- Associated Press - Friday, October 2, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Hundreds of state workers have been shuffled into new positions at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and other agencies.

Documents show Gov. Sam Brownback ordered the moves based on a study the workers haven’t seen, The Topeka Capital-Journal (https://bit.ly/1O8BMNj ) reports. Rebecca Proctor, director of the Kansas Organization of State Employees, said that without seeing the study, workers are left in the dark.

“The employees then are left not really understanding the justification for the downgrade in job grade. Because many of these individuals say they are performing tasks that under their new job description they technically should not be doing,” said Proctor, who expressed fear that the reclassification is placing workers in positions where they can’t receive pay increases.

Under an executive directive that Brownback signed last week, 18 job classifications were abolished and replaced with 16 new classifications.

Several hundred workers are affected, said Department of Administration spokesman John Milburn, though he couldn’t provide an exact number. He said the bulk of them are located in KDHE, although workers in other agencies, such as Agriculture, the Kansas Corporation Commission, Labor and Transportation, also were affected.

KDHE spokeswoman Sara Belfry says the changes were made in response to a study by the Department of Administration over the past two years to determine whether changes to job classifications were necessary.

“Due to that study, changes were made to better reflect the actual work being performed by these employees. Some classifications were eliminated and some new classifications were created, all of which are firmly in the classified employee system,” Belfry said.

Brownback spokeswoman Eileen Hawley said regular reviews of job classifications are important to reflect the work employees are actually performing.

“We recognize that over time an employee may add duties to his or her job, and that people with similar titles across state government might be supporting different functions. This review allows the classification system to more accurately reflect the jobs being done, a standard practice within the classified/civil service process,” Hawley said.

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Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, https://www.cjonline.com

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