The Civil Service Commission has been topping the news over the past few months for many different reasons. Civil Service obviously serves an important role in city government. But the hearing for the four commissioners last week has left many wondering precisely what that role is.
"It provides the safeguards for both management and the employees with having a strong system of checks and balances," CAO Mike McGrevey says.
Basically, the commissioners are there to ensure fairness from the very beginning of an employee's tenure until the end, starting with the hiring process. Civil Service monitors testing for city employees, making sure examinations are fair and providing the mayor with a list of eligibles.
"The Civil Service Commission makes sure that those people that are deemed eligible based on their test scores, that list is sent up to the mayor's office so that I and the department heads can look at, review that list and the department head can choose that person that they want to put in that position," Mayor Percy Bland says.
Once an employee is hired on, Civil Service acts as a sort of liaison on personnel issues, giving a voice to employees who feel they've been wronged.
"The Civil Service Commission is there in terms of assisting us and making sure that the process is fair and equitable throughout the entire process," McGrevey says. "It's a team approach that has to occur throughout the entire employment process."
And finally, Civil Service deals with terminations. The commissioners hold meetings once a month, during which, they hold hearings for any employee who feels he or she was wrongfully fired.
"Civil Service employees get recourse through the Civil Service Commission to hear those hearings and to have some checks and balances to ensure that any decisions that management makes, we also give the employees a voice, and to be fair and equitable with any of those processes or decisions that have been made," the mayor explains.