October 15, 2012

Proposal to Strip University of Position Exemption Authority Moves Forward

Is her job AP or Civil Service? Right now, the University decides, but SUCCS is trying to get
the State to change the rules. (Photo courtesy American Association of Dental Editors.)
A PROPOSAL that would strip the University of its position exemption authority—its ability to create Academic Professional positions exempt from being Civil Service without outside approval—is winding its way through the State administrative rules process.

LAST YEAR, the proposal was in a bill passed by the Illinois State Senate, but it was tabled in the House and did not take effect. The State Universities Civil Service System (SUCSS) then took the proposal, which would move position exemption authority from the University to SUCSS, to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), a committee featuring Senate and House members that reviews administrative rules of State agencies.
HERE ARE several serious negative implications should this rule go into effect:
  • If the University loses its exemption authority, it would cause significant delays in hiring processes. Any new AP position would have to be approved by SUCSS.
  • UIC has a network of Human Resources (HR) professionals who are able to efficiently and accurately process these transactions. If the change is implemented, the process would be managed by an external agency that is disconnected from the University’s day-to-day HR operations and UIC’s campus-specific HR needs.
  • SUCSS has only about 13 staff. If this change is implemented, the work currently supported by dedicated UIC HR staff will have to be absorbed by these 13 SUCSS staff members who already have full-time job responsibilities. SUCSS does not have the capacity to absorb the HR transactions from the entire UIC campus, much less all 13 State Universities that they support.
IN THE Oct. 6 issue of the News-Gazette of Champaign-Urbana, Maureen Parks, Executive Director and Associate Vice President of Human Resources for the University, was quoted as saying losing the exemption authority would be “very, very negative in terms of our ability to quickly hire the employees we need to fill critical positions.”

THE PROPOSED rule was published in the Illinois Register, the rulebook for Illinois governmental agencies, on March 9, and the public was given 45 days to comment. A second comment period will be held at an unspecified time in the future. SUCSS is considering revising the language in the proposed rule change to include more specific guidelines on the review process.

TO CONTACT JCAR, e-mail jcar@ilga.gov or call (217) 785-2254.

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