Box-We are DPSToday, an amendment was offered to HB2571 as the bill was submitted to the House Committee of the Whole. The main changes within the amendment are as follows:

  1. LEMSC would remain in statute and covering only sworn employees at DPS.
  2. LEMSC authority would be altered. To quote the updated information posted on the DPS Intranet on 3/12, “The council shall affirm the agency’s decision unless the decision was arbitrary and capricious. If the council finds the decision arbitrary and capricious or the agency has not proven by a preponderance of the evidence the facts, the council may recommend the agency modify the disciplinary action; the agency head shall make the final decision.”

Having confirmed these proposed changes yesterday, Kelsey and I have met with both Representatives Olsen (sponsor) and Pierce to make further points of contention with the amendment.

Wile the amendment is a significant change from the original bill, however it still falls short of our goal.  As a result, we will continue to pursue changes that leave LEMSC covering all DPS employees and without turning over ultimate authority of appeals

The following message was sent to Scott Smith and Representatives Olsen and Pierce last night, addressing our issues with the amendment:

I noticed the agency published an update to personnel reform yesterday on their internal server. In looking at the information, I was happy to see the reinstatement of the LEMSC, however, the proposed amendment still moved civilian DPS employees into the state personnel system.

With regards to that issue, what AHPA will ask that your office consider what other states have done with their respective state police employees. I reference the states that your office uses as example of a move to at-will employment for state employees: Georgia, Florida, Indiana and Texas. In contacting each of those respective state police agencies, AHPA has learned that they have all kept the entire agency, sworn and civilian, under the “cover” of a single personnel system. Simply put, we are asking for no more that what has been done elsewhere.

I also noticed the proposed amendment would alter the authority of LEMSC with regards to appeals. To quote the updated FOUR CORNERSTONES OF REFORM fact sheet, “The council shall affirm the agency’s decision unless the decision was arbitrary and capricious. If the council finds the decision arbitrary and capricious or the agency has not proven by a preponderance of the evidence the facts, the council may recommend the agency modify the disciplinary action; the agency head shall make the final decision.” There are two points that need to be considered regarding this proposed change:

1. Employees are already guaranteed a certain due process procedure. Taking this away would violate the 5th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution. I point to the changes made to ASRS employee contribution rates during the last legislative session that were reversed in a recent court decision where the judge articulated that the employee/employer contract was violated, and as such, violated those employees’ Constitutional rights.

2. Having the Director’s decision may violate due process, which requires the “fair-minded and impartial decision maker”. (see Deuel v. Ariz. School for the Deaf and Blind, 165 Ariz. 524, 527; 799 P.2nd 865, 868 (App. 1990)). If the Director shall make the final decision, how is that fair and impartial?

All of you need to continue with dialogue with your legislators and make them answer the question “why change something that is not broken?” Please feel free to use the points I raised in my email to Scott Smith.

The bill, as amended, has now passed out of the House and moved to the Senate. Kelsey and I will be meeting with Senate members to make our points of opposition.  The push will continue.

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