Arthenia Joyner single-handedly kills Dana Young's bill to reform Hillsborough County Civil Service

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Strange ways of the Florida Legislature continued...

Yesterday we reported that when the Hillsborough County Legislative Delegation gathered together last December, they voted down a proposal sponsored by local Republicans Jamie Grant and Jeff Brandes that would have effectively killed the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission. So that was that, right? Not really, as the two undeterred lawmakers simply brought the same bill up in the legislative session, and now have tweaked it slightly to get what they originally were hoping for all along — allowing the car sharing service Uber to be able to operate legally in the County.

At that same meeting, all but two local Democrats supported a proposal sponsored byTampa House Republican Dana Young that would have greatly diminished the power of the County’s Civil Service Board. All the local legislators that day supported the measure except for two: Tampa/St.Pete state Senator Arthenia Joyner and St. Petersburg Representative Darryl Rouson.

But as reported late last night by the Tampa Bay Times Mike Van Sickler, because of an arcane but very legal procedure, Joyner killed the bill in the Senate, despite the fact that it passed the House last week by a 103-5 vote.
Van Sickler reports:

After notifying the senate’s rules chairman that she objected to the bill, it was taken off the agenda, where it will remain unless Joyner changes her mind.

Custom allows senators to pluck local bills from the agenda that they don’t like.

So how do you like them apples?

Most of the political establishment supported revising Hillsborough's Civil Service, which was created in the 1950s. Bill sponsor Dana Young has said that the world of local government and human resources has changed dramatically since then, and thus the need for a change. The board works with all 21 of the county's public agencies, classifying workers and setting pay scales.

The Tampa Tribune's editorial board supported the move, while Patrick Manteiga of La Gaceta was one of the few opinion writers who opposed it. Also opposing it was Dane Petersen, the man who runs the agency in Hillsborough County. He had been somewhat of a one-man army in lobbying anyone who would listen that the agency has reformed itself in recent years. He told CL in November that the whole purpose of the Civil Service Act was to provide a fair and consistent system for county employees, as well as to create transparency for citizens to have equal access to county jobs. "Nowhere in the Act does it say it's to benefit the elected officials of Hillsborough County," he says. "The whole premise of the bill is that they want more freedom and less oversight."

Unless something radical happens, it appears Young's bill is now completely dead, even though it passed in the House with a 102 vote-margin.

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