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CRC Column

The right to criticize government is also an obligation to know what you are talking about. 
-Lent Upson, 1st Executive Director of CRC  


Public Employment Issues

Michigan's Single-State Recession and Its Effects on Public Employment
Memo 1124 ( September 2013 ) 14 pages

Since the beginning of the 2001 recession, Michigan local government employment losses have exceeded private sector losses in percentage terms. This paper documents the changes and likely causes of public sector job losses.

Michigan's overall job picture is improving, albeit at a moderate pace. Michigan's total non-farm employment has increased by over six percent since the end of the Great Recession in June 2009. This growth has been driven largely by job gains in the private sector, particularly in key industries such as manufacturing and healthcare. At the same time, Michigan's public sector continues to shrink, fueled by significant local government job losses.

Although there have been losses in some areas of state government employment, job losses in local government have been widespread across many occupations.

Job losses in the K-12 education arena have been significant. This sub-sector, which comprises over 55 percent of local government employment, lost nearly 16 percent of its jobs between 2000 and 2011. Statewide enrollment declines and moves toward privatizing certain ancillary services likely contributed to the reduction. Another large segment, public safety, is down nearly 21 percent over the same period.

Public employment has increased for higher education, with both public 4-year universities and community colleges showing increases. The number of higher education jobs increased by nearly 23 percent during Michigan's economic downturn, largely in response to ballooning enrollments and the ability of schools to tap tuition and other revenue sources when faced with reduced state aid.

The contraction of the local government sector is a consequence of the housing market collapse, state policy decisions that impacted local government revenue, and, to some extent, privatization of local government services. Employment declines are likely to continue among local governments unless policy changes are adopted that allow local governments to realize increased revenues, either own-source funds or state-shared dollars.

Statewide Ballot Issues: Proposal 2012-02
Collective Bargaining Rights

Memo 1117 ( September 2012 ) 8 pages

On November 6, 2012, Michigan voters will determine whether the state should enshrine in the Michigan Constitution collective bargaining rights for public and private sector employees.

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan has published an analysis of this proposed constitutional amendment that describes the provisions of the amendment, the interaction of federal and state laws on collective bargaining, and the issues created by the proposal.

The amendment would prohibit "right-to-work" legislation, but just as significant are the ways in which the laws affecting public sector workers could be dramatically altered by the provisions contained in the amendment. State laws, not federal laws, create requirements and set boundaries on the matters subject to negotiation with respect to collective bargaining between public sector employers and public employee representatives.

Statewide Issues on the November General Election Ballot
Proposal 2010-02

Memorandum 1101 ( September 2010 )

With the November election fast approaching, candidates are running for offices in nearly every type of state and local government in Michigan. If Proposal 2010-02 is adopted by the voters at that election, it will create new eligibility criteria aimed at keeping certain felons that have committed crimes involving crimes involving dishonesty, deceit, fraud, or breach of the public trust from running for office in the future.

Proposal 2010-02 is a legislatively proposed constitutional amendment that would add a Section 8 to Article XI of the 1963 Michigan Constitution. The proposal affects elective public offices at all levels of state and local government as well as public employment that is policy-making or that has discretionary authority over public assets. Former public officials convicted within the past 20 years of certain crimes related to their official capacity in holding office or position of employment would be affected.

"Voters need to consider two issues," said the Citizens Research Council of Michigan's President, Jeffrey P. Guilfoyle, "They need to ask if they want further restrictions on the ability of felons to hold public office, and they need to ask if these restrictions should be enshrined in the state's constitution. Most of the existing eligibility criteria for public office are contained in the Michigan Election Law."

The amendment is reported to have been drafted to preserve public trust in government. "Research shows that political scandals and perceptions of crime-among other things-impact public trust in government," said Brittany Galisdorfer, the Earhardt Fellow at CRC. "But there is little research to show that keeping people that have committed those crimes from office will serve to prevent scandals or crimes."

Public Employment, Civil Service, and Personnel

Statewide Ballot Issue: Proposal 2012-04
Establishing the Michigan Quality Home Care Council and
Provide Limited Collective Bargaining Rights to Home Health Care Workers

Memo 1119 ( September 2012 ) 7 pages

This is an analysis of a proposed constitutional amendment to provide limited collective bargaining rights to home health care workers and to establish a Michigan Quality Home Care Council. Proposal 2012-04 will appear on the November 6, 2012 statewide ballot.

