Does a professional, independent bureaucracy lead to better governance? The answer is yes compared to the alternative political patronage as a source of corruption, waste, and the dominance of special interests.
Montana has a Civil Service System based upon competitive, merit-based recruitment and protections from political pressure. This system works, but our Legislature wants to change it.
House Bill 588 proposes to do away with Montana’s merit-based system by giving the governor the authority to change 10% of every department’s positions from civil service to political appointees. For example, the Department of Fish, Wildlife, & Parks has 654 full time equivalent positions, and this bill would change 65 of them to political appointments. Current law allows one or two political positions per department. This action will politicize every government function. As we know Gov. Greg Gianforte already flaunts our state laws and if this bill becomes law, he will have more direct control over every department.
We all need to oppose this bill that will devastate our state government’s ability to do their job without fear of political retribution.
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