The Concerned Classified City Employees Group raised objections to proposed civil service rule changes for city employees during a Sept. 19 New Orleans Civil Service Commission meeting. Two days later, the group filed a formal complaint to the city's Civil Service Department against commission vice chairwoman Dana Douglas for what it calls Douglas' disregard of the group at the meeting.
During the meeting, Douglas stopped the group's attorney, Arthur Smith, from completing his full presentation. Smith had planned to read interview material from state employees whose departments had undergone similar changes as those proposed by Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration. Smith said the state's new layoff procedures and other changes under consideration by the city had eroded both worker morale and confidence in the State Civil Service Commission.
Douglas told Smith that since he already had put that testimony into a written letter, it was sufficient for the commission and there would be no need for him to present it aloud.
In its complaint, a copy of which was provided to Gambit, the group claims that Douglas, in denying Smith the opportunity to read the interviews aloud, demonstrated a "blatant disregard" for the group's response to Landrieu's proposed changes to Civil Service Rule XII, which governs layoff procedures. Other changes under consideration by the administration would ease managerial restrictions on hiring and firing city employees.
"Attorney Smith should have been allowed to present his information without interruption on this very important matter. The jobs of hundreds of Classified City Employees are at stake," the complaint says. The group has requested to be placed on the agenda for the commission's next meeting Oct. 17. — Charles Maldonado