The elderly or disabled beneficiaries of the Medicaid-funded Home Help Services Program employ home health care aides, who are often family members or friends, to assist them to stay in their own homes and out of nursing homes. While the aides are hired and fired by the program enrollees, they are paid by the Michigan Department of Community Health through the state and federally funded Home Help Services Program. That program will not be affected by the vote on Proposal 2012-04.

If Proposal 2012-04 is approved, the Michigan Quality Home Care Council would be established in the state constitution and would serve as the "public employer" of home health care aides for purposes of collective bargaining on wages and terms and conditions of employment. The Council would create a statewide registry of home health care aides, though patients would not be required to hire from that registry. The Council could offer training to aides and patients. This union-supported constitutional amendment would guarantee the collective bargaining rights of home health care aides (currently, only state police troopers and sergeants have collective bargaining rights enshrined in the state constitution), but aides would not be considered state employees for any other purpose, and would not be authorized to strike.

Article XI - Public Officers and Employment
Report 360-14 ( September 2010 ) 6 pages

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan has released the fourteenth analysis in a series of papers focusing on constitutional issues. CRC is examining the state's Constitution in anticipation of this November's vote on whether Michigan should convene a constitutional convention. This paper focuses on Article XI of the 1963 Constitution - Public Officers and Employment.

Article XI has been amended only once since adoption of the 1963 Constitution - a 1978 amendment to Section 5 provided enlisted state police personnel with collective bargaining and binding arbitration. An unsuccessful amendment in 2002 would have provided the same rights to all other classified state employees.

Despite the relatively few times that Article XI has been considered for amendment, it is likely that a constitutional convention would discuss and review a number of issues pertinent to the topic of public employment, including the state's civil service system and ethics provisions for public officials.

Michigan's civil service system (Section 5), considered one of the strongest in the nation because of the significant amount of constitutional detail devoted to its composition, authority, and function, has operated without major challenges over the past 46 years; however, a convention would examine provisions related to collective bargaining for state employees, automatic funding for the Civil Service Commission, and legislative control of civil servant compensation. A convention also might be expected to consider introducing ethics provisions to the constitution. These might include restrictions on when former state officials can engage in lobbying, personal financial disclosure for elected officials, and creation of a statewide ethics commission with meaningful enforcement authority.

"Trust in government officials is key to a thriving democracy, functioning bureaucracy, and a true sense of representation on the part of citizens," said Craig Thiel, CRC's Director of State Affairs, "and Article XI has provided a sound foundation for these desirous characteristics of government in Michigan." Regardless of the outcome of the vote in November, Article XI, as currently written, can be expected to serve the voters well for some time to come.

Michigan Private and Public Sector Employment Levels over the Business Cycle
Note 2009-01 ( October 2009 ) 12 pages

Michigan has been shedding jobs continuously since June 2000, and Michigan employment is now more than 20 percent below the June 2000 peak. In its most recent publication, the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, focuses on the job losses in the public sector over this time period, comparing public sector outcomes with what has occurred in the private sector. Michigan Private and Public Sector Levels over the Business Cycle finds that the changes in public sector employment have been multifaceted, with the public sector employment changes dependent on a number of factors.

In the short-term, public sector employment levels tend to be more stable than the private sector. This is attributable to a host of factors, including the composition of state and local government employment, the relative stability of the underlying revenues supporting state and local jobs, and the "countercyclical" nature of some governmental programs. As a result, state and local government employment may not react as quickly to the ups and downs of the business cycle. Over the longer-term, however, public sector budgets are forced to cope with declining resources and adjust personnel levels accordingly.

Over Michigan's prolonged recession, dating back to 2000, trends in public sector employment levels mirror what has occurred in the private sector, but without the severity. Since its high water mark in August 2001, the size of the public sector in Michigan has contracted. Within the public sector, however, there has been considerable variance with respect to composition. Generally, higher education and hospital employment levels are up and K-12 education and State of Michigan classified employment levels are down.

Proposal 2006-02: Michigan Civil Rights Initiative
Report 343 ( September 2006 ) 47 pages

The Citizens Research Council has released its analysis of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative proposal. At the November 7, 2006, general election Michigan voters will be presented with a proposal to add Section 26 to Article I of the 1963 Michigan Constitution "to ban affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment to groups or individuals based on their race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin for public employment, education or contracting purposes."

