City Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio has opened the doors for a new fight with the city’s powerful unions. In a piece in San Jose Inside, Oliverio complains that the current seniority rules for city employees “means we lose some of the most productive people and create a large age gap if/when we are in the position to hire down the road.” His preferred alternative: “Maybe only lay off employees who are evaluated as “needing improvement” before laying off productive employees with less seniority. Or if two employees have nearly equal seniority, leave some allowance for merit.”  Eager young employees are being lost to cuts, while older, higher-salaried workers end up keeping their jobs regardless of their performance.

Oliverio wants the city’s Civil Service Commission to study the idea and offer recommendations within ninety days. Bill Brill, who heads the Commission, warns that the unions would opposed that “to a person.” As he explains, “The reason is that it’s objective, not subjective.”  With as many as 650 city employees poised to lose their jobs as a result of upcoming budget cuts, it is not a fight Brill wants to take on. Instead, he hopes that city managers improve the annual review process to ensure that the best people for the job are kept.

Oliverio believes that the city’s civil service rules are what determine seniority preference, and that these can be changed by a simple vote by City Council. Whether City Council decides to side with him or Brill is another matter.
Read More at The Mercury News.