On Tuesday, March 6th, Governor Haslam’s TEAM Act, which would dismantle the current civil service system, was on calendar in the House State and Local Government committee. The committee voted 10–5, with all but one Republican voting to move the amended version of the bill on to the Government Operations committee – two Representatives withheld their votes.
The committee debated the bill, hearing testimony from TSEA. The Administration’s amendment to the original bill was passed with little debate. Their amendment changes a few items, some of which are reestablishing veterans’ preference during the hiring process, ensuring that a laid off employee will receive his/her final paycheck within 30 days, and ensuring that an employee returning to a position will maintain the same classification they had before a layoff.
However, all amendments presented by TSEA were voted down, including amendments to protect current RIF rights until the new Performance Evaluation system has been in place for a year. Also voted down was an amendment to ensure the 2.5% across-the-board raise included in the Governor’s budget this year is applied as a true across-the-board raise for employees, and will not exclude anyone for performance and discipline like last year’s 1.6% until the¬ new Performance Evaluation system is in place. TSEA President Phil Morson said, “The administration has admitted that the present performance evaluation system is broken. Their insistence to rely on a broken system to decide who gets a pay raise is appalling, unreasonable, and just plain wrong.”
As a non-partisan organization, TSEA is disturbed by the House State and Local committee’s party line votes on each of our amendments, and ultimately the bill. “State employees represent a very large and diverse group of voters. It is very disturbing to TSEA that both the House and Senate State and Local Government committees have allowed this to be a partisan issue. State employees deserve better” said TSEA Executive Director Robert O’Connell.
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.