Guest Columns

FERRANDINO AND VAAD: SUPPORT FROM GENERAL ASSEMBLY WAS UNANIMOUS

Vote for Amendment S and bring state government into the 21st Century

GUEST COLUMNISTS

There’s no reason for Colorado’s government to be stuck in the past. And yet it is.

The rules and procedures that govern state hiring and personnel management in Colorado have not been updated or revised in over 40 years. In the context of a system that employs over 30,000 hardworking people, our obsolete management procedures mean large-scale inefficiency and waste.

Amendment S, a legislatively referred measure that is on this November’s ballot, will fix what is broken in Colorado’s personnel system with a series of common-sense reforms. First and foremost, Amendment S proposes to attract the best employees to civil service and to empower them to serve us to their fullest potential. It goes without saying that this will benefit Coloradans all across the state.

Because of rules ensconced in our constitution decades ago, Colorado does not have the flexibility it needs in matters of personnel management. Currently, hiring state employees is nothing short of a bureaucratic ordeal. Hiring occurs by numerically ranking applicants according to their scores on standardized tests. These tests, while important indicators of skill, completely ignore other characteristics essential to workplace success, such as responsibility, demeanor, and ingenuity.

Managers are prevented by law from interviewing anyone other than the top three test-takers. If these applicants accept another job offer, or if they are not the right fit for a position, new candidates cannot be considered until six months have passed — leaving positions vacant and creating backlog all the while.

We cannot afford to tolerate this kind of inefficiency in our government, and Amendment S will ensure that we no longer do so. It will permit more discretion in hiring and promotion decisions, allowing us to select the best people for the job. It will also institute a permanent hiring preference that will ensure that veterans are considered for state positions.

Amendment S will make a number of other sensible changes. It will establish a sustainable limit on exemptions, guaranteeing that no more than 1 percent of state positions will be filled by appointment. It will increase transparency and oversight by establishing term limits for members of the State Personnel Board. And it will streamline Colorado’s temporary workers’ program, cutting back on redundant training. Best of all, Amendment S will improve government without passing any costs on to taxpayers.

Amendment S is a rare example of compromise and collaboration in today’s divisive political climate. It was referred to the ballot by a unanimous vote of Colorado’s senators and representatives. Governor Hickenlooper and his two predecessors in office have outspokenly supported it. Every newspaper that has ran an editorial on Amendment S has endorsed it.

Now it’s necessary that voters show their support for these important reforms. This election day, we urge you to vote “Yes” on Amendment S.

Rep. Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver and Rep. Glenn Vaad, R-Mead, co-sponsored House Concurrent Resolution-12 1001, which referred Amendment S to the ballot. The measure passed through the General Assembly with 98 votes in favor and 0 votes against.