LIMA — The City of Lima’s Civil Service Board officially approved a change to the city’s “Rule of 10” Tuesday, opening up the city’s hiring lists to anyone who is able to score higher than a 70% on civil service-administered tests.
The change comes a month and a half after civil service board members initially discussed the rule change with the city administration during a public meeting. Board President Pilate Bradley Jr. thanked the civil service’s board secretary and the city’s legal department for putting in the effort to make it happen in a timely manner.
Initially requested by Mayor David Berger as part of a citywide call-to-action to address systemic racism in the days following the death of George Floyd, Berger said the new “Complete List” rule — contingent on city council approval — will help combat a consistent rumor in the city that has reduced the number of minorities applying for jobs with the city.
Under the original “Rule of 10,” the civil service board would screen applicants for a position using a combination of test scores and interview scores, and they would deliver the top 10 percent of performing applicants to the city for further consideration.
Berger, however, said the former rule had created too many scenarios where an interested individual would take the test and fail to get called back, or hired, and they would put the blame on unfair hiring principles. To combat the persistent rumor and the results it caused, Berger recommended further opening up the lists.
“Their sense of frustration over the years created a sense of ‘It’s not worth our while to take the test, because we’re not getting interviewed,’” Berger said. “And (the change) will cancel that.”
With the change in place, the city is hoping to hire more Black and minority candidates to better reflect the city’s diversity.
Bradley said the new “Complete List” rule won’t change how the board conducts its responsibilities, except for one difference. Initially, the civil service board members would interview high-testing applicants and rank them according to interview scores, but with the names of all passing test takers now going to the city, that process has become moot.
Instead, the civil service board will be checking with passing applicants to ensure that the city had reached out to them in order to keep the board’s oversight function.
“We definitely want checks and balances,” Bradley said.
It may be some time, however, before the city can put the new “Complete List” rule into practice. Due to a reduced economy, the City of Lima has implemented something of a hiring freeze until revenues rebound.
“We’re not trying to grow the workforce, but there are some essential positions that we expect will need to be maintained,” Berger said. “There will be some hiring in some positions, but overall we’re trying to shrink the headcount as we make sure we have a balanced budget as we go into next year.”
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.