Governor Signs Civil Service Overhaul Bill

AP

NASHVILLE (AP) – Gov. Bill Haslam on Tuesday signed his plan to overhaul state civil service rules that make it easier for executive branch employees to be hired and fired, and allow merit raises for high-performing workers and pay decreases for poor ones.

The Republican governor put his name to the legislation in a ceremony across from the state Capitol. He was joined by state employees, legislators and members of his cabinet.

The bill will also require written performance standards and annual evaluations, set a minimum of three candidates to be interviewed for openings, and reduce the minimum layoff notice from three months to 30 days.

Veterans and their spouses will also receive preference if there are two candidates with equal qualifications and one is a veteran.

Haslam said the legislation is necessary because over the next five years nearly 40 percent of state employees will be eligible for retirement.

"In facing this challenge, it is our responsibility to build a top notch workforce for the future," said Haslam, who lauded the team effort among state employees and lawmakers in making the legislation possible.

"I think we started with some things we thought were really important, but in the process there were a lot of voices that added to it and made the bill one that could pass and will work well when implemented," he said.

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