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A wet Friday's musings

Friday, finally. So, why is it that short weeks always feel so long? Hmm, long is actually the wrong adjective. Compressed perhaps. No, overstuffed.

The Server that Did Not Want to Be is now behaving and happily soaking up firewall logs. Rick, the regional SE from the vendor will be out Monday next to help me whip the logging into shape (and get our real licenses installed before the 21-day trial expires).

• I had my annual review with the boss this morning. He evidently likes what I'm doing and wants me to keep doing it. I guess it's a case of being my own harshest critic: I see all the things that slipped through the cracks, he sees mountains that got moved.

Reviews are an odd thing; until you've been with the school system long enough to qualify for a longevity bonus, the review is pass/fail. Anything from "meets minimum requirements" to "outstanding" gets you your annual step increase. Only an "inadequate" will keep you from getting a raise. The longevity bonus is pegged to your actual rating, but it's a pittance anyway. From an organizational perspective, the whole process could be boiled down to a form that looks like this:

Annual Review

Eployee name                    
Eployee ID no.                    

Check one:

I'm not even going to get into the situation on the City side of the shop. Back a couple of years, when the Operations Division reported to me, I had staff who had not had a performance review since I was in grade school. City staff get reviewed exactly once: when you decide that they have satisfied their initial probation. You fill out a review form to make them a permanent employee and that's it. They're yours until death do you part.

Any way, next week I'll be giving my one school employee his official annual review and my on City employee his "informal performance appraisal." We wouldn't want to get the City union all in a lather or anything.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 9th, 2005 11:20 am (UTC)
No annual reviews? ... And there you have another reason why the city administration is dysfunctional.

But you knew that already.
Jul. 9th, 2005 12:54 pm (UTC)
For most of the policies that make no sense on the surface, you can see a valid reason why they were put in place if you look at the policy through the lense of "what kind of abuse is this designed to prevent?" In the case of not reviewing staff, the policy is there to prevent political firings: the party in power changes and does a wholesale sweep of the employees of other party... However, this also makes it harder to fire someone for cause.
Jul. 9th, 2005 01:39 pm (UTC)
It says a *lot* that both political hirings and political firings are so normal there that this kind of thing sort of makes sense. Hirings at all but the topmost levels should be politically neutral - but obviously they're not.

I wonder what it would take to change that culture.
Jul. 9th, 2005 10:05 pm (UTC)
Many things in the City have checks-and-balances built in that have the hallmarks of anti-political mechanisms. Take the hiring process, for instance. We write the job requirements. Personnel posts the job and reviews the applicants, assigning each a score. They give us a list of the top three candidates (a certified candidates list, or cert list). We interview the three and either take one or reject all three. If we reject the whole slate with cause, Personnel will generate a new cert list. If we hit the bottom of the pile without selecting a candidate, they re-post the job. All of this is to prevent a manager from engaging in nepotism or cronyism.

Of course, this only applies to civil service jobs. Many of the high-level jobs in the Mayor's office are outside of civil service and political favoritism is rampant.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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