WWL>Topics>>4-24-14 1:10pm Angela: on civil service reforms

4-24-14 1:10pm Angela: on civil service reforms

Apr 24, 2014|

Angela talks with Nick Felton of the firefighters' union and Eric Hessler, attorney for PANO, about proposed reforms to Orleans Parish Civil Service.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Well happy day it is a happy day and I want to thank off the bat scoot for filling in forming. Had a funeral and had a lot of towns and was glad to get back. But he is always such a jam in just such a beautiful job any time. But we are back to work and I think we have three very interesting shows beginning with something we're going to be hearing a lot of that is. The mayor's proposal for major changes to the civil service commission. Not just the commission but the the rules. That were going to be talking with our and you -- of this. Three incredible people who are really experts on divorce. And how to handle that with your children. And your next house. Then our third hour can't wait to meet this woman she is the founder of jazz -- size 45 years ago I can't believe it's been 45 years. An entrepreneur norm world class and still just basically in the health. So Morgan and Morgan have a full day but let's start with this very very important topic that is affecting not only the employees. But ultimately all of us as taxpayers. Do moral and civil service it's a system that's been a place for decades. One created to protect city employees. From the whims of politics. But there are those who believe it does need a major overhaul. Mary Mitchell Andrew presented his great place to work and initiative with 34 changes to the civil service commission. With the goal he believes that will allow the city to hire the best and paid them accordingly. The business community and many other organizations are for these reforms. But at least 50%. Of city employees namely police and firefighters. Are very much against them. So here to talk about their concerns. Eric Kessler who has an attorney for the police association of New Orleans. And nick felt president of the firefighters union. I do want to mention that we invited the city CEO -- Koplan. Who was not able to attack and we also invited dot reverend -- who is of course the president of -- but also the head of the civil service commission. And he was unable to join us. We will be having some people call and not from the business community with their thoughts but it's very important. As a citizen here in taxpayer. That you. Voice your thoughts on this is are we ready for a change. Let's listen to the concerns of the police and fire give us a call at 260187. On American -- I'm always appreciative when you content. And thank you so much and -- know you re welcome and it's. This is Andy if it's very comprehensive and it was really from one I'm reading. The changes were born from the idea of the survey that they took. That showed even the city employees. Were dissatisfied. With the system messages. That it just needs change not elimination. But change. Well I disagree with then Angela on. As you well know of weakened to a surveyed and I can get results any results she -- can tell you -- do a survey right now and tell you we need to new Mississippi river bridge if you won't. Can do a survey and say we need more. You know news anchors a TV host. You know anything and it doesn't matter you can stack the -- the way you won't. I have talked to them though Eric can speak to himself I have not fun. One source. One person in who works for the city government. Alessio -- it's painful in that position of their era job isn't it is absolutely in the hands of the media audio appointing authority that thing. That we should be. Doing some of things that war being requested in this initiative good place to work initiative now. Bible so you with outer shadow of doubt. Everything can be improved we can absolutely and they -- of view of the changes that have been recommended the year. That -- there will we awful. Blood these wholesale meddling in the interfering. With hiring. Promotions. Are all absolutely -- no -- in is what -- we really need to get away from. And it is not in the spirit all the law of the constitution of the Louisiana. You know it was something that I learned to did not know because I don't know much civil service. Is this rule of story and and again I'm one of the main issues is hiring yes and so there are looking out the city is looking at. Changing or giving them more options but. Correct me if I'm wrong everybody who wants to get a position takes a civil service exam yes and so -- if you make certain marks a certain grades than. If you're near the top three. Yes they're gonna look at those top story. -- reckon what the city is asking is you know what let's broaden that because it is just the test scores that were looking haven't beaten. We're looking at other characteristics of -- of an employee. Yes and no here's a thing yet the -- the relates to choose from those top marine. Would video suggesting is basically eliminating the rule of three and make him answer to rule 3000. Where they have the believe in the way the rule zone contracted it in there in -- suggests in groove change -- That if you have a promotion let's say for. Captain on the police department captain on -- an appointment and their house -- a hundred people that past success. And -- -- intend different maintenance. And the police of the fire chief Israelis -- on needs to make a promotion I -- pick number one. I -- -- -- falling ought to pick number 100 and make that promotion. We should not be able going. -- sale promotions. At the whim of one individual especially that individual who is. Appointed by the media audience -- the administration that is absolutely wrong buys I'm vice. I'm -- -- I'm absolutely buys and when Massey a firefighter Walken room complies. But that either one prominent play doubles and yet that one person whether it's the fire chief or it's the head of any company yes literally is going to be. They're going to be accountable for those choices if it doesn't work if the employees they -- does not function well and it will come back and -- that person. Yes but they have those -- protections now. -- -- We if you look at the system that is in place now when I got me and captain on fire appointments. I had a one -- working test period where I was evaluated by my superiors as well as. Much he could this come in and said you know nick. You did not perform as you should have and I MT molding you and promoting the next person. So they have that ability. And I would do as saying. It was -- a slap in the face to all the men and women of the police department and -- appointment. They're doing when he said that we didn't have we have excellent offices. Out there. In both police and five yeah. Then -- doing a wonderful job day in day out and you can't tell me that the process hasn't given us those grateful and supervises. Financially if I may I'm gone back to. The rule changes at the suggestion in in the way it came about. By way of the survey. They would ask and I think they only wanna say they only sampled 75. Or so employees. And -- ask a question are you satisfied with your your ability to be promoted her answer was you know. And the reason because as they bears that they very seldom the city very seldom. Give promotional exams because of funding issues. You might go 56 years seven years without the opportunity to be promoted which is absolutely ludicrous. But their ideas to to address this instead of instead of having more frequent test is to throwing them the baby with the bath water and then and then make their own rules which are just so far in excess of what. First -- what's legal but it's it's so blatantly. Such a blatant attempt to allow. Political picks to get in as mr. -- said that the rule of three if you have a hundred people take the test and all 100 people are gonna if if they pass will be eligible to be chosen. You -- at the top 20% could be overlooked. Because. There's a political person and with some political influence is something that's at the bottom list. The last person with the lowest court and he can be picked. And and they say that's could be the best candidate but in the same rule changes they allow two to almost mandatory. -- -- kill the list. To avoid going underneath of the 50%. So it doesn't make sense that you that the that the rules -- of conflict the conflict with the constitution. And not well thought out. Of from purposes of employee benefits they're very well thought out for the purposes of the team managers of the cities but it's. I want everyone to stay with -- were were talking with them. The head of the firefighters union and also Eric Kessler with panel. And we have Bob on the line who's going to be talking about his thoughts on the civil service proposed changes stay with us we'll be right back. Well the mayor is proposing some pretty radical changes to the civil service system. 34 changes in a program he calls. Great place to work initiative. Saying that our system is outdated that it needs to be refined. With us in studio was -- Felton who was head of the firefighters union and Eric Kessler with panel. I'd like to go to some of our callers Obama uptown. Thank you very much Angela and the two gentlemen on once they just a couple of things about talking. Agreement that we do extraordinary firefighters an extraordinary police officers everybody knows that. Those guys they'll list warriors. In. And in our city lineup. -- -- Having. There has to be something said about managerial flexibility. For the people who move people up in the ranks and give them greater importance in the jobs that they do. And I would think that all managers or not -- certainly most managers -- gonna make rational decisions about that. To the point about the political appointments down the line you can make a political point man in the take. On the three candidates under the system that we currently you don't step away from -- simply because -- limit it to three. Possible. Appointees I just think that. Debt they've rational manager under a system where everybody is well trained and well prepared and they as a certain level of trust. Can get it done without harming people by going crazy when. Political. Appointment -- that's one point. The second one is while we have great firefighters and police officers and others in City Hall for that matter. I can bet that that there media of the people listening in this. This broadcast right now. Have a story on some shortcomings in the performances in City -- that doesn't indict everybody. But it certainly says that if there's ways we can get improvements in this is just one of those ways that we certainly ought to -- ought to do that. And then finally well certainly mean no disrespect to the gentleman on the on the year we've viewed. The windows. That they have -- stage and the status quo. And well I'm not saying. As a pejorative manner but the fact is there. Situation -- if things remain as they are. The citizens won't have at least the opportunity. To have things improved if this new system is put in place. Well. Thank you Bob for you comments first -- -- you know. And let's get down to nitty gritty. You spoke -- Guantanamo managerial flexibility. And why oh I will tell you in no uncertain terms that manages all ready. The flexibility. They need to manage and supplies. Win you booked. These decisions for promotions. Solely in one person's hand. That gives you that interfering in meddling in now to you right now the two gentlemen. Dead or you police chief and you'll find achieve. Would not be in the positions and would then be in the places they now is chiefs had that happened to them. And thirdly and at one point that you would talk about flexibility. -- bullets you know like team on the fire service. Thirty years ago it. And -- acting more on the things will absolutely different. Opportunities. One as. Fluid as they should be in -- today. Now minorities or making and giving. Promotional opportunities. In all ranks in the fired more. And all of a sudden we need to change the rules. But I don't agree with -- And the shortcomings at City Hall. Even as a business zone even as a private sectors in poitier oil import. There on going to be shortcomings. And to comment in blend that into your third comment about that this gentleman over here like status quo. I can tell you I have Warrick to continually. Modernize a date and we have always supported those things -- -- helpful. We just believe that giving one person that now that authority. Is not in a democracy it isn't something that looks more like a Third World country. And Bobby said something you admitted that even with the current civil service system. Essentially the rule of three that it does allow politics to enter into. And Japan the promotional ability of of an individual and that's absolutely true. And and our fear is. That with out. The rules to prevent. The political influence. Then it the politics are going to be exacerbated. In ten full. And that's what the civil service is about keeping politics out of this system. So that's what were asking and that's all we're asking it can be it can be made better and need to be -- they've made better where the protections are still there and where are still legal. Everyone stay with this son Christopher and bill we have you on the line we'll get with you as soon as we finish our news report let's go to the newsroom now. Well we're talking about proposed changes to the civil service commission and I really appreciate Christopher you've been holding on your thoughts. I wanted to call and through -- might support for civil service reform. Culture and beliefs that our employees -- were here before Katrina were here now again after Katrina. Who think that things -- going well they are getting better on things are not. Great what a great place to work for the storm. Combo or watching to improvements happen in the city we're excited about it. But that -- -- -- through firing process here with the city analysts and some gentlemen who worked here. Who hadn't had training since the eighties on our own system. For some reason you restore the building -- given him any training since then and even come up against floating around the building for a couple years. I'm not sure what is -- But it actually he was released because he didn't have the proper. Education I guess it's something -- job I think the common practice it's. The sponsors and on for installed in the eighties and and they were also were removed early eighties so it would man been doing since that. -- most of -- reform there they'll be some type of -- A training program targets that are training opportunities for all the workers and the building to sort of and that's technology that's the city and that's the science. Will Christopher you know today's your lucky day because. Believe it and the guys that are here. The section five. Of the recommended proposed rule change for better training we apps -- who support. But I got to ask -- questions. How long have you lived and worked in the city rule. Born forward. Eventually -- -- our education. On the. That's our that's an up and and you stand in the comment I guess. Because I've been working for the cities like a severely -- years and to see it wasn't -- good place to worry before Katrina. And I'm just not be so offensive. You know I'm just so you know it was all it is always it's still a great place -- the. A great place to play -- city more than anything in the world and moved back here. From Washington DC after being despite their Katrina yeah I've actually working in the embassy in Afghanistan for about your itinerary. Doonesbury thing and New Orleans around the world. Who had to leave because opportunity and the city and later -- home they would not like it and saint. And not elaborate you do this you know things aren't there. Well I was suggesting you'd they have all problems out there about. Working in the city that belonged greatly in the private sector and also -- in the public sector. You write the processes avoid getting. Permanently etc. etc. can be very congresswoman just right next to a -- to be much easier but. I really do appreciate rectitude your comments and guess what a piece of that pie out there from Mediterranean we all about and we think. And and that brings up on another point I think you over the years is there anything recently. But I've heard about the concept of civil service is the same complaint I've heard about the concept of tenure. That it protects all the right things but it also protects the wrong. And is very difficult to let someone ago. And I'm just curious how you'll think. That could be better because we have all known people who may have people may have had high expectations and in for whatever reason it didn't work. But now they're there. And how does one say. Well. -- The civil service protections out of there. I certainly wouldn't say they're protecting individuals' right to have a job if -- -- poor performers free does something wrong he gives him a right to due process. It make sure that if that he's not fired unjustly that city. I can prove the allegations there's nothing wrong with that that's the way it should be. In the civil service system so you're not tired because you just don't fit in Korea not political enough for you you you. Pulled over. You know the mayor's son or something like that. That's what those protection to their four. Isle city and tell you I I defend police officers often. Some album. Do do things that are wrong and they should be punished and we have no problem with it as long as the punishment fits the the allegations. How would I'd say roughly 20% of I think being in the which. Statistics show that about 20% of the appeals are actually once said the city in civil service in fact I think the city would admit. That when it comes to displaying actions and when it comes determination to demotion to everything else they're very successful have proven their case I think they they win 80% of the time. So I think that's -- a red Herring and is in the situation. And you know and as well as you know we don't -- suggests that we protect someone who's doing. We stand for Palestinians training. Professionalism. And all these -- But the only thing we do say that it needs to be level handed in evenhanded about how you handle now. But Christopher was talking about there was a guy who couldn't work phone system -- it was -- quite sure. Within civil service there isn't yearly evaluation process. Where folks are to be evaluated. And we think those things if put in -- and continued in filed up now. You know would be a great tool to make things better but unfortunately. We have been reducing the number of employees in department to deploy and and we don't have the ability to follow up to take an employee and -- eagle helped me -- list in May need a little education. Maybe a little encouragement but has a good employee. And his work and really on governor work every day and make him a veteran poise and we all. Although there. Christopher I appreciate your call very much bill. That's it's like to -- are sure to come I'm Mexican American I'm an American and in America in a -- islander. And I have no worries about civil or perform at aunt and sort of impact the -- because the minor and I wanted to make that clear to everybody. Thank you again for the call. Bill on the causeway. A sport. Suggestion. I do I agree it's so that you'd be reform. I don't agree -- and reforms. I like it is just -- comment about doubles are a lot we really need -- doubles or bomb parts well if you -- back. It should be double blind you double blind and it shouldn't be subjective -- -- like when your locker. Sure for all that object and not object that whether it should be sports check that form like that -- That book but it steps other jobs that require physical fitness such all -- fire wire. Art -- expect blog as well. -- -- that part time and -- inquiry. Time in your particular occupation whether he had been in the war on. -- -- -- the -- that can double why would. So forum forming our object -- about subjects are. That's one thing but that. -- -- -- You or. Your City Council should. -- position that actually put that. That war powers. That be at their own political power grab one on political future. That. -- Would -- at city and that's what they're all future. And Chris that's. And I thank you for calling a lot. The first part what you said about that that objectivity. -- and subjectivity you know we certainly agree with him and this this reform. Goes in the opposite direction it it it puts subjectivity in the hands of -- of what they call the manages to make the decisions. But. You know what you just said conscience cents a share resemble a spine when you said if we elected government officials who who you know actually. Carried out their their job. I mean I don't know what you're feeling this but when the government comes to -- they said they got something that -- informing -- to make -- happiness and and it worked out really really well for me. I get I get. Pretty concerned. When they come to mean give me a point four page initiative. That explains what -- how good this is going to be forming and nobody agrees with that I did absolutely petrified and that's footers that's what's station needs these civil service employees -- Stay with us everyone not curry stay with this and keep will be right back. Talking about it changes to the civil service proposed by the mayor let's go to curry in New Orleans. To a particular call and I'm -- leadership jell -- -- -- remember organization. These forward or loans or coalition. On the -- -- during the report either for elections to the other plot swarm identifying and some of the critical issues to face our our future our our current state or city. I'm one of those was civil service that I'm looking -- that in order form. -- that the proposed a long way to achieving what sport in the world like to see in modern art in city government irons. Putting the Nazi government workers on a performance based culture are giving them opportunities -- -- -- and their careers as well. You know and others are obviously very pastor on both sides of the issue. But we really believe I'm looking at. The city government the model excellence and I think this kind of what you toward and being a leader in outgrow. And Saturday with a system that there. Has been -- it has been good enough. But I don't think we should be looking for good enough I think we should do -- are very. -- -- deported to kind of call him or support. Young leadership council. The young professional organization and city are sitting on that coalition with the -- look forward your own universe. We're we're hoping there's perhaps and that it does -- to get things for the city employees and managers. Science for -- obviously -- citizens. New world so again thank -- -- -- thank you wrote for perjury and like you. Thank you very much let's go to peace. I think it's key which -- with the committee for better or islands and we are also. Members of Ford's New Orleans coalition. -- we've actually been calling for civil service reform since we released our blueprint for a bit and -- back in 2001. And reject the argument against it seems to be feeling it will be bad for the employees equity government. We would not support it if we felt that with truth and we need to proposal. We think in fact it is increasingly. The opportunities. For employees to our concern really is an earned promotions. That the current system. Doesn't really -- -- -- system where is important place in 1956. And and think about that that's before we even had computers. So it's really had a date and you have this thing patches and -- that it's really time. For the systemic look at it. Com and all the stakeholders have to be considered the police are a key stakeholder. The city government first and foremost beer to serve the residents. And we also the current system enables the hard working people at City Hall to be put in the best position to do did you decide anything -- And I certainly appreciate that that those thoughts. And I and what I'm getting from really both sides and certainly the two men sitting across to me with the panel and the firefighters union. Is that they are not against reform but I think -- have felt left out. And perhaps having everybody at the table to look at those reforms. Under might not be this. You know us against them sort of thought -- Well I asked you right Angela not to excuse about it because she opened but -- You don't we absolutely see each and every time that we don't mind change we change on a daily basis. On a variety of things that we do but we must. Not allow the bias and that's what the back in 1956. As he was talking about and you know while we heard from the young leadership council we heard from a committee from the veteran warriors we heard from you though. Do the different business groups have also concern and genuinely concerned until you if we would fund the civil service the way we used funded. We would see a lot better in the employees here absolutely without Scioscia over the out of concern with that. -- Angeles last thing. You know everybody's fitness issue confused of it city government's job is to provide good service civil service -- job. Is to protect employees from political patronage. And -- the managers aren't doing enough. Doing enough managing to -- city employees to make city employees do their work. They should go to civil service. And have him demoted fired terminated our rep. OK let's take another break we'll be right back. Wanna thank everybody wanna think nick Felton and Eric Kessler and all of our callers I'm sorry chuck marrying Chris that. We up or out of town time. We're going to approach this again and next time they have a public hearing we will too and I hope to continue to call. Thank you very very much and again we're not over. This this on the subject will continue. We're now gonna -- however. To our. It's the 1000 dollar vacation cash contest the code word this hour is the last GL ISS. Text the code word the last. To seven to 81 that's 72881. For your chance to win 1000 dollars nationwide without ever putting down your phone. Your chance an easy 1000 dollar vacation cash is just one text to -- listen for the next code word for the top of the hour news at 5 PM. We never charge for -- but individual plan text and data rates apply good luck with Smart radio intercom and WW well.