The Senate and Assembly both passed a bill introduced by Assemblymember Nora Campos which would add a provision to the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act affording recognized employee organizations input in the composition of personnel commissions. AB 455 provides that where personnel commissions or merit commissions are established to administer personnel rules or the merit system, an employee organization may nominate half the commissioners. The governing body of the agency shall appoint the commissioners nominated by the employee organization as well as the other half of the commissioners that the agency has selected. The commission members then select an additional member as a chairman. The bill also states when there are multiple bargaining units represented by different recognized employee organizations, the organization which represents the largest number of employees will be the organization who nominates the commission members.
This legislation is opposed by labor law firms representing public agencies because it is considered an impediment to their agenda of eliminating promotional rules requiring a testing process and hiring from a list, as well as eliminating seniority based layoffs and bumping rights. Some agencies and their advocates seek to eliminate civil service protections to allow local government bureaucrats to make hiring, promotional and layoff decisions at their whim. California’s civil service systems were created to eliminate patronage and corruption in public employment. This law would provide an equitable balance and transparency to the commissions that have broad discretion in determining hiring and promotional process, disciplinary procedures, and other personnel guidelines. This legislation will enhance public confidence in government by guaranteeing the impartiality and independence of the commissions and the rules they administer.
AB 455 was enrolled on July 6, 2011 and as of now is waiting to be signed by the Governor.