I served for 30 years as a member of the Lima Civil Service Board along with Mike Bender as secretary of the board. I am writing in response to Mayor David Berger’s attempt to politicize public hiring by eliminating the current “Rule of 10”.
During my time on the board, I served with numerous civic minded citizens, including William Davenport, Tony Geiger, Paul Mullenhour and Lou Francis. Mayor Berger regularly attempted the get the board to change the rules and lower the standards. None of the members with whom I served favored making any changes to the rules. This includes Bill Davenport, who had been an excellent police chief and a strict disciplinarian, and who never wanted any changes made to the standards.
Lima has always offered competitive wages, excellent fringe benefits, and job security. When Lima hires applicants for positions such as police, fire and water treatment, the city pays for their required training. In the county and surrounding townships, potential employees must pay for the own training and be certified before they are considered for hiring. It is my feeling that because of this, the city deserves the best possible employees, and changing the rules will only result in lesser qualified applicants being hired.
Previous civil service boards made every effort to hire minority applicants. We recommended study materials to help them pass the tests, and even held study sessions before the tests were given. We received very little response to our efforts. It makes no sense to try to hire people who make no effort to prepare themselves for these lifetime positions.
Jack Somerville, Lima