Letter: Don’t remove due process for our state workers


Re: Rep. Dan Lauwers’ May 19 column “End unfair protections for state bureaucrats”: These bills are another attempt to cast blame for what happened to the residents of Flint without looking at the entire picture.

I agree that workers who don’t do their job deserve to be let go, no matter if they’re in the private or public sector. It’s simple business. Thankfully, Michigan’s century-old civil service law already allows for that. In fact, more than 300 state workers were fired last year. However, the civil service law requires due cause before termination, assuring low-level workers that they won’t be blamed for bad decisions made by superiors.

Republicans in the Michigan House of Representatives demand that public employees be stripped of their due process. In short, they could be presumed guilty from the start and easily scapegoated for problems that might not be their fault.

Republicans use the Flint water crisis as the example for this new policy being pushed in Lansing. They want you to believe it was the low-level state workers that caused the poisoning of an entire city. This ignores the well-documented fact that the emergency manager made the unilateral decision to switch Flint’s water source to the Flint River without protecting the water from lead pipes.

Public workers in the crosshairs of House Republicans often work for far less than they could make in the private sector, and they do it with pride because they are dedicated to working for the people of Michigan. Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Snyder’s appointees make upward of $180,000 a year, and are shielded from this spotlight of blame.

How can low-level public servant employees be held accountable while the governor’s political appointees are free and clear? They continue to proclaim their innocence when they are responsible for the climate and final decisions made in each state department.

Instead of removing due process for our state workers, we should work to reform the emergency manager law, so that one person doesn’t have singular control to make these disastrous decisions.

Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing