April 25, 2012

Campus Voices Opposition: 600 Pages of Comments Delivered Opposing Changes to Civil Service Administrative Code

PROPOSED CHANGES to the Civil Service System Administrative Code would take “exemption authority” (the University’s ability to exempt positions from Civil Service regulations and create new Academic Professional positions) away from all Illinois State Universities and move it to the State University Civil Service System (SUCSS).  

THE AP constituencies on each campus were contacted with the opportunity to provide comments on the change via an online form. APs were offered four prepared responses (detailed below) from which respondents could choose. Respondents also had the option to submit their own comments. The form was available from March 26 to April 7; once completed, the comments were compiled by the University Professional Personnel Advisory Committee (UPPAC) and electronically delivered to the Abby Daniels at the State Universities Civil Service System on April 9; a 600-page hard copy was also delivered on April 11.

Comment Response Rate
  • Chicago: 289
  • Urbana-Champaign: 273
  • Springfield: 22
  • Total Respondents: 584
Summary of Concerns
550 RESPONDENTS indicated: The University of Illinois has hundreds of Human Resources professionals who work in collaboration to efficiently process these transactions. These employees are in the best position to make informed, accurate, and compliant decisions for our campus. If the proposed amendment to SUCSS Section Number 250.30 is implemented, the AP hiring process would be managed by an external agency that is disconnected from our day-to-day HR operations and our campus-specific Human Resources needs. These employees are not in the best position to make informed, accurate and compliant decisions for our campus.

546 RESPONDENTS indicated: If the proposed amendment to SUCSS Section Number 250.30 is implemented, it would cause significant delays in our hiring processes and unnecessarily disrupt our normal operations.

488 RESPONDENTS indicated: The proposed amendment to SUCSS Section Number 250.30 could be implemented as early as May; a critical window for hiring new employees to replace retirees (we anticipate significant retirements prior to July 1, 2012, as a result of the changes to the SURS Money Purchase formula). This poorly timed implementation could result in inopportune hiring delays that seriously jeopardize vital University operations.

472 RESPONDENTS indicated: SUCSS has only 11 staff. If the proposed amendment to SUCSS Section Number 250.30 is implemented, the work currently performed in collaboration by a network of hundreds of dedicated University HR staff will have to be absorbed by these 11 SUCSS staff members who are disconnected from UIC HR and already have full-time job responsibilities. SUCSS does not have the capacity to absorb these HR transactions from our entire University, much less all 11 State Universities that they support.

308 RESPONDENTS provided additional comments.  There was great diversity in the concerns raised – several highlights follow, but this is not a fully representative or inclusive list:

  • There is a tremendous potential for negative impact on the UI research enterprise. Once funded, work on sponsored programs is expected to begin immediately. If this amendment is implemented, it could cause hiring delays that would jeopardize sponsored project funding. 
  • Various factors (including the hiring freeze, State budget, and increased retirements) have resulted in vacant positions going unfilled and the workload has been shifted to the remaining staff.  If the proposed amendment is implemented, it will exacerbate this problem – many staff are already working at capacity and cannot continue to absorb additional responsibilities.
  • Additional concerns were voiced at Chicago’s Medical Center, where hiring delays could negatively impact patient care services.

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