(NASHVILLE, TN), April 24, 2012 — Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) today joined Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, Senator Jack Johnson (R-Franklin), House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga), Representative Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville) and other leading lawmakers as Governor Bill Haslam signed into law the TEAM Act (Tennessee Excellence Accountability and Management Act). The bill establishes a system that will attract, select, retain and promote the best applicants and employees in Tennessee state government. It also aims to give agencies greater flexibility in personnel management and would increase customer-focused effectiveness for citizens who access a wide variety of state government services.
“The name, TEAM Act, very accurately defines this legislation,” said Leader Norris, who sponsored the bill. “Much teamwork went into the work on this legislation with the Governor, legislators, state employees and the Tennessee State Employee Association (TSEA). This new law brings Tennessee into the 21st century and will keep our workforce competitive for many years to come.”
The bill was endorsed by the Tennessee State Employee Association. Norris applauded their efforts to improve the bill as it went through the legislative process.
A report released by the Comptroller’s Division of State Audit suggested Tennessee’s civil service system was inefficient, unfair and outdated. The system was also identified as cumbersome and inefficient by all departments in the Top to Bottom Review report ordered by Governor Bill Haslam.
The TEAM Act calls for two divisions of state service: preferred service and executive service. Executive service employees remain “at-will” as they currently serve. Preferred service replaces the traditional “career service” designation and preserves a streamlined appeals process along with other considerations.
Some of the changes to the state employment system made by the legislation include:
–A new hiring system that requires agencies to define minimum qualifications and to identify specific knowledge, skills, abilities and competencies required for each position.
–Veterans and their spouses will receive interview preference for both appointments and promotions, and if there are two candidates with equal qualifications, knowledge, skills, etc., preference will be given to the veteran.
–An overhaul of the state’s performance evaluation system to provide for performance standards and expected outcomes that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time sensitive (SMART goals).
–In the event of a layoff, job performance becomes the primary consideration followed by seniority, abilities and disciplinary record, which also must be considered.
–A new nine-member board of appeals to conduct a streamlined, three-step appeals process.
And a mediation process will also be established by the Department of Human Resources through rules.
“This legislation continues our efforts to streamline government and make it more efficient and effective,” added Norris. “I am very pleased this major initiative is now Tennessee law.”