Hickenlooper’s changes for state workers complete

DENVER — Colorado has completed its biggest revisions in four decades to how state employees are paid, hired and fired.

Gov. John Hickenlooper announced Tuesday that he certified the voter-approved reforms first suggested by his office almost a year ago. The changes include revised pay standards to be more like the private sector.

The voter-approved amendment also makes big changes to the so-called “bumping” rule, in which senior employees could “bump” newer hires if they’re laid off. The rule is eliminated for most employees, but not those within five years of retirement.

The changes required voter approval because Colorado is one of five states with employee protections in the state constitution. The personnel changes were favored by members of both parties and didn’t spark opposition from the largest union of state employees.

Hickenlooper also certified a voter-approved measure to encourage Colorado’s congressional delegation to support a U.S. constitutional amendment to limit campaign contributions and spending. That measure has no effect of law but is more a public statement about campaign finance law. The campaign-finance measure passed nearly 3-to-1.

Hickenlooper issued his proclamation on the best-known ballot measure, recreational marijuana legalization, three weeks ago. The governor has no veto power over voter-enacted amendments to the constitution, but his final executive order makes the changes complete.

The personnel changes include shorter term limits on the state personnel board, a change that would give the governor’s office more control over the board.

The largest state employee union did not oppose the bill because some of the updates were favored by workers. Those changes include first-ever severance pay for laid-off state workers and revisions to a panned “pay for performance” pay scale adopted more a decade ago. State employees complained they were never given raises even after stellar reviews.

That system is to be replaced with a “merit pay” scheme that state workers say would put them more in line with private-sector colleagues.


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