COMMUNITY PROFILE: The Rockland County Department of Personnel Administers Civil Service Employment Law

BY BARRY WARNER

Commissioner Joan M. Silvestri has the authority to adopt civil service rules governing both county government employees and employees of local municipal agencies such as towns, libraries and school districts.
Commissioner Joan M. Silvestri has the authority to adopt civil service rules governing both county government employees and employees of local municipal agencies such as towns, libraries and school districts.

You’ve probably heard of the Department of Personnel but what exactly is it?

The commissioner of the Dept. of Personnel has the authority to adopt civil service rules governing both county government employees and employees of local municipal agencies such as towns, libraries and school districts. The Department of Personnel conducts civil service examinations for competitive titles, establishes and maintains eligible lists for filling positions, classifies positions and develops job specifications, interprets civil service law and rules bearing upon employment, promotion, discipline and discharge and maintains employment records of classified civil service employees.

Commissioner Joan M. Silvestri said, “This department is responsible for all of civil service in Rockland County, supporting 43 local municipalities, schools and libraries. For any type of work being done, municipalities come to us and describe the knowledge, skills, abilities and job specifications for the positions sought. Then, the New York State Department of Civil Service develops the exam and a matrix to test certain skills and interpretation of written communications. There are competitive exams for attorneys, accountants and social workers plus non-competitive exams for laborers and highway positions. We have produce announcements, verify the skill-sets and test thousands of people for 116 separate exams that are usually given every few Saturdays. The lists of exam results are promulgated, people are notified and the lists are maintained. We follow the ‘one in three’ rule, when the top three exam scorers are interviewed for the position and one of the three is hired. We balance the long lists with the short lists to provide qualified people to be hired. The department tries to stay ahead of the curve. The department has 30 staff and 150 people to monitor the exams. During the police exam, 2,000 applicants were tested and 100 monitors supervised the exam.”

Rockland County Office of Personnel staff member Debbie Randazzo is providing an original application and job description to an individual interested in taking a civil service examination.
Rockland County Office of Personnel staff member Debbie Randazzo is providing an original application and job description to an individual interested in taking a civil service examination.

Silvestri continued, “We have the responsibility of going through the payroll of 43 municipalities. The salaries should be in accordance with civil service law and each position correctly titled. We provide guidance to departments regarding staffing, layoffs, labor contracts, early retirement incentives and bumping rights. We send people notifications of layoffs, hold meetings plus provide a great deal of information with the following support: writing resumes, applying for unemployment, applying for new positions and developing up-to-date skill-sets. The county is downsizing, job titles are combining, job descriptions are expanding and people are being asked to do more with less. Merit and fitness are important and removing the patronage process provides confidence in the system to the public.”

 A large number of applicants for the civil service police exam are seated in the cafeteria at North Rockland High School and are listening to the monitor’s instructions before taking the test.
A large number of applicants for the civil service police exam are seated in the cafeteria at North Rockland High School and are listening to the monitor’s instructions before taking the test.

Civil service examinations test a candidate’s qualifications for a particular civil service title, such as open competitive or promotional. Exams may be administered in a variety of ways, such as written exams, performance exams, computerized exams or evaluation of training and experience. Current job openings include Purchaser 1; Senior Purchasing Clerk; Stationary Engineer; Sewer District 1 (many job opportunities); Director of Medical Services; Senior Physical Therapist and NYS licensed RN’s. A person may apply by submitting a signed hard copy original application from the RC Office of Personnel or completing a type-able PDF application form, signing and submitting it by mail or in person.

For further information: 845-638-5200 or http://www.rocklandgov.com/departments/personnel/ www.rocklandgov.com/departments/personnel