Voters asked to modify Colo. hiring practices

Gov. John Hickenlooper led the charge to get Amendment S on the ballot as part of his plan to change the way the state hires and fires people.

To many voters, the amendment will seem like small and technical changes that could be handled by the Legislature. However, the state constitution governs much of the personnel system, and only voters can amend the constitution.

If passed, Amendment S would give the governor more power to hire people in his administration by removing up to 330 positions from the protections of the state personnel system.

The governor could also dismiss members of the state personnel board.

The amendment would create several other changes:

Supervisors could hire workers based on comparisons between finalists for the job, instead of their scores on tests.

Six candidates for any job could be designated as finalists, compared to just three now.

Out-of-state candidates could be hired if no Colorado residents could be found, and jobs located within 30 miles of the border would not be limited to Colorado residents.

Temporary employees could be hired for up to nine months, rather than six.

Hiring preferences for military veterans would be expanded.

The Legislature voted unanimously to put Amendment S on the ballot. There is no organized opposition to the measure, and the state employees’ union is neutral.