimately cost the taxpayers money, despite claims to the contrary,” the Summit Daily News reported. The group said the measure “raises the concern that the amendment paves the way for future misuse by elected officials.”

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