Kansas Lawmakers Criticize Changes To State Worker Rules

Sep 7, 2016

Some Kansas lawmakers are criticizing new state worker regulations proposed by Gov. Sam Brownback. His administration wants to change how state agencies determine who gets laid off first.

The proposal would also give agencies discretion to protect certain employees. But critics say these changes would reduce the value of experience and make layoffs more subjective. Democratic state Rep. Jim Ward calls the changes an attack on state employees.

“I don’t see one thing that you’ve proposed here that I can point to and say that’s worker friendly, that’s state employee friendly,” Ward says.

Kraig Knowlton, with the Department of Administration, says the changes will allow agencies to hire the most qualified people and keep their best workers on the job during layoffs. But Knowlton says he’s not aware of any plans for significant layoffs.

“Layoffs have always and will always be out there," he says. "They’re not something that an agency is going to immediately jump to because the work still has to get done."

A public comment hearing on the proposal is scheduled for Sept. 27.