PEF fights for your future
By SHERRY HALBROOK
News that the state Department of Civil Service has tightened restrictions on selective certification exams was well received by PEF, which pushed for such changes.
DCS notified state departments and agencies May 16 that from now on they will be required to justify “each educational and experiential qualification (property) selected within a Selective Certification Profile. A property refers to the selected category, group, item and level. For some examinations, sub-items and/or tasks are also included within a property.”
DCS said, “Selective Certification is offered as an option to agencies when the department has determined that additional education and experience may be required for specific positions within a job class. Selective Certification components of examinations are designed to provide agencies with list certifications of eligible candidates who have essential knowledge, skills and abilities needed to successfully perform the duties of the position.”
After PEF’s urging, “agencies must supply sufficiently detailed information in the justification column so that department representatives reviewing the selective certification requests may determine that the property selected is required to perform a specific aspect of the duties of the position,” according to the update to the DCS Personnel Management Manual.
“We sent a complaint to DCS in 2016 about our members’ concerns that the special education and experience that agencies were demanding for certain positions sometimes unfairly excluded qualified candidates with high exam scores and allowed less qualified candidates, often with lower exam scores, to be hired instead,” said PEF Director of Civil Service Enforcement and Budget Kevin Jones.
DCS denied PEF’s complaint, but later met with the union to discuss its concerns.
“We welcome this new requirement that agencies justify the selective criteria they want to impose on their search for job candidates,” Jones said. “It is not a ‘silver bullet,’ but it is a step in the right direction. We will continue to closely monitor the state’s hiring and promotion practices to identify any unfair favoritism or unnecessary exclusion of qualified candidates.
“Ultimately, we only know about possible unfairness when our members alert us to it,” Jones said. “So, if you see something, say something.”