Memorial Heights Association

Vote No on Measure GG

Posted in: Long Beach CA

Here is something you may find interesting....


The City of Long Beach may soon become another City of Bell.  Currently, there is Measure GG that is strictly another attempt for City Management to undo the City's merit system.  Unfortunately, Long Beach has a strong Mayor (too strong!).  A couple of years ago, some key members of City Management won the Mayor's ear. The fight began...let's take down Civil Service - no matter what the cost.


Some of the arguments that they are using are unfounded but who with first hand knowledge can debate without suffering undue consequences. 


Measure GG will strip the Civil Service Commission of all its ability to provide oversight to the City's current hiring system.  The Civil Service Commission is currently made up five residents in the City. Measure GG will transfer the powers from the residents to the hands of City Management.  Much of the hiring processes of the City's workforce is overseen by the Commission.  This has posed a problem to many departments in the City, as they are not privileged to hire whom they want and when they want OUTSIDE of the Merit System.  Some of their arguments are that Civil Service is too slow and they take too long to hire, there is a duplication of services, and that Long Beach is the only agency that has both a Civil Service (CS) and Human Resources (HR) Department.


First, addressing that Civil Service is too slow; that is not really so.  Every year, the Civil Service Department has to provide statistics to show how long it takes to run an exam from the moment the requisition is submitted to the CS Dept.  Statistics show that CS is right in tune with industry-wide standards.  What take so long are the hiring departments.  Once an eligible list is established, the Departments are given the eligible list.  There lies the problem...If who they want is not high enough on the eligible list, the departments will sit on the list, hoping that the candidates on the higher bands will run away...which usually happens.  Then eventually, they will be able to hire their choice, which is deemed qualified, but behind those that may have been more qualified - merit wise. Usually the person of choice is someone they have already picked prior to the recruitment process.


Second, there is a duplication of services; again, that's not really so either.  True, CS and HR tend to maintain duplicate records, however; depending on the nature of the paperwork, the same records may be kept in the employees department, City Attorney's Office, City Prosecutor, and/or the Health Department. The fact is, if there is documentation of such a critical, sensitive, confidential and/or of political nature, it's kept everywhere.  Absolutely NOT, does the Human Resources Department, who’s under the City Manager, serves as a watchdog for itself.  It's the CS Department duty’s to assure that integrity, fairness and impartiality remain in tact.  The Human Resources has the inability to do that as they serve under the City Manager.


Lastly, the claims that Long Beach is the only agency that has a both a Civil Service and Human Resources Department is totally FALSE. I'm shocked that false facts were allowed to go on official ballot documentation, even after attention was brought to it.  In fact, the Cities of San Diego, San Bernardino and most of the School Districts have both CS and HR systems.  What’s the common thread - they are large agencies.


In the case of Long Beach, the city is too diverse not to have a checks and balance system in place when it comes to the hiring processes.  The City currently has a great workforce that closely matches the diversity of its citizens.  This will soon change if Measure GG passes.  Long Beach has come a long way since the 70’s, and will take several steps backwards if this Measure passes.


How will Long Beach become City of Bell?  Well think about it.  If City Management becomes so privileged to control the hiring system as they choose, you will soon begin to see new classifications emerge tied to erroneous undeserved salaries that can only exist if Measure GG passes.  The current Merit system serves as a watchdog that disallows practice to occur.


Other falsehoods:


As far as a cost savings of $400,000 – that was a number captured from mid air.  Since it cost the City $380,000 to place the measure on the ballot, $400,000 seemed to be a good solid number to suggest as a savings. 


There is also a hidden message in Measure GG.  It’s being thrown out there that “the Civil Service Rules” will main in tact.  That’s not true.  The rules will accumulate “dust” and “spider webs”. What is true is that the Civil Service will only have authority over employee hearings and suspensions.  In other words, they will simply be “hearing officers”.  They will not have jurisdiction or ability to enforce any sort of rules. Their role will be strictly to hear cases brought to them. Who will decide what cases go to them? It will be City Management.  Don’t forget the conflict of interest that will exist: the authority that will pose disciplinary actions would be the same authority to preside over the Commissioners/hearing officers. The life employees once knew will soon be a thing of the past. 


Now that you have read the truth, vote No on Measure GG.


Thank you.

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