Statehouse parking cashiers latest budget victims

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According to today’s Gongwer Report (subscription required), a little noticed provision in the recently passed budget was to make all of the employees of the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board (CSRAB) unclassified. This means that the 30 employees that take care of the Statehouse and its grounds and parking facility are no longer in the civil service or protected by a union, and can now be fired at will and replaced by political hacks. (politicians love unclassified positions because they can fill them with their friends without having to go through silly hiring protocols that require showing someone is the best qualified candidate for a job).

According to Board Chair Dick Finan, he didn’t get one word of complaint, so in his words, “everyone is happy”. Let’s be honest. This guy’s the board chair. He shows up every month for board meetings and doesn’t talk to the guys that fix the furniture or operate the parking garage. Would YOU be happy if you were suddenly very vulnerable to firing and didn’t have the benefit of a union to fight to protect your benefits of employment?

On a related note, today the board also announced that it was replacing the garage entry and exit equipment with a system that is fully automated and requires no cashiers. They say it could save $120,000 in “staff costs” (Gongwer), but then explained that no one would lose their jobs, but instead would be “moved elsewhere”.  I’m unclear – how do you save $120,000 a year in staff costs without reducing staff? Sounds like 3-4 people are probably going to be losing their jobs. How convenient, then, that they are all now unclassified staff.

Think none of this matters to you? Statehouse types will be disappointed to learn that the fancy new automated parking machines mean they can now charge you the full amount instead of the flat $4 charge when you leave the garage after hours.

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