A Nerd Girl's Perspective

My Thoughts on News, Politics, Food, Crafting, Geek Culture, Sociology, and Much More —— Courtney C Horne

Tag: free speech

Narrowing the Pool- A Possible Consequence of Restrictions

I wanted to write a little about the possible consequences for the labor pool that come as a result of restricting the political activities of state workers. Undoubtedly this restriction will prevent some people from applying for civil service jobs or cause them to leave those jobs.

I came up with a hypothetical to explain how a restriction impacts the states ability to hire workers. There will be some numbers but I promise no brain hurting ones.

Imagine the state needs to hire 300 people. There are 1000 possible workers in their pool of candidates.

In any group of candidates, some will be terrible, some average, some great. For the sake of this example, in a normal group 15% of candidates are great, 15% terrible and 70% average. That means there are 150 great people for the jobs, 700 average ones, and 150 who would be terrible. So in hiring 300 workers from that 1000 the state gets to pick 150 great people and the top 150 average people.

Now imagine that 5% of people are unwilling to apply for or to remain in civil service jobs partly because of the restrictions on their political activity. Because of this, your total number in your pool drops down to 950. Of those 50 people you lost, on average in this situation 7 of them would have been great workers. Suddenly the state gets to pick 143 great workers and 157 average ones. Sure you lost 7 terrible workers as well, but they were not going to be picked regardless.

These 7 great workers you lost and replaced with average ones? One of those could have been an accountant who would have caught a mistake that ended up costing the state money. One of them could have been a child welfare worker who gets better than average outcomes on their cases. Driving away a percent of workers will inevitably drive away some workers who could have been a great asset to the state.



A Closer Look

After reading other states policies, crafting a petition on change.org, arguing on facebook a little, and tweeting links at various people more followed than I am on twitter, I decided I wanted to write a closer look at the list of things Louisiana says certain state workers can not do. The list I am using is from the Louisiana Dept of State Civil Service website. 

It applies to all classified state employees and they explain on the website that “The Louisiana State Constitution defines the classified service as all employees of state agencies, except those specifically listed in Article X, Part 1, Section 2(B).  There is also a provision authorizing the State Civil Service Commission to add positions to the unclassified service.  The last provision of that section states: “additional positions may be added to the unclassified service and those positions may be revoked by rules adopted by a commission.” 

That is a bit unclear so I looked at the job listings on their site. They list around 380 positions and around 60 of those are listed as unclassified. For those other 320 jobs, people have a very real concern when they look at that job listing as to how it will effect their freedom to express their beliefs.

Now to the list..

(and a bonus chart link of all states policies on this)

Read the rest of this entry »

Free Speech? Not if you work for Louisiana

I was poking around a job search site and noticing that the state of Louisiana is hiring a lot of people. I ended up on their website and came across this list..

Classified employees shall NOT do the following:

Become a candidate for nomination or election to public office.

Become a member of any committee of a political party or faction.

Make or solicit contributions for any candidate or political party or faction.

Take an active part in the management of the affairs of a political party, faction or campaign

Attend any fund raising function of a candidate or political party or faction even if someone gives you a free ticket. A function will be considered a fundraiser if it is advertised that anything – including food – will be sold at the function – even if you do not plan to buy anything.

Solicit votes for or against a candidate or political party or faction.

Publicly announce, in writing or otherwise, support of or opposition to a candidate or political party or faction.

Prepare or distribute campaign material for or against a candidate or political party or faction.

Contribute or volunteer time, effort, property, or any other thing of value in support of or opposition to a candidate or political party or faction.

Display a bumper sticker on the vehicle you drive in support of or opposition to a candidate or political party or faction.

Place a sign on your property supporting or opposing a candidate or political party or faction or allow anyone else to do so, unless it is your spouse or someone other co-owner who is not a classified employee.

Contribute or loan money in support of or opposition to a candidate or political party or faction.

Vote at the caucus or convention of a candidate or political party or faction.

Wear, use, display, or distribute T-shirts, hats, stickers, pins, fans, water bottles, or any other material in support of or opposition to a candidate or political party or faction.

Classified employee is very broad. Secretaries, office workers, people whose political support would give a candidate no appearance of state sanctioned support all fall under it.

Essentially if you want to work for the state of Louisiana you have to give up a huge chunk of your freedom of speech. Corporations are people according to our government for purposes of political contributions but evidently state employees not so much.

On their website, they have a blurb about how the supreme court says that their policy is okay. The blurb says to me “we understand people find this immoral but hahahaha they said it was legal.” Their remark feels like they are twisting the knife in the gut of the middle class workers by going “there is nothing you can do about it either.”

I find it deeply troubling that a large number of workers are robbed of their right to speak out by our state. This policy alone is enough to prevent me, and I am sure many others like me, from even considering work as a civil servant in our state.

Believe this is wrong? 

To contrast, check out how things work in California.