Fayette Co CYS & Behavorial Health should continue using Civil Service because Fayette County’s hiring practices engage in nepotism and political hires . The civil service system was designed to keep nepotism and political support from entering into consideration when hiring.
Below is a Jan 27 2019 Edition of the Observer Reporter ; Washington County agencies take step toward severing hiring process from civil service.
Two Washington County agencies hope to be able to interview and hire without having prospective employees go through an often-cumbersome state civil service process. The Washington County commissioners last week took a first step in making a change that would affect the Children and Youth Services and Behavioral Health and Developmental Services departments. “There’s no flexibility right now,” said Jan Taper, administrator of the county’s Behavioral Health and Developmental Services agency. “We’re the only two agencies affected by this.”
Applicants for county jobs in other departments fill out a form or drop off a resume in hopes of scheduling an interview.
The civil service system, however, includes scheduling a test or appearing as a walk-in at a downtown Pittsburgh office, waiting for test scores and responding to a letter known as a survey for the position. The employer is limited to interviewing only three prospective employees at a time, a pool that is selected based largely on test scores rather than skills or prior experience.
The civil service system was designed to keep nepotism and political support from entering into consideration when hiring.
“Civil service has a bunch of steps with lag time,” said Taper, who was hired more than 30 years ago as a civil service candidate.
Pennsylvania’s system also gives preferences to honorably discharged veterans, widows and widowers of veterans, and spouses of disabled veterans. But even with the preferences, it can take three to five months to fill a single position.
Kimberly Rogers, who is charge of the CYS agency, has found “there are not enough people on the list for us to fill our vacancies.”
Opting out of civil service requires the county to develop a policy manual on hiring practices and dispute resolution for work-related grievances. And it’s not that the county won’t require tests. Data-entry jobs, for example, would require a typing test, and those applying for fiscal positions would have to take a math test.
Moving outside the civil service system won’t change wages or benefits that are already in place.
Washington County CYS has 57 caseworker positions, each of which handles an average of 20 to 22 families, and the agency typically has between 18 to 30 vacancies. Among CYS caseworkers, the turnover tends to be high just before six months on the job and at around two years of employment. “We just hired a group of six people in the fall, and four of them resigned,” Rogers said Wednesday. “It’s not an easy job and certainly not an easy job when you have the workload because of the vacancies.”
During the 2017-18 fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to June 30, Washington County CYS worked with 2,704 families and 5,354 children, up by 510 families and 1,010 children from the previous year. “There has never been a year since I’ve been here that we’ve had less work to do,” said Rogers, who was hired by Washington County in October 2012. Internal promotions have also had an effect on the ranks, and she said of her staff, “They’re incredibly hard workers who work very long hours, and they work around the clock.
“I know they are doing the best they can do with the amount of work that keeps coming in. “We really are servicing parents who are actively using addictive substances. That is our primary population.”
In neighboring Fayette County, Gina D’Auria, administrator of Children and Youth Services, wrote in response to an email, “We were unsuccessful in obtaining any applicants” through civil service since June of last year. “As a result, in December we were granted approval from civil service to do emergency hiring. We advertised locally and had over 40 applicants. We interviewed from those and as of Jan. 22, we were at full staff for the first time in over six months.” D’Auria has discussed with the commissioners the possibility of leaving the civil service system permanently, and the board has agreed to allow CYS to begin exploring what will need to occur and the process. “We have not made a commitment as of yet to leave but we are keeping our options open,” D’Auria wrote.