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February 17, 2011 / jimnv

Ending Seniority Consideration During Layoffs

SB 169 proposed by Republican senators Hardy, Gustavson and Roberson would prohibit giving preference to workers with more years of seniority when determining layoffs. The bill affects local and state employees. For state employees, it modifies NRS 283.80 by adding this language:

An appointing authority may not assign greater weight to the seniority of employees than to the service rating of  employees when determining the order of layoffs.

This is simply a cost cutting measure to more easily lay-off higher paid senior employees and replace them with younger, inexperienced and lower paid ones. This idea goes back to Governor Guinn who stated early on in his first term that he would rather to lay-off  or fire senior state employees because they cost too much.  Heartless? Yeah, but he couldn’t do it because the law prevented him from doing so. Now, that might change.

Agency efficiency will suffer if this bill passes because institutional memory will be lost. For too many, it’s just about the immediate “bottom-line” and they do not think of the long-term consequences to state programs.

I suspect many senior state employees will simply retire this year, magnifying the problem of government continuity and efficiency.

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6 Comments

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  1. Lawrence Cassidy / Feb 19 2011 10:26 am

    Though I am no longer a State of Nevada employee, I am writing to every representative in Carson City to ask them to vote against this bill. I recommend that all senior employees do the same. Hopefully, the representatives in Carson City will recognize that this proposed bill serves no useful purpose; and is not only unnecessary, but also unfair to older and senior citizen state employees, who cannot recapture their youth or the years they have invested in their jobs, and who will find it even more difficult to find a replacement job than a younger person. For those senior employees who are nearing retirement, but short just a little bit of time, like Cheryl, I recommend buying the retirement time that you need, if financially possible, so that you are not forced to collect a reduced benefit.

  2. Cheryl / Feb 18 2011 8:25 pm

    I just heard this today. This will affect me big-time. My position is being elimated and I will be one day shy of 25 years which means I would have to take a 25% pay cut in retirement if I chose to retire. Can’t bump, so will have to go on the layoff list. If this bill goes through, the seniority I’ve built up after 25 years will mean nothing. Talk about getting screwed. Thanks state of Nevada!

    • jimnv / Feb 18 2011 9:36 pm

      I am so sorry to hear about this.
      Hopefully sane minds will prevail during this session and no layoffs will occur.

  3. Lawrence Cassidy / Feb 18 2011 9:39 am

    Unfortunately, what you say is true. The proposed bill is simply a cost cutting measure to get rid of higher paid senior employees and retain lower paid junior employees.

    I do not believe that the proposed bill has anything to do with being able to layoff senior employees who fail to meet performance standards or have deficient service ratings, since such employees would be terminated ultimately anyway if their work performance did not meet departmental standards. The only possible exception to this would be in law enforcement and firefighting. Unfortunately, the older a law enforcement officer or a firefighter gets, the harder it is for him to keep with his younger counterparts. However, senior law enforcement officers are significantly less likely to incur civil liability lawsuits, because of their experience and overall knowledge of the complex laws governing law enforcement activities. Sadly, Nevada repealed the law which allowed state law enforcement officers and firefighters the ability to retire after 25 years of service.

    Another drawback to this proposed bill is that favoritism in the workplace inarguably influences performance evaluations. If a deficient or mediocre employee is the fishing, hunting, or barbecuing buddy of his immediate supervisor or someone else higher up in the food chain, he is likely to receive a higher performance evaluation than he deserves. Thus, when it came time to layoff employees, it is possible that a deficient or mediocre employee would be unfairly retained over a more productive employee, who was given a lower rating in his work performance than the supervisor’s buddy for the sole reason that he did not socialize with his supervisors on his time off. Under this proposed bill, senior employees would not be protected by seniority rights, and the influence of favoritism in the workplace would proliferate and become more of a problem than it already is. Again, as you pointed out, ultimately agency efficiency would suffer, and so would Nevada taxpayers.

    • jimnv / Feb 18 2011 10:09 am

      You are right on all counts.

      The governor drives hiring and firing through his political appointments. The people he appoints tell their subordinates what to do. It keeps the governor’s hands clean.

      Ultimately “they” want to get rid of most protections afforded to classified employees, essentially making them unclassified so they can be fired at will.

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  1. State Employee Layoff Bill « Nevada State Employee Focus

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