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Report: Walker administration beginning to change civil service system

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - There's a report that the Walker administration is in the early stages of streamlining the hiring process for civil service employees in state government.

That's the nearly 110-year-old system which assures that qualified people work in most state jobs, without regard to political connections.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said it was told multiple times by administration officials that they're not looking to change the civil service system -- but the newspaper said it obtained records of early talks toward that end.

Four top officials told the paper they don't intend to change the basic civil service concept of hiring people on merit instead of political favors. But Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch said the state needs to respond more quickly to fill a growing number of posts vacated by an older workforce with impending retirements.

Some critics are skeptical, especially after the GOP's Act 10 law virtually eliminated most public union bargaining.

Marty Beil, head of the state's largest employees union, said he wondered why the civil service talks are so quiet -- and why the administration is not working with Employment Relations agency which handles the program.

Beil says the talks appear more "politically motivated than functionally motivated."

The Journal Sentinel says other states are changing their civil service systems like Arizona, Tennessee, and Colorado.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)