Governor’s veto likely to cause Republican division over civil service reform.


  

If legislative leaders attempt to override the veto of Republican Gov. Phil Bryant on at least one piece of legislation, he will have the backing of an unusual group – legislative Democrats.

Earlier this month, the governor vetoed a bill to take the state Department of Education out from under the regulations of the Mississippi Personnel Board.

The effort to remove Personnel Board protection, or civil service protection, for state workers has been an ongoing battle for more than a decade in the Mississippi Legislature.

Republicans have sought to remove the civil service protection for at least a brief period to provide agencies the opportunity “to right size,” which they say is difficult to do under burdensome Personnel Board regulations.

Democrats have countered that civil service protection is crucial to prevent politicians, for instance, from firing employees without good cause and replacing them with their supporters. Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, has long argued that the governing body of the Personnel Board is composed of people appointed by Republican governors. So, if it is difficult for agencies to reorganize and to fire bad employees, then those Republican appointees have the authority to ease the regulations or at least come to the Legislature to ask for changes in law to make it easier to make changes within the guidelines of the Personnel Board.

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