Job Postings

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 3, 2008

Job postings just common courtesy

To judge by the fast and furious pace comments have come to The Panolian Web site, a policy to notify the public about county job openings is an urgent idea whose time has come.

We realize anonymous responses should not be allowed too much weight, but possibly no other topic has drawn the quick, terse responses of so many readers as has this issue of notifying the public when a county position becomes open.

Interest is compounded as county supervisors are in the interview stage of hiring a new county administrator, the county’s chief operating officer.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Supervisors agreed to advertise for the administrator’s position, listing minimum requirements they expected of applicants. Of the 13 applications received, several do not meet the minimum requirements but will be interviewed just as those who do meet all requirements.

One supervisor commented that the county received more applicants for the job of sanitation supervisor, which wasn’t advertised, than were received for the advertised position of administrator.

Excuse us.

The board set standards for the administrator’s position that included a college degree. That would eliminate at least three-fourths of the citizens of the county.

And now they are going to interview all who applied?

Anyone in private business who has ever been on the business end of an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) inquiry would shudder at the thought.

The county has virtually discouraged the masses from applying for the position and now is going to consider all who applied, even if they lacked the minimum requirements?

Although the board attorney correctly stated that the  county does not have to advertise job openings — “You’re doing what the law requires” ­— the law doesn’t state that the county shall not notify the general public of openings in positions of employment.

Most of the comments have addressed the “good ole boy” network of obtaining jobs and services from government officials. And several have addressed perceived racial discrimination among hirings and services.

Let us state here that the “good ole boy” network knows no color and there are “good ole brother and sister” networks as well.

And it should be understood that many of those complaining would be mute if they were on the “hired” side of the perceived system.

Elected and appointed officials should have the right to hire the best employees available. And Tax Collector David Garner was correct in noting that you can’t tell about a person from a piece of paper. One bad employee can turn an entire department or office sour.

On the other hand, citizens feel like stockholders in government, especially in local government where we pay the taxes, vote in elections and see the results up close and personal.

Posting notices on obscure bulletin boards at the courthouses in Batesville and Sardis is a step in the right direction, but it is not a policy that truly puts the word out that a position is open. (Some may think this editorial is written to increase the newspaper’s public notice revenue. It’s not.)

There are too many Panola natives who have moved away for lack of local opportunity. Many of those would move back given that opportunity. Likewise many who drive out of county for employment would love the opportunity to work in their home county and avoid the excessive miles in these days of high fuel prices.

They deserve an opportunity to know what positions are and will be open and to likewise apply.

One need look no further than the South Panola School District board who hired a superintendent through a process defined before applications were accepted. An outside firm was paid to help in the process to assure that the best applicants were obtained. That firm advertised regionally and nationally, weeded through the applications, and presented a list of top candidates to the trustees. Trustees then went through the interview process and included input from the public in the form of Q &A sessions.

In the end, school trustees probably got who they wanted with a known commodity in Dr. Keith Shaffer. As a bonus, Shaffer turned around and hired two of the remaining three finalists–one as a high school principal and the other as a district curriculum director. The district benefitted from the process.

The school district also keeps an open application process for bus drivers and assistant teachers, posts teacher vacancies on the State Department of Education’s Web site and advertises for administrative positions on the school’s Web site.

This policy is approved by a volunteer board as opposed to the paid supervisor board which currently has no written policy.

It would just be common courtesy to make known to anyone who wants to know about an open position of employment in government.

Meanwhile, to the victor belong the spoils.