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Amendment 2: Homeland Security 

  One of the proposed state constitutional amendments on the Oct. 2 ballot offers a rare example of disagreement among some of Louisiana's leading reform groups. Amendment 2 would cement in the constitution the non-Civil Service status of state workers in the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, or GOHSEP. That's the office that springs into action during and after emergencies such as major hurricanes. The office also plays a role in disbursing federal disaster grants after a storm.

  The Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR), a New Orleans-based reform group, opposes Amendment 2 — but the Council for A Better Louisiana (CABL) supports it. The groups agree that GOHSEP employees are not typical state workers. They are on 24-hour call and must move about the state on a moment's notice. The groups just disagree as to how to treat those employees with regard to civil service protection.

  "GOHSEP employees are vital to the state's disaster readiness, and they are entrusted with the safety and security of Louisiana's citizens," BGR wrote in opposing the measure. "They are entitled to the protection from political pressures afforded to classified state employees."

  Meanwhile, CABL noted that it "has no strong position on this proposed amendment, but we support it with the view that GOHSEP truly is unique among state agencies, it operates more from a military command-type model, and flexibility in making personnel decisions should not be an issue in emergency situations." — Clancy DuBos


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