Some Kansas lawmakers are criticizing new state worker regulations proposed by Governor Sam Brownback's administration. Officials want to change how state agencies determine who gets laid off first. The proposal would also give agencies discretion to protect certain employees.
Critics say these changes would reduce the value of experience and make layoffs more subjective. Democratic state Representative Jim Ward calls the changes an attack on state employees.
“I don’t see one thing that you’ve proposed here that I can point to and say that’s worker friendly, that’s state employee friendly,” says Ward.
Kraig Knowlton, with the Department of Administration, says the changes will allow agencies to hire the most qualified people and keep their best workers on the job during layoffs. However, Knowlton says he’s not aware of any plans for significant layoffs.
“Layoffs have always and will always be out there. They’re not something that an agency is going to immediately jump to because the work still has to get done,” says Knowlton.
There’s a public comment hearing on the proposal on the 27th of this month.
Kansas Public Radio's Stephen Koranda was at the hearing this week and has this report: