News Manager

Cotter Proposal Would Make it Easier to Fire State Workers

House Speaker Kevin Cotter announced the introduction of a constitutional amendment that would make it easier to fire State employees.

The resolution, set to be introduced today, would make it easier for department directors to fire employees when their conduct “directly and negatively impacts the department’s ability to accomplish its statutory duties in a fair, timely, equitable and transparent manner. ”

If the proposal does not make it through the legislative process by the deadline to make it on the 2016 ballot, Mr. Cotter said it would be on the next general election ballot. He said he is not rushing the process to get it on the ballot this year, although a spokesperson said it is his first choice to get it finished sooner. 

A constitutional amendment needs a vote of two-thirds majority of the House, and would need 73 yes votes for approval, meaning Mr. Cotter would need at least 10 Democrats to support the proposal, assuming all 63 Republicans vote yes.

Mr. Cotter said he does not plan on participating in any “horse trading” to get the Democratic votes needed, for example making a deal on Detroit Public Schools. But said he crafted the proposal in the hopes that it was narrowly tailored enough to get Democratic votes. Based on the immediate reaction from the Michigan Democratic Party, which cast the proposal as an attempt to scapegoat state workers for the Flint water crisis, that appears unlikely.

A bill introduced with the resolution would provide for a speedy appeals process for employees being punished. The changes would allow for employees being disciplined to be suspended without pay longer than current law allows.

Mr. Cotter and Rep. Dan Lauwers (R-Brockway), who sponsored the House bill, said the package is not a response to the Flint water crisis and contended they had been working on the issue for some time.

MAGE Will be fighting this travesty of legislation.