Labor Leaders Angry Over Proposed Civil Service Changes

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — City union leaders are up in arms over Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s campaign to change the state’s century-old civil service system.

A task force appointed by Bloomberg concluded that civil service examinations should not be required in the hiring of senior managers and IT specialists, saying the tests precluded the flexibility to hire the best people for the job.

In addition, the task force recommended changes to seniority rules, which some labor leaders charged would make it easier to hire and fire.

Harry Nespoli, chairman of the Municipal Labor Committee, called the proposed changes “very dangerous.”

“The system was set up to protect the worker and get a fair shake. And that’s what the civil service system does right now. The latest version of civil service reforms that they’re showing in the report destroys it,” he told 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports

The current system has been in place for more than 120 years. Bloomberg would need the state legislature’s approval to change the law.

Nespoli said he believed that the changes would lead to favoritism in hiring and would encourage the city to lay off higher paid senior workers and keep lower paid newer workers.

“It’ll give them the ability to pick who they want to get the job or not,” Nespoli said. “That’s not why civil service was set up. It was based on merit.”

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