House Republicans want to speed process of firing bad state employees

House Republicans want to speed up the process of firing state workers found incompetent at their jobs.

But organized labor claims it’s an attack on the civil service system established to protect employees from politicians. 

In the wake of the Flint water crisis, the Republican speaker of the House Kevin Cotter argues it is time to tweak the civil service system to make sure state workers are not paid when they've done something wrong.

But union lobbyists have a different take.

"It is anti-union, its anti-working people," said Ray Holman, a UAW lobbyist. "This is hogwash."

"My hope is that this will not be seen as a threat," Cotter said. "That it will not be seen as an attack to those who provide a tremendous service to the state," Cotter said. "But rather something that is provided for a very small number of people."

However labor counters, the speaker is trying to divert attention from the mistakes of Snyder's administration.

"The reason for this proposal," said Nick Ciaramitaro, union lobbyist. "Is a continued effort on the part of this government - the governor and the legislature, to evade responsibility for policy decisions made by people who are not civil servants."

And Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D-Meridian Township) with a ton of state workers in his district reports workers are being fired now

"We fired 366 people last year throughout state government for not doing their job," Hertel said.

"It creates a system where those who do wrong are able to continue to draw payment for an extended period of time from the state until they are terminated or disciplined," Cotter said.

The chances of this ever getting to the state-wide ballot at this early read appear very slim because the speaker needs Democrats to vote yes and likely many of them, will vote no.