Senate Bill 5 Means Greater Efficiency, Effectiveness

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A Senate Bill 5 protest in March. Ohio's future success depends on the public sector's ability to be innovative and flexible. Elected officials need Senate Bill 5 to recruit, retain and reward the best and the brightest.(Photo: Ohio AFL-CIO)
A Senate Bill 5 protest in March. Ohio's future success depends on the public sector's ability to be innovative and flexible. Elected officials need Senate Bill 5 to recruit, retain and reward the best and the brightest.(Photo: Ohio AFL-CIO)

Ohio’s future success depends on the public sector’s ability to be innovative and flexible. Elected officials need Senate Bill 5 to recruit, retain and reward the best and the brightest.

Rather than reinforcing the status quo of wasteful, inefficient government, SB 5 allows leaders to reward employees who increase value to the taxpayer by delivering better, quicker and higher quality services.

The bill eliminates seniority and tenure as the deciding factors for raises. Instead, workers’ pay will be based on merit. SB 5 assures that we reward high performance rather than mediocrity, something taxpayers both want and deserve from their government.

This new performance-based mindset extends to our schools, where excellent teachers, regardless of age or tenure, will at last be compensated for demonstrating excellence in the classroom.

These changes are needed to speed up government, focus on taxpayers’ needs and create jobs in Ohio.

SB 5 is not about attacking our public sector employees. This bill helps Ohio leaders keep the many hardworking and dedicated workers while putting an end to ineffective, seniority-based decision making that occurs when budget cuts force layoffs.

For example, the past system allowed a graphic designer to take the job of a budget analyst on no other basis than seniority. This left managers with a productivity and morale nightmare, not to mention the great disservice done to the hardworking taxpayers of Ohio.

But despite its many advantages, SB 5 does have one troubling flaw. The bill mandates government workers pay at least 15 percent of their health insurance costs. While collective bargaining for health insurance should end, cutting too deeply into the health care benefits of public employees takes away one of the most important recruiting tools.

Government managers should have the discretion to decide what level of coverage is best for their workforce. Public employees make, on average, six percent less than their counterparts in the private sector. A generous health care package can bridge that gap and keep outstanding employees.

Public employee unions and other labor policies have had a large impact on changing the meaning of “Good Enough for Government Work.” This expression originated in World War II and meant that something passed rigorous standards. Today this expression means work that is merely passing. Ohio’s SB 5 lays the groundwork for returning to the original meaning of this phrase.

We can and should do better by the taxpayers of Ohio. Our government has many outstanding public sector employees. I know because I’ve worked closely with many of them. SB 5 gives these employees the tools they need to reach their full potential and deliver the outstanding quality and value that Ohio taxpayers deserve.

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