LIMA — After fielding many complaints about the time it was taking for civil service hirings, members of the Lima City Council Human Resources Committee met Tuesday to discuss possible changes into the hiring practices to make them more time-efficient.
Committee Chairwoman Paige Townsend said the committee was having the first of several planned meetings that will take place.
“Hopefully we will develop a road map and establish a time frame,” Townsend said during the meeting. “There are many communities out there with the same issues. Our goal is to identify a process where we can find the best candidate for the jobs.”
The rules for hiring through the civil service process in the city were put in place and 1965 and have had no major changes since. Townsend said the committee will also set a goal to make the process gender and racially neutral.
Lima Law Director Tony Geiger gave a brief overview of the civil service hiring process, and he said the key to developing a system fair to everyone will take time.
“The current rules anticipated that there would be an eligibility list at all times for hiring,” Geiger said. “That proved to be inefficient and costly. There are many factors to consider. Finding a valid test takes time. Then you have to determine how to mechanically and procedurally administer the test. You have to find a place to give the test and there are other people competing for sites. There has to be a certain amount of time for publication and study time.”
Potential civil service jobs in Lima are hired through the Civil Service Board, which is a part-time, appointed board. Geiger said often it is not reasonable to expect a part-time board to be able to schedule meetings and that to make the process quicker, more flexibility may fall back to that board. The board currently uses the “Rule of 10” process, which puts the top 10 candidates in a pool to be hired. Geiger said one possibility for the council to consider would be redefining who qualifies for consideration.
Other issues discussed included finding a permanent location for testing, possibly shifting some decision responsibilities to administration, or communicating more through emails for items that do not require official public meetings.
Jaqueline Tyre, who has served on the Civil Service Board for 11 years, said the board recently put a practice in place this past August that will help with the timeline.
“There were a lot of gray areas because every job was different,” Tyre said. There were some restrictions for some jobs that others did not have. There is a form now that gives us those parameters.
Tyre said eliminating city residency requirements would possibly speed the process up.
“Right now we are in the process of identifying steps that can be changed or ones that cannot be eliminated,” Geiger said.
A Council of the Whole committee meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 29 to specifically focus on the “Rule of 10” practice.