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One man’s take on why Civil Service is a good thing

March 29, 2013

Here’s this guy’s side of the story. I’ll tell it as well as I remember it and if someone provides greater clarity in the future, I’ll gladly publish it.

Some of you may know that this city has had a string of Police Chiefs which has been a recipe for what NOT to do with police departments.  I’ll not develop that further except to say that fairly recently, a Chief of Police was let go because the City Council received a unanimous declaration by officers that they had no confidence in the leadership of that chief. That’s a pretty dismal state of affairs.

With that as some context, this person stated that when Civil Service had been put in, it was in response to concerns of officers over some poor choices that had been made by the Chief of Police at the time.  Arbitrary punishments were doled out and officers had no ability to appeal these decisions and were almost entirely at the whim of the Police Chief.

I’m not unsympathetic to these kinds of pleas.  I’ve had employment situations that were similar and I was thrilled to death when arrangements were made whereby I parted ways with the company.  In fact, as much as I hate unions, I hated the management of this company even more and would have voted for a union just out of sheer spite and hatred and anger.

As I understand it, most of our police officers are not residents of Watauga.  There are some reasons for that that I wouldn’t be willing to argue with, so let’s just take that for what it’s worth.  That means that the officers themselves don’t get to take the heat for the implementation of Civil Service, that would have to fall on the “friends” of the police department who waited until an especially low turnout which required very little in terms of signatures (around 50 if I recall) and then collected those signatures placed the issue on the ballot.

That means that ultimately, the residents of Watauga would have been the ones to have approved or disproved the initiative.  I would say that these residents probably thought that they were supporting their police department, I doubt very much that they were fully aware of the costs of these protections.  I also doubt that they were informed about the staggering levels of red tape that they would be imposing on their system, or that they were transferring almost all control of their police department to Austin.

While I was appreciative of the explanation for the support of Civil Service, the explanation failed to address the single biggest question that I’ve been asking and that is:  what value does Joe Taxpayer receive for the stunning levels of red tape, the transfer of control to Austin and the exorbitant cost associated with the program.  I have yet to see a single benefit to the existing system.

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