My County Makes Personnel Decisions Using Game Of Musical Chairs

Posted: May 23, 2012 in Current Events
Tags: , ,

Grab a chair everyone! Computer operator is up for grabs! Losers go into the janitor pool!

No, they are not actually using musical chairs.  Though that would actually make as much sense.  The personnel process that actually gets used during layoffs is called “bumping and rifting”.

What is “bumping and rifting” you may ask?  No, it’s not some new and possibly vulgar dance.  Let me see if I can explain it.  When the county needs to downsize, they eliminate positions, not individuals.  Anyone who has had his or her position eliminated can then invoke their “bumping rights”.  At that point, the personnel board will look at the person’s qualification file based on the exam they took when they were first hired and if this person is deemed to meet the minimum qualifications for another lower position and have more years of experience with the county than the person currently holding that person, the “bumped” person replaces the current holder of the job.  Yes, even if the person currently holding the job has years of experience doing that job and are very good at it while the “bumper” may have no relevant experience for that position at all.

Now the person who just lost his/her job to the “bumper” due to, well frankly, shitty luck, is considered to have been “rifted”.  The “rifter” can now invoke HIS/HER “bumping rights” and the whole process begins again until either everyone who is left gives up or you reach the bottom of the barrel of the job hierarchy making “bumping” impossible.  (What’s more crazy is that a “rifted” employee remains “rifted” even if the “bumper” decides to quit instead of accepting his/her new position.  Once you’re “bumped”, you’re “bumped”.)  Anyway, as you can imagine, when you have a high number of layoffs like you have when a county is bankrupt, with this system not only do you lose employees but you also force a lot of people into new positions they are not trained for even if the job that they ARE trained for still exists.  Smart, right?

But before you go away thinking ‘yep, more stupid government’, let me tell you that this is NOT the government’s doing.  The state mandates that an independent board oversees the county’s personnel decisions.  The Jefferson County personnel board is run by a 3 member board that is appointed by a commission made up of 17 ‘civic leaders’ from the community.  So this is actually just a case of the county following the rules, but not making them.  And it proves that people outside of the government framework are fully capable of creating just as dumb and inefficient policies (or maybe even more dumb).

If it’s going to be this dumb, may I suggest alternatives?  Maybe we could put positions up for grabs in games of dodgeball?  How about a game of H.O.R.S.E?  Maybe though give everyone H.O.R.S. and make it sudden-death style!  Let’s bring some fun into the dumb process!

Read more here:  Bumping And Rifting Leaves Jefferson County In A Lurch



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