Posted: May 2, 2012 12:14 PM
PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Senate has given preliminary approval to Republican legislation that's a top priority of Gov. Jan Brewer, a sweeping rewrite of the state personnel system.
Approval by the Senate on a formal vote would return the bill to the House for a final vote on changes made by the Senate.
The proposal would combine multiple personnel systems for thousands of executive-branch employees and make the new one more like those of private businesses.
That includes relaxing and eliminating civil service protections to make it easier to fire and discipline workers and putting more agency directors under the governor's authority.
Brewer says the legislation would make state government more efficient and productive.
Critics say the changes open the door for cronyism, political favoritism and retaliation against whistleblowers.
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