Hilliard Northwest News

Civil service commission's role to change


Hilliard officials say they will assume control of the testing and hiring of all classified and unclassified employees for the city and the Hilliard City Schools, but they do not plan to abolish the Hilliard Civil Service Commission.

The Civil Service Commission had administered testing and hiring for all classified employees of the city and school district. It will remain in place to consider disciplinary matters, hear grievances and assist with testing procedures as requested by the city or school district, officials said.

After Hilliard established a human-resources department in 2004, the department began overseeing the testing and hiring of unclassified employees.

Gerald Edwards, director of the human-resources department, said it would be efficient for his department to oversee the hiring of classified and unclassified employees and could be accomplished without additional staff members.

An ordinance amending the rules of the Hilliard Civil Service Commission was introduced at the June 23 meeting of City Council's finance and administration committee.

"It will bring many of the functions (of the civil service commission) in house to the human-resources department (but) the civil service commission will still consider demotions, terminations (and) grievances," Law Director Tracy Bradford said.

The civil service commission, human-resources department and the school district discussed the rule changes in creating the draft ordinance.

"The school district has reviewed the draft and it is a document we all support," Bradford said.

Chairman Robert Domer represented the three-member civil service commission at the June 23 committee meeting.

Domer, a member of the commission for 33 years, said it "was time to move the commission into the 21st century," acknowledging that collective bargaining and other changes in employment practices warranted the move.

Domer thanked city officials for the not abolishing the commission as some other central Ohio municipalities have done in the recent past.

The ordinance also amends a testing practice by reducing a veterans' scoring bonus from 20 percent to 10 percent.

In the past, veterans received a 20 percent bonus to their test scores, often moving them to the top tiers of the hire or promotion list.

Mayor Don Schonhardt said the policy would open the door for the hiring of more women and minorities while still providing veterans with the advantageous credit they deserve.

"Not hiring more women and minorities has been an issue for me," Schonhardt said.

He said such candidates are seldom considered because of the large number of veterans whose bonuses place them at the top of hire and promotion lists.

"We think we have reached a harmonious conclusion on the issues," Edwards said.

The ordinance is scheduled for introduction and a first reading by City Council on July 14.