APAC’s Laura Myers introduces the panel consisting of Anniese Lemond, Maureen Parks, and Tom Morelock at the Civil Service Audit Update for APs Town Hall Meeting Dec. 14.
IN THE face of the planned conversions of Academic Professionals to Civil Service employees at UIC, a crowd of approximately 175 once again was on hand for an APAC Town Hall meeting on Dec. 14 for a session entitled “Civil Service Audit Update for APs.”
TOM MORELOCK, Executive Director of the State Universities Civil Service System of Illinois; Maureen Parks, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources, University Administration, and Anniese Lemond, Director of Compensation, UIC, comprised the roster of speakers. Then-Chair of the APAC Building Community and Education Subcommittee Laura Myers welcomed the crowd.
MORELOCK EXPLAINED that the Civil Service system is “decentralized,” and that Civil Service allows the various employers within its system, such as the University of Illinois, to manage its business but within the confines of the Civil Service legislation and the rules established by the System Office.
CIVIL SERVICE, Morelock continued, has “a complex classification plan. We have over 1,200 classifications. The assumption is that every employee should be Civil Service unless exempted. Every two years we go to the campus to see if positions are correctly classified or should be exempt.”
DURING THE 2008 audit, SUCSS examined a number of Academic Professional positions at UIC. The campus received three audit findings related to employment classifications as a result – (1) inadequate position management process for APs, (2) improper exemption for AP jobs that should be classified as Civil Service, and (3) improper exemption for Academic Hourly jobs that should be classified as Civil Service.
“THE CAMPUS has undertaken a major effort to remedy this as a result of our findings,” Morelock said. “They’ve put a system in place that will address the problems.”
“THE CIVIL Service system is a statutory requirement,” Parks noted.
“HOW DID we get to this point?” she continued. “Why this big project? UIC has grown quickly and changed a lot over the last 15 years. There was a lot of decentralization in hiring. Units didn’t know about Civil Service’s procedures and rules that already were in place. I have been working closely with Tom and his staff and have been able to work out many issues.”
“IN 2009, Civil Service looked at us again and still saw some problems, so that’s when UIC really started working on this,” Parks said. “For example, we have completed job analyses of APs at the Medical Center.”
“THE JOB analysis consists of collecting everything we need to know about a job,” Lemond explained. “We purchased a software application that allows us to perform job analyses much more quickly. But it’s still a big, thorough, comprehensive process.”
ANALYSIS SHOWS that there are AP jobs that meet the Civil Service guidelines for being Civil Service. “They have to be converted over,” Parks said. “We are working with Civil Service to convert the right positions and be fair.”
THE JOB review process involves collecting job data from the job holders in various manners (e.g. position questionnaires, interviews, etc.). The process began in January 2010 and will continue throughout 2011.
BASED ON experience to-date with the job analysis process, UIC HR is anticipating that more conversions will occur within the next several months as the campus progresses through the job analysis process. Any current AP job that substantially matches a Civil Service classification must be converted to Civil Service.
THERE IS no specific number or planned amount of conversions.
MANY APs have been concerned about being converted to Civil Service, and do not fully understand the process or the implications. Parks noted that many things will not change for APs who are converted to Civil Service, such as health benefits and the State Universities Retirement System.
“THERE ARE some benefits that are better for Civil Service personnel,” she said. “They can take advantage of a tuition waiver not only at UIC, but at all State universities. APs don’t have that benefit. Some Civil Service personnel earn more vacation time than APs, too.”
“WE’RE NOT here to punish employees,” Morelock asserted. “Our conversion process mentions that we don’t want to harm employees.”
MORELOCK URGED people to give Civil Service a call or an e-mail when they have a question. “We don’t want you to think negatively about the process,” he said. Morelock’s phone number is (217) 278-3150 and his e-mail is email@example.com.
CIVIL SERVICE has the “bumping” provision, in which a Civil Service employee with higher seniority may be able to “bump” an employee with lower seniority out of a job. An audience member said, “As a manager my concern is selection and retention of employees.”
PARKS RESPONDED, “I have had employees affected through bumping and layoff, but there are ways you can attach specific requirements and qualifications to a job so a person unqualified for the job cannot bump the current job holder.”
MORELOCK ADDED that there is a misconception that “we give a test irrelevant to the job and come up with three candidates that you don’t want to hire. That’s not us. The Human Resources office will review resumes, and there will be a qualified resume-based hire.”
IN RESPONSE to the Town Hall, APAC Chair Michael Moss stated, “The conversion of Academic Professionals continues to be one of APAC’s chief concerns. We are privileged to be in communication with Maureen Parks and Anniese Lemond on this topic. I’m hopeful other APs realize that it is themselves – individual employees – who are impacted by the conversions, both professionally and personally. I would like to encourage all APs to better understand what is going on and how it may impact them, as well as their colleagues and their department. In my opinion, it is critical that individual APs become informed and get actively involved.”
APAC WILL host another Town Hall meeting on this subject in the near future, hopefully in February or March. To learn more about what is going on, you can review the HR Civil Service Audit and Job Analysis webpage here (it is updated regularly):