Proposal 2006-02: Michigan Civil Rights Initiative
Memo 1082 ( September 2006 ) 6 pages

Summarizes the analysis of the proposed constitutional amendment regarding the use of affirmative action preferences in CRC Report #343.

State Constitutional Issues on the November General Election Ballot - II Proposal 02-03: Collective Bargaining and Binding Arbitration for State Employees,
CRC Memo 1068, ( September 2002 ) 8 pages

Proposal 02-03 on the November statewide ballot would amend the Michigan Constitution to give classified state employees the right to bargain collectively and the right to binding arbitration in the case of unresolved disputes.

pdf File A Comparison of State and Local Public Employment in 1988,
CC 989, ( April 1990 ) 4 pages

Compares Michigan to the rest of the nation in the number of state and local employees devoted to various public purposes.

PDF File An Evaluation of the Michigan Civil Service System: A Report Presented to the Citizens Review Committee on Civil Service,
Report 288, ( July 1988 ) 154 pages

Analyzed the purpose of the state merit system; the constitutional governance structure; civil service commission; recruitment and selection of employees; civil service and affirmative action; and collective bargaining and employment relations provisions in Michigan and selected other states.

pdf File The Public Employment Relations Act: Conflicts and Possible Alternatives
Report 283, ( January 1987 ) 21 pages

Analyzed the public sector collective bargaining statutory framework; judicial interpretations; interaction between the Public Employment Relations Act and other state statutes; and legislative alternative.

Little Hoover Committee ... Personnel Administration in Michigan Government
Staff Report 9, ( February 51 ) 78 pages

A research report on the operations of the Michigan Civil Service Commission of a ten year period, identifies strong points and weaknesses, and makes recommendations for improvement.

Personnel Management & Public Employment--general literature

Wayne County Charter Issues ... Personnel Management
Report 271, ( March 81 ) 14 pages

This report on the Wayne County civil service commission describes the present personnel system and the decision options available to the charter commission. In 1972, the National Civil Service League found that the Wayne County civil service commission was not performing these functions efficiently or effectively. In 1980, the Wayne County Efficiency Task Force confirmed the earlier findings of poorly administered personnel policies and recommended changes similar to those suggested by the 1972 report. Presently few, if any, of the recommendations of these reports have been implemented. Therefore, the charter commission has an excellent opportunity to reverse the directions of county personnel policy and make a significant contribution to strengthening personnel administration.

Misc., Grosse Pointe Park Staffing Levels (police and fire) ( October 84 ) 7 pages

Civil Service and Merit System

Article XI - Public Officers and Employment
Report 360-14 ( September 2010 ) 6 pages

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan has released the fourteenth analysis in a series of papers focusing on constitutional issues. CRC is examining the state's Constitution in anticipation of this November's vote on whether Michigan should convene a constitutional convention. This paper focuses on Article XI of the 1963 Constitution - Public Officers and Employment.

Article XI has been amended only once since adoption of the 1963 Constitution - a 1978 amendment to Section 5 provided enlisted state police personnel with collective bargaining and binding arbitration. An unsuccessful amendment in 2002 would have provided the same rights to all other classified state employees.

Despite the relatively few times that Article XI has been considered for amendment, it is likely that a constitutional convention would discuss and review a number of issues pertinent to the topic of public employment, including the state's civil service system and ethics provisions for public officials.

Michigan's civil service system (Section 5), considered one of the strongest in the nation because of the significant amount of constitutional detail devoted to its composition, authority, and function, has operated without major challenges over the past 46 years; however, a convention would examine provisions related to collective bargaining for state employees, automatic funding for the Civil Service Commission, and legislative control of civil servant compensation. A convention also might be expected to consider introducing ethics provisions to the constitution. These might include restrictions on when former state officials can engage in lobbying, personal financial disclosure for elected officials, and creation of a statewide ethics commission with meaningful enforcement authority.

"Trust in government officials is key to a thriving democracy, functioning bureaucracy, and a true sense of representation on the part of citizens," said Craig Thiel, CRC's Director of State Affairs, "and Article XI has provided a sound foundation for these desirous characteristics of government in Michigan." Regardless of the outcome of the vote in November, Article XI, as currently written, can be expected to serve the voters well for some time to come.

