For a reason no one seems to be able to explain, the city of Portsmouth, over the last several years has only utilized the Civil Service exams when hiring members of the Police Department and Fire Department. That is about to change.
During the evening a discussion developed surrounding the city manager’s request to hire an additional employee in the Utility Billing department. Sixth Ward Councilman Tom Lowe asked if it was going to be an advertised position.
“Civil Service test,” Portsmouth City Manager Derek K. Allen said. “In the past for whatever reason, and I don’t know the full history, but only Police and Fire was going through Civil Service. So now we are going to utilize Civil Service tests for AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) positions. So there will be an ad coming up in February for the test for two AFSCME positions and that’s the first time that’s been done probably since at least the 70s.”
Second Ward Councilwoman Jo Ann Aeh said it was after 1988 when they quit using Civil Service exams to hire AFSCME employees.
“So you will see that in the paper, ads for taking the Civil Service exam for two positions.” Allen said. “I think it’s a good step in the right direction.”
Portsmouth City Solicitor John Haas serves on the city’s Civil Service Commission.
“I didn’t know it was 1988. I only know that since I have been here when there’s hires, you’re always like – how’d that happen? Why didn’t that go through Civil Service? Our Civil Service Commission right now is very very interested in this city hiring the best people that we can for the positions that are open,” Haas said. “A lot of the positions obviously started out at the bottom, so to speak, and worked their ways up to more difficult jobs and I think this is definitely a step in the right direction. I’m glad that the city manager indicated he was going to hire a couple of people. We just got our Civil Service rules through and now they’re done and now we’re ready to roll on it.”