Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
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NEW ORLEANS -- The New Orleans Civil Service Board will be looking at a list of changes involving city personnel on Monday, and some of those changes would change the way the city hires and fires employees.

It's part of Mayor Landrieu's 'Great Place to Work Initiative' which is geared toward giving City Hall supervisors greater flexibility when it comes to hiring, evaluating, and promoting city workers, as well as a $10.10 per hour minimum wage.

But opponents of changes say this would be devastating to the New Orleans Fire Department and the New Orleans Police Department, possibly opening the door to discriminatory practices and possible violations to the state constitution.

'The state constitution is clear and we're not proposing any change to the state constitution or the city charter. Civil Service will stay, it's an important reform, both for Louisiana and for New Orleans, and those constitutional protections would remain. What we're saying is that we want to be able to pay better, with the minimum wage increase, we want to be able to promote better, we also want to hire better and we want to make sure that the city has the ability to choose from any qualified candidate not just three of them,' says New Orleans Chief Administration Officer Andy Kopplin.

In the public system, the hiring manager is limited to looking at just three candidates so this would allow more candidates to be evaluated for hiring.

Police officers and firefighters make up 50 percent of the city employees who would be affected by the changes, and with recruitment and staffing at all-time lows in both departments, opponents say the city can't afford to chase away good city employees by taking way their rights in the workplace.

The civil service staff says it has several concerns over the removal of oversight and the possibility that some of these rule changes are unconstitutional, which is why they recommended that public hearings be held on every section of the initiative, along with more meetings with the administration before any final decisions are made.

The special meeting is set to begin at 10 a.m., Monday, at City Hall.

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