Props 10 and 11: Wider Civil Service Job Protection
By Era Sundar
Austinites will vote on proposed amendments to the city charter in the November election, and KUT News will take a closer look at each of the charter propositions. Proposition 10 and the related Proposition 11 would affect Austin’s city employees.
If passed, propositions 10 and 11 would give city workers more labor protections.
Proposition 10 would establish a Civil Service Commission to rule on employment disputes, such as promotions, terminations and disciplinary actions. It would also require “just cause” before a public employee could be fired. This proposition would grant many of the civil-service employment protections that police officers and firefighters have to other employees.
The city says that Proposition 10 will cost taxpayers more than $2 million over the next five years, for staffing and technology to support the new commission. But Greg Powell with Local 1624 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents city workers, disputes the cost estimate.
“We’ve argued that there’s no additional costs, really, that are associated with creating this, in that there’s already personnel at the city of Austin that process these grievances,” Powell said. “So instead of referring the grievance over to the hearings officer, they would be referred to the Civil Service Commission.”
Proposition 11 adds Emergency Management Service employees to the civil service system with the same protection as police and firefighters.