In The News › City Workers Blast Landrieu’s “Bumping” Proposal

Jun 30, 2011

Source: Fox 8

Filed under: Civil Service, Orleans Parish

City Workers Blast Landrieu’s “Bumping” Proposal

Thursday, June 30, 2011
By Sabrina Wilson
Fox 8

New Orleans—Some city government workers did not hold back in blasting a proposal by Mayor Mitch Landrieu which would affect the so called “bumping” rule.

Landrieu wants the city Civil Service Commission to overhaul the rule which benefits veteran workers during times of city layoffs.

During a Thursday morning public hearing many employees stepped to the microphone to attack the mayor’s proposal.

“In my opinion this is not a bumping process it’s a firing process,” said employee Tanya Wilson.

Another said the current civil services rules should not be tampered with because they erased a dark period in city government history.

“Before civil service existed politicians could come in hire whoever they wanted to, do whatever they wanted, hire, [and] fire at will.”

Landrieu wants the commission to do away with a policy which allows employees whose position are eliminated through layoffs to bump, or take the job of another worker with less seniority in a separate city department.

Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin said revising the rule would be beneficial on several fronts.

“Saves taxpayer dollars because it doesn’t involve the level of uncertainty, the level of musical chairs in transfers,” stated Kopplin.

He also argued that having people transfer to a separate department they have little knowledge of just because they have seniority is costing the city money in the long run.

“It imposes increased training costs for the employee who leaves the health department and bumps in to the sewer and water board,” Kopplin added.

But workers who have benefitted from the “bumping” system reject that notion.

“We are not stupid, we can be trained, it does not take long,” Wilson said to audience applause.

“Police officers can’t bump fire department staff, firefighters can’t bump police officers and what we’re suggesting is actually the same thing which is that we not move citywide with our bumping from department to department,” said Kopplin.

Still, some members of the commission are not sold on the proposal to limit transfer within the same city department or agency. One member pointed out that many workers who get promoted end up with jobs in different departments.

“Doesn’t that by extension logically lead to the conclusion that you shouldn’t be allowed to promote from one organizational unit to another for the same reason because you require retraining,” said Commissioner Jerry Davis.

Some workers believes changing the rules will lead to discrimination.

“This the first step to dismantle civil service protections,” said Employee Richard Sherman. But the mayor’s staff denies that.

Though the proposal as presented to the commission today does not directly impact police and firemen they are standing in support of other workers.

“Never, ever would we look to try to, or suggest to amend us out while leaving any of our brothers and sisters underneath the train,” said New Orleans Firefighters Association President Nick Felton.

Police groups echoed that. “The things that affect them certainly could affect us, if not today tomorrow,” said Simon Hargrove, President of the Black Organization of Police.

“There’s been a lot of movement by the administration to reduce the effect of civil service in protecting employees and that does concern us,” said Police Association of New Orleans President Michael Glasser.

Still, the Bureau of Government Research said the bumping rule is problematic.

“It is a recipe for havoc,” said BGR President Janet Howard.

And despite pushing the proposal the mayor and his administration deny that any layoffs here at city hall are in the offing.

“This isn’t part of a plan for layoffs, the mayor has been very clear about that,” Kopplin said.

But workers remain wary.

“If you don’t have a conscience vote to change the rule,” said Joycelyn Evans.

The commission decided to put off a vote on the mayor’s proposal until a later meeting.

Jun 30, 2011

Source: Fox 8

Filed under: Civil Service, Orleans Parish

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