During the 2021 interim, Rep. Christofferson created a work group which included representatives from DHRM, the State Auditor’s Office, the Governor’s Office, and UPEA. Over the course of the interim, UPEA staff met numerous times with all of the various stakeholders. In one of these meetings, Representative Christofferson stated his motivation for transitioning state employees to Schedule AX status is to “modernize the workforce” and eliminate poor performers that he believes agencies are unable to terminate. This comment spurred UPEA to create an internal task force to talk directly to members about what modernizing the state workforce looks like to them.
UPEA’S INTERNAL TASKFORCE
UPEA’s internal task force convened to discuss and research state employee career service status, performance management, compensation, and the grievance process. The UPEA task force outlined their meeting process and recommendations regarding the following items:
- Hiring and Promotion Process
- Performance Management
- Grievance Process and Corrective Action
Click here to review UPEA’s task force recommendations.
UPEA brought these findings to the stakeholder work group with the hopes of drafting a new, public employee friendly bill. Rep. Christofferson adopted many of the recommendations from the task force; however, he was not willing to remove the portion of the bill that transitioned supervisors to Schedule AX.
COMMUNICATION WITH THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE
The UPEA State Board of Directors expressed concerns about eliminating career service protections for supervisors. On September 15, 2021, the State Board sent a letter to Governor Cox asking for his position regarding at-will and career service employment. The letter to Governor Cox also stated, “These protections are in place to protect against political influence, safeguard fair hiring and termination practices, and preserve an employee’s ability to grieve an adverse job action.”
The governor’s office replied to the letter, stating that Governor Cox “understands that these discussions are central in the lives of many thousands of employees working on behalf of Team Utah and wants to communicate that our administration will continue to work alongside [UPEA] collaboratively and in good faith. We know that the work being done is helping to modernize our workforce and deliver a strong employee value proposition to our workforce. As this bill develops and the conversation continues, our senior representatives will carry forth the governor’s collaborative spirit, making sure to keep us apprised of developments continuously.” This response, and Governor Cox’s $6 million budget recommendation to incentivize supervisors opting into schedule AX, confirmed the administration’s intent to support H.B. 104.
SPONSOR MEETS WITH UPEA STATE BOARD
Rep. Christofferson and members of the workgroup offered to meet with the State Board. This meeting took place at the UPEA office on October 7, 2021. Rep. Christofferson stated he would like to run legislation for supervisors to have the option of moving from Schedule B (career service) to Schedule AX (at-will). The option would be a voluntary election for current supervisors – new supervisors would be hired solely as Schedule AX employees.
The UPEA board expressed concern on eroding the career service system and committed to continue working on the bill to protect due process rights. – check with Angie to see what the board decided.