Yesterday, the Senate State and Local Government voted 6-3 along party lines to pass an amended version of the TEAM Act on to the Senate Finance committee. The Tennessee State Employees Association is very disappointed that the committee allowed partisan politics to play a role in their votes on this important issue for state employees. The administration, for the first time publically, demonstrated their unwillingness to negotiate on the core issues of hiring and layoffs that are the most damaging to state employees and Tennessee citizens, consistently and methodically opposing every TSEA compromise offered via amendment.
Also unacceptable was the committee’s rush to pass a bill that had not been fully discussed. Toward the end of the meeting, immediately before the committee voted to pass the bill, Senator Lowe Finney said, “We have not had a full and fair conversation with regards to other issues not listed in the amendments …maybe I will be comfortable voting for the bill after we get some other questions answered, but until such time occurs I will not be supporting it.”
TSEA does not believe that the system is broken; rather we believe there is a problem with the implementation of specific parts of that system that can be corrected. TSEA Executive Director Robert O’Connell said, “Problems have developed with the administration of the current civil service system, but the solution is not to throw the baby out with the bath water. Note each of these problems and fix them”.
All amendments to the bill will be heard on the House side at next week’s House State and Local committee.
TSEA is a nonprofit association existing to provide a strong unified voice with which it advocates the work-related interests of members. The attainment of association objectives will ensure a better life for our members and will attract and retain an effective, efficient state workforce to provide services for all Tennesseans. TSEA was established in 1974. For further information, visit the Web site at www.tseaonline.org.