ORIGINALLY created to prevent cronyism in state government hiring, the merit-protection system for state workers today appears to often impede efficient management of the government workforce.
Merit-protection rules mandate specific criteria for hiring and firing certain state government employees. The idea is to make it difficult for politically connected but unqualified individuals to obtain state jobs. The rules are also meant to protect workers from politically motivated firings. However, the practical effect is to foster job protections exceeding those typically enjoyed by many taxpayers.
Of the state's 33,689 full-time employees, 23,720 are covered by the merit protection system. In a recent meeting with The Oklahoman's editorial board, Preston Doerflinger, acting director of the Department of Human Services, said he's working to empower DHS employees and get rid of dead weight at the agency. He said merit-protection rules can make that second goal more difficult.
Doerflinger blames the difficulty, in part, on the failure of managers to document worker deficiencies. Ironically, merit-protection rules may also impede deserved promotions and pay raises for some workers.
Scott Lesher, administrator of the Oklahoma Department of Consumer Credit, recently said it's difficult to hire examiners for mortgage broker testing. Because examiners are merit-protected employees, Lesher said regulations cap salaries at $37,000, which is insufficient. Similar issues have risen in the past. The Legislature has previously been forced to revise statutes to allow certain longtime employees to be promoted within an agency.
State workers may be trading income for increased job security. A fiscal 2011 report found that the average pay of classified employees was $35,440, compared with $42,235 for comparable private-sector jobs.
Cut pounds of stomach fat every week by using this 1 weird old tip.