Duluth DFL Exec. Board Condemns Vote by DFL-Endorsed Duluth City Councilors

By KBJR News 1

March 21, 2012 Updated Mar 21, 2012 at 9:43 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - The Duluth DFL Executive Board is condemning a vote by the Duluth City Council approving a City Code change meant to streamline the City's hiring process.

The Board says the vote removed one of the most important protections Duluth citizens have against corruption and favoritism in local government.

The board believes the new hiring process gives the mayor too much authority.

The Civil Service Code changes are meant to quicken the hiring process by not having to bring each step back to the Civil Service Board for review, but the Duluth DFL Executive Board believes that same Civil Service Board is critical in guaranteeing fair employment practices in hiring and promotion.

It believes because the Civil Service Board is not appointed by the Mayor it serves as a "check and balance" on hiring.

Several union leaders had spoken out against the new hiring process ahead of the council vote saying it's not as transparent and power in hiring could be abused.

The Duluth DFL Executive Board wants city council members to reconsider their action.

"It opens up the system to, irregardless of who is filling the different jobs in the system to cronyism, favoritism and a less transparent process when there are fewer checks and balances in the system," said Debra Taylor, the Duluth DFL Executive Board secretary.

The President of the Duluth City Council Dan Hartman said last Monday's vote was a tough one for many councilors, and an amendment by Councilor Emily Larson had given the Civil Service Board back some power.

Hartman believes what was approved is not the final reform.

The same night the City Council had also unanimously approved a resolution to form a working group to continue addressing hiring reforms and process changes, so residents could see changes to the approved new hiring process as soon as this summer.

The Duluth DFL Executive Board secretary stressed they are not against the individuals who voted for the measure or current administration, just the actions that were taken.

Posted to Web by Jena Pike