Governor Jan Brewer is championing the change. She said the current system, which gives state employees the right to appeal any move to discipline or fire them makes it too cumbersome to get rid of bad workers. But the governor also said scrapping the merit protections will allow supervisors to reward the best employees without having to worry about running afoul of rules which require everyone doing the same kind of job be similarly compensated. Democratic Representative Ruben Gallego of Phoenix said he saw the other side of such a system while growing up.
"I know for a fact, growing up, if you wanted to get a job with the city of Chicago you had to have worked on a campaign, you had to have donated to a campaign or know somebody that was in power in that campaign," he recalled.
But Republican Representative Justin Olson of Mesa, who carried the legislation for the governor, said such worries are unwarranted. He said several other states have scrapped their merit protection rules without indications of cronyism. And Olson said this just puts state employment in line with what already exists in most private companies. Wednesday's 39-19 party-line vote sends the measure to the Senate.