TRENTON – Unions and Democratic lawmakers have branded the Civil Service Commission’s plan to have “job bands” as an invitation to patronage, nepotism, and cronyism.
However, the CSC views it as a way of filling vacant positions fast and having a wider pool of candidates available for “appointing authorities” to choose from.
Job bands is a grouping of titles into a single broad band consisting of job titles with similar duties, responsibilities, and qualifications.
The proposal points out that the CSC has long had the ability to waive a requirement for an applicant to take a “competitive examination” if the applicant demonstrated necessary skills.
The commission pointed out in the last calendar year, 74 state service promotions and 83 local service promotions (29 county and 54 municipal) took place “without resorting to formal examination procedures, while at the same time satisfying the Civil Service Commission’s Constitutional and statutory mandate.”
It pointed out that the positions were filled “without undue delay.”
“The Civil Service Commission’s Constitutional and statutory mandate does not require the application of the formal examination process in every instance in which an employee demonstrates (and the needs of the appointing authority require) that he or she has progressed from being able to perform ‘routine’ level work to being able to perform ‘complex’ work,” the proposal said.
The proposal states that the job band proposal will enable more workers to advance by essentially cutting red tape and filling spots prudently. It described the current process and what the CSC plans as an amendment.
“Ordinarily, to promote an employee to a higher title, both the appointing authority and interested (applicants) are required to go through a process that consists of requesting an announcement, filing an application in order to determine eligibility to compete in an examination, developing an examination, conducting the examination, issuing an eligible list, certifying the list, and making appointments of reachable (candidates) from the certification,” the CSC proposal said. “The time necessary for accomplishing the foregoing tasks, in the case of every potential promotional action, is often excessive, causing a duplication of efforts by Civil Service Commission staff that does not necessarily improve the ultimate merit and witness determination. It is the intention of the proposed new job banding program to streamline the selection process by eliminating duplicative promotional procedures, while preserving the underlying principles of merit and fitness.
“The proposed job banding program would take the examination waiver process one step further by permitting appointing authorities to advance an employee to a higher level without having to go through the civil service promotional process of requesting an examination and then a certification based on the results of the examination, and appointing a reachable individual from the certification,” the proposal went on to state. “The program would also be highly economically beneficial to affected employees; it is expected that such employees would be able to move up the pay scale much more quickly under this new system.”
While it states that some civil service employees may be negatively impacted by the new rules, because of increased competition for job titles, the commission said it believes “the positives outweigh the negatives since merit and fitness would still be served by greater competition and employees and appointing authorities would benefit from speedier decision-making on advancements than currently exists for promotions not involving an examination waiver.”