PDF File An Evaluation of the Michigan Civil Service System: A Report Presented to the Citizens Review Committee on Civil Service,
Report 288, ( July 1988 ) 154 pages

Analyzed the purpose of the state merit system; the constitutional governance structure; civil service commission; recruitment and selection of employees; civil service and affirmative action; and collective bargaining and employment relations provisions in Michigan and selected other states.

pdf File The Public Employment Relations Act: Conflicts and Possible Alternatives
Report 283, ( January 1987 ) 21 pages

Analyzed the public sector collective bargaining statutory framework; judicial interpretations; interaction between the Public Employment Relations Act and other state statutes; and legislative alternative.

Wayne County - Civil Service System

Report 271, Wayne County Charter Issues ... Personnel Management ( March 1981 ) 14 pages

Detroit - Civil Service System

Job Classification and Compensation

Note 96-01, ../pdf FileTrends in Michigan Classified State Employment, ( March 1996 ) 2 pages

CC 1004, ../pdf FileDownsizing the State Classified Work Force ( March 1992 ) 4 pages

Memo, Decline in the Number of Classified Employees in the State of Michigan ( February 1985 ) 4 pages

CC 962, State Ballot Proposals - II: Proposal C -- Expansion of State Officers Compensation Commission Jurisdiction and Proposal A: Constitutional Status for State Library Analyzed the state officers compensation commission proposal which was on the statewide ballot at the November 1986 general election. ( September 86 ) 4 pages

Salary Disparities in the State Government Workforce (Classified vs. Unclassified personnel)
CC 952, ( January 1985 ) 6 pages

Analyzed the paysetting procedures for employees in the executive branch of state government, with a focus on salary disparities between classified and unclassified employees.

Report 168, pdf File Municipal Employees--Cost of Living Salary Adjustments (Model Charter Provisions) A previous report, published in February 1942, was the first critical analysis of this method of adjusting salaries to the economic conditions. The popularity of that report and the fact that the Detroit City Council had not as yet taken official action on the subject prompted this further study. The first study was principally concerned with a thorough analysis of the St. Paul plan. This one outlines additional plans and discusses the development of certain plans which give much promise. ( July 44 ) 42 pages

Fringe Benefits

The Health Care Obligations of Michigan Counties
Note 2011-01 ( February 2011 ) 16 pages

"It is becoming increasingly clear that the budget problems facing Michigan governments cannot be adequately addressed until the cost of health care benefits for governmental employees is confronted," says Eric Lupher, CRC's Director of Local Affairs. To help understand the magnitude of the problem and the actions that are being taken to address it, CRC's newest paper looks at just one type of local government: counties

The Health Care Liabilities of Michigan Counties presents findings about the impact of growing health care costs on Michigan county governments. A survey of county governments was able to document that the total actuarial accrued liability of other post-employment benefits for just 50 counties of Michigan's 83 counties, is nearly $4 billion, more than $3 billion of which is unfunded. While some counties are taking aggressive steps to address their liabilities, others have yet to respond.

Counties responses to their health care liabilities have been varied. While many counties are closing retiree health care plans to new hires, increasing their pre-funding, raising health care plan deductibles, increasing vesting requirements and shifting to defined contribution plans, some have yet to take action. And yet health care costs continue to grow, Baby Boomers are beginning to retire, and GASB statements 43 and 45 are drawing increasing attention to the problem. Michigan counties continue to struggle to fund OPEB.

"A recent survey by CLOSUP in the Ford School of Public Policy at U of M reported that 32% of Michigan local governments, mostly smaller governments, say that they do not provide fringe benefits to their employees. This means that more than 2/3 of our local governments do offer fringe benefits, often including health care benefits," said Mr. Lupher. "The general story told in this paper holds true for all of those governments: Michigan's prolonged recession has severely impacted government revenues; health care costs for active and retired employees is increasing; the number of employees eligible for retirement is increasing with the aging of the Baby Boomers; and the GASB standards are drawing increased attention to how local governments fund their OPEB liabilities. Extrapolating the finding of the CRC survey of counties to the other local governments reveals a government finance issue in need of attention."

