Jane M Von Bergen, Inquirer Staff Writer.

New Jersey public employees are bracing for what their union leaders say is the latest anti-worker onslaught by the Christie administration.

The New Jersey Civil Service Commission, all of whose members are Gov. Christie’s appointees, has proposed sweeping changes it says would streamline the promotion process, making it easier to advance top-notch people.

That’s not how the unions see it. They say the changes would invite cronyism and political favoritism, discouraging state, county, and municipal workers who don’t want to play politics.

“It’s often been said that one man’s flexibility is another man’s cronyism,” Ben Dworkin, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University, pointed out.

“The major benefit of the . . . program,” the proposed regulations say, “would be the provision of greater flexibility in the advancement of employees.”

Exactly, said Hetty Rosenstein, the New Jersey leader of the Communications Workers of America, the union that represents most public employees in the state.

Unbound by complex protocols that involve examinations and outside reviews, managers would have more flexibility, Rosenstein said, “to select someone they like, someone who supports them politically, someone who looks like them, someone who shares their prejudices, and maybe somebody who gave them a bribe – that’s not unheard of in New Jersey.”


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