PORTSMOUTH — For the two years and four months that Derek K. Allen has been Portsmouth City Manager, other than the required hiring of police and fire personnel as mandated by the City Charter, he has allowed jobs to become vacant. He has not replaced the positions — a total of 15 jobs.
“Other than hiring my assistant when I came on board, we haven’t hired any employees,” Allen said. “So now we’re going to hire three new employees.”
On March 22 and March 23, Allen interviewed two people each of those days for the cashier and clerk typist II position. He interviewed another person for that position on March 24, two more on March 29 and another on March 30.
“I strongly believe in trying to hire quality applicants,” Allen said. “It’s harder to get rid of poor employees than it is to hire good employees. But if you hire good employees, it pays off in the long run.”
Last year the Civil Service Commission went through the process of reorganizing their rules and the city will now utilize Civil Service testing for all hires.
“We are now doing Civil Service testing,” Allen said. “We did Civil Service testing for clerk typist or secretary’s position in Engineering. We also did it for the cashier’s position in the Utilities Accounting Department.”
Conditional letters of employment were offered to two individuals for the position of cashier and one individual for the position of clerk typist II. He said the city is awaiting background checks and drug-screening.
“We are doing our due dilligence in hiring good quality people,” Allen said. “We will be doing Civil Service testing for dispatchers and also for laborers for Water, Sewer, Streets and Sanitation.”
In other changes in positions, Allen recently swore in Travis Garrett to the position of captain in the fire department and Christopher Thoroughman as lieutenant in the same department. The fire department is conducting interviews from the current firefighter list in order to fill three vacancies, and, as of Monday, 20 people have signed up to that the dispatcher exam through Civil Service.
The police department is evaluating the three remaining names on the current patrol officer list to fill the upcoming opening in the police department due to the imminent retirement of detective James Charles.
Allen said ads have also been placed to accept applications for pool manager and lifeguards this summer at the city-owned McKinley Pool.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.