"S" is probably the toughest ballot question to understand this year in Colorado.
State lawmakers unanimously voted to put it on the ballot. Amendment "S" would change how we hire state workers.
After interviewing both sides of this argument, here are some pro and con arguments about Amendment "S:"
MODERNIZES HIRING OF STATE WORKERS
What it means: Some 32,000 state workers in Colorado are hired under rules enshrined in Colorado's constitution that lead to an inefficient hiring process. (See video above for a detailed visual explanation.) Job applicants who qualify for a job are given written tests. The people with the top three scores are granted job interviews. The rest of the applications are discarded. If the top three candidates don't do well on the interview or get jobs elsewhere while the tests are scored, the search is declared "failed" and the state must wait six months to begin the search again. Amendment S eliminates the six-month waiting period, allows six candidates to be interviewed instead of three, and allows the state to select people to interview based on other factors besides test scores (like experience).
Pro argument: This allows Colorado to compete more evenly for the best workers. It also allows managers to hire people who seem to be a better fit for certain positions regardless of test scores.
Con argument: Some state jobs require detailed knowledge of certain subjects and selecting people based on tests is the best way to find the people with the most expertise in their fields. The opponents advocate waiting for a different amendment to fix the problems with the six-month waiting period and had no objection to expanding the number of candidates who may be interviewed to six.
SETS A NEW LIMIT ON THE NUMBER OF APPOINTED JOBS
What it means: Currently, the state has a fixed number of positions which may be appointed by the administration, bypassing the usual hiring process. The amendment would alter that, capping the number of appointed positions at one percent of the state workforce. At the current size of the state workforce, this would create an additional 325 jobs that may be appointed rather than hired through the usual channels. These positions include deputy department heads, spokespeople, human resource directors, and other high-level positions within state departments.
Pro argument: Heads of state departments should be allowed to hire their own core team of managers to better accomplish their goals. The intent is not for the governor to personally select the people to fill these appointable jobs, but to allow the governor's cabinet to have a better management team.
Con argument: This gives the governor too much power over state government and could lead to cronyism. Not only could the appointments be given to friends or relatives of the governor and/or the cabinet, but by including HR directors in the list of appointable positions, the hiring process for rank-and-file workers could be skewed to benefit friends of the administration. The appointed positions could be paid higher salaries than those who work in the same position under the current classified system. Also, this eliminates the ability to reach top jobs for people who choose to have a long career in state government.
CREATES A PERMANENT ADVANTAGE FOR VETERANS
What it means: Currently, military veterans who apply for state jobs are given a bump in the rankings when test scores are calculated. Veterans may only use this advantage on one Colorado state job. Amendment "S" would allow veterans to always enjoy this leg up in the application process. Opponents to "S" did not argue against this change.
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