Gov. Brewer Gains New Power to Fire State Employees

Friday, 04 May 2012 01:47 PM

By Robert Engler

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The Arizona Legislature closed its session Thursday by presenting Gov. Jan Brewer with one of her top legislative priorities – greater authority to discipline or fire non-university state employees for poor performance.
 
Brewer put the measure at the top of her legislative agenda to make government more efficient, the Arizona Republic reported.

The bill would strip out protections, including grievance rights, for about 32,000 state employees from the state personnel systems and eventually make most new state hires “at will” employees, meaning they can be fired for performance issues.

The new law would not affect police officers, civilian employees of the Department of Public Safety, or state university employees.

“The idea is to allow this to reflect in some ways the private sector more,” said Sen. Andy Biggs, a Brewer legislative ally. “This gives people who run state agencies and departments more control over their employees, as you would see if you were in the private sector.”

Democrats in the legislature fought the measure because, they said, it gives too much power to the executive branch, exposes whistle-blowers to unjust termination, and will lead to cronyism and political favoritism.

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