Hiring Mechanisms



The long-term success and impact of the Pipeline depends on the partners choosing and leveraging an appropriate hiring mechanism.

This mechanism should enable program participants to not only be employed as full-time employees, but to also earn competitive wages and benefits and develop the necessary work experience that will make them eligible for more advanced career opportunities at the end of the program.







Exempt Employees


In many local governments, the Mayor or chief executive has the power to appoint a limited number of staff positions to fill senior official and other special roles.

These employees work at the pleasure of the executive and are classified as Exempt positions in the civil service (meaning exempt from the civil service hiring process).

There is typically a process for petitioning the relevant civil service oversight committee to create new Exempt positions or reclassify existing positions as Exempt.

How to Use This Mechanism

If your program leverages this hiring mechanism, then you would hire program participants into existing Exempt positions. Alternatively, you could petition to reclassify other positions as Exempt for the sole purpose of using them in the program.

Pros:

  • Easiest way to quickly hire new employees
  • Employees work directly for the government

Cons:

  • There is usually a limited number of Exempt positions
  • Petitioning for more positions may be an uphill battle
  • Some Exempt positions have a term limit of 12 months or less
  • Hiring a large number of new employees as Exempt may be viewed negatively by unions, community stakeholders, or government watchdogs


New Civil Service Title


Local governments have the ability to petition the civil service oversight committee to create new civil service titles that represent new types of jobs and positions.

The vast majority of government staff are employed under civil service titles that required them to take an exam in order to be hired (Competitive title) or were hired based on their relevant work experience (Non-Competitive title).

As the nature of jobs change and evolve, governments can create new civil service titles to better reflect new types of roles. However, the creation of new titles may require significant negotiations with local unions, so governments do not often create new titles.

How to Use This Mechanism

If your program leverages this hiring mechanism, then you would draft a proposal to the civil service oversight committee to create a new Non-Competitive title exclusively for use by program participants. You may also need to work with a union to make sure that the new title is represented by that union.

Pros:

  • Best option for building a sustainable pipeline into civil service
  • Employees work directly for the government
  • Bolsters union membership with new, young employees

Cons:

  • Petitioning for a new title may be an uphill battle
  • Approval process may be extremely long
  • May require negotiations with unions or other stakeholders


University Employees


Public universities typically have quasi-governmental agency status and, as a result, are able to more easily contract with local governments.

Local governments can utilize a variety of procurement vehicles—interagency agreements, memoranda of understanding (MOUs), etc.—with public universities, instead of going though a full request for proposals (RFP) process.

Public universities also may have the ability to hire staff more easily. Combined with the easier procurement options, hiring program participants through a public university might be a very compelling option.

How to Use This Mechanism

If your program leverages this hiring mechanism, then you would identify which procurement vehicles can be used between your local government and your public university partner and put in place a financial agreement in order to transfer funds from the government to the university.

The university would then hire program participants on behalf of the government. Although the program participants would be officially employed by the university, they would be de facto government employees.

Pros:

  • Avoids engaging with the civil service system
  • Does not increase government's headcount

Cons:

  • Employees are not directly employed by government
  • University may charge high fringe rates or additional fees for processing staff
  • Participants' salaries and benefits are not directly handled by government


Affiliated Non-Profit Employees


Many local governments and public universities have established separate non-profits in order to raise and leverage private and federal funding for research and special programs.

Your local government or public university might have an already-established memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the affiliated non-profit in order to facilitate the hiring of contractors and other temporary staff.

Non-profits can typically hire staff with very little process or timeline. As a result, hiring program participants through an affiliated non-profit might be a very compelling option.

How to Use This Mechanism

If your program leverages this hiring mechanism, then you would identify if there is an MOU already in place between your partners and any affiliated non-profits. You would then be able to transfer funds from a partner to the non-profit to hire program participants on behalf of the government. Although the program participants would be officially employed by the non-profit, they would be de facto government employees.

Pros:

  • Avoids engaging with the civil service system
  • Does not increase government's headcount
  • Provides ability to easily leverage private funding

Cons:

  • Employees are not directly employed by government
  • Non-profit may charge high fringe rates or additional fees for processing staff
  • Participants' salaries and benefits are not directly handled by government


Case Study: New York City


In New York City, we initially chose to hire the program participants through the Research Foundation of CUNY (RFCUNY), our public university partner's affiliated non-profit. The City of New York already had an MOU in place with RFCUNY for the purposes of consulting on government programs and hiring contractors.

For our Pipeline, program participants would technically be employed by RFCUNY, with their salaries and benefits paid for by the City. The participants would work for departments and be de facto City employees. However, RFCUNY charges an additional fee for hiring staff and the City would have neeed to pay to cover this other cost.

In order to build towards a more sustainable solution in the long-term, we also put together a proposal to the NYS Department of Civil Service that would create a new Non-Competitive civil service title for the exclusive purposes of our program. The proposal asked for 100 positions of the new title, with more positions to be authorized in the future if the program is successful.

The City's proposal was actually approved in a record-setting two months. As a result, the City opted to leverage the new civil service title and forgo hiring participants via RFCUNY.