City panel reinstates ‘bumping’ privileges

Employees’ petition sought reinstatement of policy.


A policy reinstating city employee “bumping” privileges recently was approved by the Crestwood Civil Service Board.

The board voted unanimously on April 6 to approve the Civil Service Rules and Regulations policy. It will be considered by the Board of Aldermen at a later date.

“Bumping” occurs when employees whose jobs are eliminated move to another position for which they’re qualified. If that position is one which several people already hold, the employee scheduled to be laid off can “bump” another employee — in Crestwood’s case, the one with the least seniority.

The city used to have such a provision in the civil service rules, but it was removed by the previous Civil Service Board during its extensive review of the document in 2006 and 2007.

That group believed the policy placed an extra burden on new hires, who could be “bumped” out of a job, and department heads, who would have less flexibility in managing their staffs, according to former Civil Service Board President Martha Duchild.

Further, the board felt the practice was not cost-effective to the city as retaining veteran employees, who have accrued more benefits, is more expensive than keeping a newer employee, Duchild has said.

However, seven maintenance workers and supervisors signed a petition late last year to have “bumping” privileges reinstated. They say they didn’t know the policy was removed.

“We would like to see this provision reinstated to protect the job of an employee who is a diligent, hard-working, well-trained asset to the city of Crestwood,” the employees stated in a memo submitted with the petition to City Administrator Jim Eckrich.

Eckrich told the Civil Service Board April 6 that he’d reviewed the policy with department heads and received their approval. He said he did not know if the department heads reviewed the provision with their employees.

“Somebody’s not going to like this policy,” Eckrich said. “It’s either the long-term employee or the new hire. Somebody’s getting the short end of the stick here.”

However, the city administrator also noted that “bumping” could only occur if the employee moving into a new position could perform the duties of the job without re-training.

And while the policy would allow “bumping” between departments, Eckrich said the two jobs would have to be similar in nature, such as two secretarial positions, or a maintenance supervisor and custodian.

He stressed that no layoffs were imminent in the city.

The April 6 Civil Service Board meeting was the first for Richard Breeding and Devin Sauer, who recently were appointed by the mayor and aldermen to replace former board members Kevin King and Steve Knarr.

Breeding and Sauer joined Civil Service Board Chair Carol Wagner.

“For me it’s an issue of competing interests and factors,” Sauer said of the “bumping” proposal. “But I think at the end of the day I would support it because I do think that regardless of the new hires and the issues involving those, I think on balance it promotes a better working environment for those people in the city and provides in-centive for them under the factor proposed to do their best.”