On Tuesday (March 6th), I participated in a stakeholders meeting with the Governor’s office regarding personnel reform (HB 2571). I was joined by fellow law enforcement and fire associations, legislative liaisons, Representatives Justin Olson (sponsor of the bill) and Justin Pierce, Director Halliday and the Governor’s staff to discuss issues with the current state of the bill. Based on feedback from our members and detailed input from Dale Norris (AHPA’s attorney), AHPA presented many solutions and changes. Our discussion was productive, especially because stakeholders were able to address misconceptions. The discussions were frank and I continue to be optimistic that our efforts will be successful. When the bill is amended, AHPA will make sure to notify members. I think we are all impatient…
There is no doubt that a state employee personnel reform will pass into law this year. However, AHPA is standing strong with our membership, and our law enforcement partners, against the bill, and will not compromise our position. Our message has been clear – no personnel reform that changes due process for all DPS employees. Law enforcement should not be generalized with other state agencies. As a whole, the current Law Enforcement Merit System Council is not broken and its proposed elimination and replacement by a powerless personnel board will do nothing to protect any employee.
I encourage members to be active in our “We are DPS” educational campaign. It is important to have our voices heard. Letters for the legislature are already written for you, family and friends. Some additional points to mention when contacting your House or Senate members; for the other states that have moved to “at-will” for state employees, all have kept their state law enforcement employees under the same umbrella of merit protection (sworn and civilian).
Remember, the majority of delegates equate your job to the private sector. Collectively, it is our job to inform them about police work few are entrusted to perform.