Re "State: Nine Yonkers City Hall appointees must take Civil Service test" (The Journal News article dated June 25, 2009), the state Department of Civil Service rejected Yonkers' request to reclassify the positions of six provisional employees in the mayor's office, seeking to remove these employees from Civil Service testing.
Yonkers withdrew requests to reclassify jobs for seven other provisional employees before the state could rule. One of those seven, mayoral spokesman David Simpson, stated the Yonkers Civil Service Commission planned to "retool the job descriptions for the rejected and withdrawn positions and resubmit them to the state." This can only mean the city may again create new titles for these individuals, which they often do when employees serve past the nine-month maximum.
Simpson praised Yonkers' low rate of provisional employees, noting "the mayor believes he should pick employees he trusts for jobs in his office and not have to rely on Civil Service lists," and "the people who work in the executive office have to deal with a number of sensitive policy matters and political matters." What Mr. Simpson omitted is that the state Civil Service Commission, in denying the exemptions, noted various staff had been around for several years in various titles, further likening these positions to "high level support clerical positions." Their duties were in no way comparable to the confidential city council aides as suggested.
Civil Service law helps ensure taxpayers have a public workforce selected according to merit and fitness. It is the only safeguard preventing politicians from exploiting taxpayer-funded positions.
The author is the Yonkers City Councilwoman representing District 3.