Friday, July 26, 2019

NorCo May Opt Out of State Civil Service

For years, Northampton County has been plagued by caseworker vacancies in Children, Youth and Families (CYF). Without question, this is a stressful job with a high burnout rate. But according to county Human Services Director Sue Wandalowski, an underfunded and understaffed state civil service commission has made things worse. As a result, Executive Lamont McClure will soon ask Council to approve a resolution opting out of civil service.

To illustrate the problem, Wandalowski said at last week's Human Services Committee meeting that there are 13 caseworker vacancies in CYF. Yet it took the state civil service commission two months to provide a list of caseworker applicants. When it finally did, it contained only three names.

When NorCo asked for more names, civil service provided a list of 80 people who had filled out parts of the application, and suggested the county contact them directly. The county did, and learned that list was fraught with errors. Some of the people identified had not only taken the test, but were already working as caseworkers.

Pennsylvania's Civil Service Commission administers the hiring system for 37 state agencies employing nearly 57,000 civil service employees.

Caseworker vacancies in CYF can mean the difference between life and death for some abused or neglected children, so Wandalowski wants to opt out of civil service and do the hiring in-house. This has already happened in Berks and Bucks Counties, she said. According to The Sentinel, Cumberland County is currently in the process of withdrawing from the state civil service commission because of similar difficulties in filling vacancies. The state civil service commission, Wandalowski said, is actually encouraging counties to opt out so long as career service regulations are in place.

Wandalowski estimates the process will probably take a year.

"If it sounds too good to be true, sometimes it is," cautioned Council Prez Ron Heckman. He told Wandalowski he'd want to hear from counties that have opted out before making a decision.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

State opt outs are usually just a way to shift costs or problems. Look at how they opted out of state hospitals and what that meant to local communities.
I agree that it needs to be studied carefully before making nay moves. Especially since the state seems anxious for counties to do it.

Anonymous said...

It's fascinating to pull up a chair and watch our government inaction. Government should certainly assume a larger role in other aspects of life, because it's so good at it. And that pimple headed Mario Skeeevello is concerned about 21-year olds smoking, because he's working on the important issues in the state. What an unmitigated shit head.

Anonymous said...

The closing of the State Mental Hospitals shifted the entire population into either group homes or nursing homes, or jails.

Anonymous said...

sounds like Sue Wandalowski, knows what she is doing. Checking with Berks County cannot be a bad thing and as long as the cost of operation doesn't go up, what have you got to loose?

Anonymous said...

The state lists pay ranges for many positions however, unless you work or have worked for the state in the past, one can expect to start at the lowest salary. That's right, a person with minimum qualifications is more inclined to take the position over the most qualified. Why give a range if they intend to wage discriminate against experience? Using that Metric, I think our Junior Legislators should make $55K, and increment $5K for each 5 year increment they serve. Lets not forget they restructure the state pensions but preserved their own plan.

Anonymous said...

When the state closed mental health facilities and all the patients were moved into state government, it was only a matter of time until we reached this point.

Anonymous said...

"What an unmitigated shit head"

You, sir or madame, are a wordsmith.

Salute

Anonymous said...

Does anyone think these claims could be fake news as a result of the two bearded fat ladies that killed Grace?
I am here from the state to HELP?????

Anonymous said...

First they tempt you to opt out. Then they start decoupling the money for salaries from the state contribution. Has to be a catch. This may mean that unions can demand the county pay more than the old civil service charts. Could workout or could be a nightmare.

Anonymous said...

Problem: Civil Service Commission does little or no job advertising except on bulletin boards in state offices. When was the last time you went there? Doing away with them leads to political appointments esp of unqualified candidates.

Anonymous said...

You used to be able to take the civil service test locally. You now have to go to Harrisburg if you are in the Lehigh Valley area. This is a huge inconvenience. Opting out would be disastrous and the county would risk finding qualified applicants.