Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tea Party Senate approves Brewer's Jobs Plan

Will turn the people's government into giant political crony system

Sen. Schapira
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX - Arizona's Tea Party Senate today gave its stamp of approval to Governor Brewer's cronyism plan.

HB2571, being sold as “personnel reform,” is another ALEC-inspired power grab by the governor in which she would claim the right to hire and fire the vast majority of upper management in state agencies. It would also remove state workers’ rights to appeal discipline and firing, which would only serve as cover for managerial incompetence and misconduct, effectively muzzling whistleblowers.

Our country has a long history in the struggle against patronage and cronyism, cleaning up corrupt systems from Mayor Daly’s Chicago, to Tammany Hall in New York City and even in Phoenix. Barry Goldwater was a reform-minded Phoenix city councilman who helped the city adopt a charter form of government to clean up our own version of Tammany Hall.

This is also another blatant Republican attack on working families in our state. Thousands of public servants will find their employment status destabilized, subject to the agenda of their politically-influenced managers and able to be fired without cause and without the right of appeal.

While many Arizonans are struggling to find work in a state that still has an 8.6% unemployment rate, some may actually find new opportunities with today’s passage of HB2571. That is, they’ll find opportunities if they’ve contributed significantly to Governor Brewer’s campaign or political action committee, have worked for Republican campaigns, or are current or former staffers or consultants.

We've already seen Brewer put this jobs plan into practice with her appointments this session of:
  • Conservative blogger Greg Patterson to the Board of Regents
  • Former Brewer spokesperson and private prison lobbyist Paul Senseman to the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments
  • His wife Kathryn Senseman, also a lobbyist for private prisons, to the Board for Charter Schools
  • Former Brewer staffer and Chuck Coughlin employee Brian McNeil to the Commission on Trial Court Appointments for Maricopa County
  • Russell Pearce campaign chairman Jesse Hernandez to the Board of Executive Clemency
  • Former Symington staffer Jay Heiler to the Board of Regents
"Under the guise of 'personnel reform,' Governor Brewer and her Tea Party legislators are turning our state government into one giant jobs program for conservative activists and making state workers answerable to the governor instead of the public," said Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira.

"This will push out dedicated, professional public servants who are experts in their field and replace them with opportunistic political cronies. The amount of institutional knowledge that will be forced out the door under this system will be devastating to our state agencies and the people of Arizona who they serve."

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