Scott Walker
Press Release

Governor Scott Walker Releases Statement on Recruitment and Retention Reforms

Governor Scott Walker today released the following statement regarding recruitment and retention reform legislation to be introduced by Senator Roger Roth and Representative Jim Steineke

By - Sep 24th, 2015 02:25 pm

Governor Scott Walker today released the following statement regarding recruitment and retention reform legislation to be introduced by Senator Roger Roth and Representative Jim Steineke:

“Wisconsin needs to be able to compete for the best and the brightest employees in today’s modern workforce.  This legislation will implement common-sense reforms to our recruiting process to get the best in the door and will give state agencies the tools to retain their great employees, as well as to address the bad actors who abuse the system.

“Through these reforms, we will be able to ensure state government is providing the highest quality services to our citizens.   I appreciate the hard work of Senator Roth and Representative Steineke in developing these thoughtful recruiting and retention reforms.”

Agencies frequently experience issues as they work to quickly hire or identify the best person for the job, retain and reward top employees, or try to discipline the few bad actors who are taking advantage of the system.

Here are just a few issues state agencies have encountered within the current civil service system:

  • One of every 12 employees is currently eligible for retirement, 23 percent of state workers are set to be retirement eligible in the next five years, and 40 percent of state employees will be retirement eligible in the next 10 years.  Meanwhile, the recruitment process can take months because of nonsensical standards developed decades ago.

o   The current exam process put forward a short order cook as the top candidate for a financial examiner position, which requires accounting and finance skills, at the Department of Financial Institutions.

o   Many agencies have identified their top candidate for a job after months-long recruitment processes only to find out that the best qualified person took another job in the private sector or elsewhere because the state hiring process took too long.

  • A current archaic law on the books related to “Job Abandonment” does not allow state agencies to remove employees who do not show up for work, even if they do not give notice that they will not be at work, until they do not show up without notice for five consecutive days.

o   At the Department of Revenue, a state employee, who came under criminal investigation and was ultimately charged with theft, fled to Canada, and the agency was not able to fire this employee until after he had abandoned his job for more than five consecutive days.

  • Recognizing the high quality work product of state agencies’ top performers is an important management tool, which is why Governor Walker and the Legislature created the discretionary merit compensation awards (DMC) in 2011.  This tool allows managers to reward stellar job performance.  Currently, DMCs are awarded from individual agency budgets.

o   The legislation introduced by Senator Roth and Representative Steineke will create a designated fund for discretionary merit compensation awards to ensure that top performers and excellent work are recognized and rewarded.

  • The Department of Natural Resources was ultimately prohibited from firing an employee who spent thousands of hours watching pornography.  The employee had their job restored because they were not “sufficiently” warned and the agency should have taken steps to accommodate their addiction.
  • The Department of Corrections was unable to terminate an employee who used illegal drugs with a parolee they were assigned to oversee.  This employee was terminated but then allowed back in through the arbitration process.

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