Changing career ops for engineering techs gets mixed reviews
By SHERRY HALBROOK
When a change in 2015 of the state civil service qualifications for the civil engineer 1 job title blocked the hopes of many PEF members to achieve that title, PEF appealed to the state Civil Service Commission and members presented their case to the commission late last year.
Now the commission has responded by creating new rungs on the career ladder that will allow the PEF members to advance.
“The commission recognizes PEF’s legitimate concerns that principal engineering technicians (PETs) will now be deprived of a promotion opportunity to civil engineer 1, unless PET incumbents obtain the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) certificate,” stated Allen Jordan, state Civil Service Commission operations coordinator, in a February 28 letter to PEF. “The (Division of) Classification and Compensation respects the importance of engineering technicians and has created two new promotional titles for PETs who lack and may not wish to acquire an FE. The new titles of construction specialist 1 (transportation), salary grade 19, and construction specialist 2 (transportation), salary grade 23, will provide new and greater promotion opportunities for PETs who are no longer eligible to take part in civil engineer 1 promotional exams.”
Jordan added, “All current civil engineer 1 incumbents will maintain their current positions and titles, even if they do not possess the FE certificate, and such employees will not be required to obtain the FE in the future.”
Although the commission did not withdraw the FE requirement for civil engineer 1, Jordan said, “The commission appreciates that PEF has brought this matter to its attention and is pleased the Department of Civil Service has collaborated with state agencies in providing new career opportunities for dedicated, experienced PETs who will now possess promotional pathways that are consistent with their job duties and qualifications.”
The DCS decision has been welcomed by some PEF members at DOT and scorned by others who see the promotion to the grade 23 position as a false advantage, since the higher pay associated with the rise in salary grade could potentially be more than offset for some members by the loss of overtime eligibility. DOT work is greatly affected by New York’s climate and limited construction season that requires many employees to put in very long workdays over the summer.