Under the Dome

McCrory: State worker protections worse than any union rules

Gov. Pat McCrory Tuesday renewed his push for an overhaul of the state personnel act, that he said would streamline the appeals process, but which critics say would essentially remove most civil service protections.

Speaking before a group of real estate executives, McCrory said he had a gifted Cabinet that was as good as any corporate board, but he said they were stymied in improving government by the State Personnel Act, which provides job protections from arbitrary or political firings.

"Their hands are tied in their ability to stream line government and make it more efficient because we have rules in state government which are worse than any union rules in the United States,'' McCrory told the group meeting at the Embassy Suites in Cary.

"They don't allow me to reward employees who provide excellent customer service and they don't allow me to get rid of the employees that don't meet the standards that we have to have to give good customer service,'' he said.

The governor said the current appeals process often takes 400 days, and managers often find its not worth the effort to try to fire a state worker.

Eventually, McCrory said, he would like to set up a performance-based system, in which state employees could be evaluated.

The House has already approved a bill that would remake the grievance process removing the key link from independent administrative law judges to political appointees of the governor. The measure is now pending in the Senate.

The legislature has already increase the number of political hires -- positions exempt from civil service protections -- from 400 to 1,500.

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