Election Guide 2012: Amendment S would change state personnel rules

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Election 2012

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Amendment S

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning the state personnel system, and, in connection therewith, expanding the veterans’ preference; increasing the number of candidates eligible to be appointed to a position; adjusting the duration of allowable temporary employment; allowing the flexibility to remove a limited number of positions from the system; modifying the residency requirement; adjusting the terms of service for members of the state personnel board; and requiring merit-based appointments to be made through a comparative analysis process?

■ Yes ■ No

Amendment S, put on the ballot by Colorado lawmakers, would reform the state’s government employee personnel system through a variety of changes that supporters say are necessary to modernize and make flexible the state’s rigid personnel rules.

The rules specify, for example, that an agency can have no more than three finalists for a job, limit temporary work to six months and say job applicants have be Colorado residents.

The amendment has the support of Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, and former Govs. Bill Ritter and Bill Owens.

Amendment S would change the constitutionally proscribed rules, allowing as many as six finalists for a job, allowing temporary workers to work as long as nine months and allowing job applicants to live within 30 miles of the Colorado border.

It also would allow governors to exempt as many as 25 positions that now are strictly merit positions governed by the existing rules, allowing these positions to be politically appointed.

These include deputy directors, legislative liaisons, chief financial officers, personnel directors, executive assistants, public information officers and other employees.

The amendment also would give a governor power to remove two of his or her three appointees to the five-member State Personnel Board.

Opponents of the measure say it gives the governor and political appointees too much power over the state’s personnel system. They also argue that the proposed changes to the personnel system make it more vulnerable to favoritism and abuse, which could result in the loss of institutional knowledge and subject traditionally neutral positions to political pressure.

Information also was provided by the 2012 State Ballot Information Booklet.

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