Recruitment, Selection, Training, Retention & Promotion

CC 931, pdf File Unfinished Business -- The Michigan Council on Public Employee Retirement Systems Comments on the failure of the Legislative Council to appoint members to or fund the Council on Public Employee Retirement Systems as required in Public Act 520 of 1980. --- See also Memo #237, A Survey of State Pension Oversight Bodies --- ( July 82 ) 2 pages

Public Employment - Retirement Systems

Michigan State and Local Government Retirement Systems
Report 356 ( July 2009 ) 70 pages

Today CRC is releasing its latest report, Michigan State and Local Government Retirement Systems, which describes Michigan�s 138 state and local pension systems in aggregate, explores the financial and managerial state of Michigan's public retirement systems, provides details for several of Michigan�s major state and local public pension systems, compares key metrics to national averages, and explores the possible ramifications of the current economic situation on public defined benefit plans and on state and local governments.

Michigan State and Local Government Retirement Systems reports on the shift to defined contribution plans, which limit the public employer's liability by transferring risk to the employee. It also reports on the balance of investment earnings, employer contributions, and employee contributions in public retirement plans; pension payments and expenses; pension board composition; pension funding strategies; the relationship of pension and other postretirement benefits; adjustments to benefits earned in the future; and potential changes in investment rules and practices.

CC 931, pdf File Unfinished Business -- The Michigan Council on Public Employee Retirement Systems Comments on the failure of the Legislative Council to appoint members to or fund the Council on Public Employee Retirement Systems as required in Public Act 520 of 1980. --- See also Memo #237, A Survey of State Pension Oversight Bodies --- ( July 82 ) 2 pages

Memo 237, pdf File A Survey of State Pension Oversight Bodies For some time, the Michigan legislature had been considering the creation of a pension oversight unit. This report is a digest and analysis of information gathered from a questionaire sent to 20 states that currently had pension oversight units. ( July 79 ) 20 pages

Report 273, Wayne County Charter Issues ... Employee Retirement ( April 81 ) 18 pages

Private Pension & Retirement Plans

Collective Bargaining

Statewide Ballot Issues: Proposal 2012-02
Collective Bargaining Rights

Memo 1117 ( September 2012 ) 8 pages

Statewide Ballot Issues: Proposal 2012-02
Collective Bargaining Rights

Memo 1117 ( September 2012 ) 8 pages

On November 6, 2012, Michigan voters will determine whether the state should enshrine in the Michigan Constitution collective bargaining rights for public and private sector employees.

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan has published an analysis of this proposed constitutional amendment that describes the provisions of the amendment, the interaction of federal and state laws on collective bargaining, and the issues created by the proposal.

The amendment would prohibit "right-to-work" legislation, but just as significant are the ways in which the laws affecting public sector workers could be dramatically altered by the provisions contained in the amendment. State laws, not federal laws, create requirements and set boundaries on the matters subject to negotiation with respect to collective bargaining between public sector employers and public employee representatives.

State Constitutional Issues on the November General Election Ballot - II Proposal 02-03: Collective Bargaining and Binding Arbitration for State Employees,
CRC Memo 1068, ( September 2002 ) 8 pages

Proposal 02-03 on the November statewide ballot would amend the Michigan Constitution to give classified state employees the right to bargain collectively and the right to binding arbitration in the case of unresolved disputes.

pdf File Public Sector Strikes in Michigan,
Report 290, ( December 1988 ) 18 pages

Examined the statutory and judicial history of public sector strike laws (the Hutchinson Act and the Public Employment Relations Act) in Michigan since 1947; methods of enforcement of prohibitions against strikes; and legislative alternative; contains a list of public sector strikes in Michigan between 1965 and 1988.

pdf File The Public Employment Relations Act: Conflicts and Possible Alternatives
Report 283, ( January 1987 ) 21 pages

Analyzed the public sector collective bargaining statutory framework; judicial interpretations; interaction between the Public Employment Relations Act and other state statutes; and legislative alternative.

Compulsory Arbitration in Michigan
Report 279, ( January 1986 ) 40 pages

Analyzed the compulsory arbitration process for units of local government; basic criticisms of the process; provided empirical analysis of compulsory arbitration cases; and legislative alternatives; contains a list of local government involvement in compulsory arbitration process. --- See also CC #957 ---

Compulsory Arbitration in Michigan
CC 957, ( January 1986 ) 6 pages

--- Summarizes Report #279 ---

CC 904, PDF File State Ballot Issues: Collective Bargaining for State Police (Article X1, Section 5); Raising the Drinking Age to 21 (Article IV, Section 40); Investment of State Funds (Article IX, Sections 19-20) ( September 78 ) 4 pages

 

 

 

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Last Updated February 7, 2014