For more than four decades Colorado has had the same personnel system, which outlines how people are hired for state jobs. This system is outdated, and even Gov. John Hickenlooper has spoken out against it.
Amendment S, which is on the ballot for this November, is a legislatively-referred amendment to the Colorado constitution that would change this process.
It’s true that Colorado’s personnel system needs to be changed for the 21st century, but Amendment S is not the best way to do this. The Collegian encourages a no vote on Amendment S, because it would exempt 25 positions that are now merit based, it would give unnecessary power to the governor and make it so people would be getting hired because of their political connections.
This amendment would allow governors to exempt 25 positions that are now merit-based and make them politically appointed. It also gives the governor the power to remove or appoint two members on the five-member State Personnel Board.
The Collegian doesn’t support the removal of merit-based positions, especially to make them politically appointed. That means these jobs are being filled with people who play golf with the governor instead of those who have the skills. Additionally, it allows governors to fill up to 325 jobs with what are called political appointees.
Overall, with this amendment the governor gains too much power over the state personnel process. It’s no wonder Hickenlooper and two former Colorado governors support Amendment S.
The state’s personnel process must be updated, but it must be done in a way that doesn’t give the governor unnecessary power and removes merit-based positions.
There are a few positives to Amendment S, like how it gives preferences to veterans for hiring, and allows temporary workers to return a second year. The problem is that these are packaged in an amendment that gives unjust power to our governor and should be included into another amendment in the future.