June Class Study Update

Submitted by Clay Butcher on June 23, 2010 - 9:30am

We are now in the final weeks of the Eligibility Technician (ET) and Workforce Development Specialist (WDS) Class Study. Since April, Ellie, the regional managers, and I have been providing feedback on recommendations presented by the Division of Personal on the proposed series and class structure, class specifications, minimum qualifications, job titles, and salary ranges. Our focus, as always is to promote and ensure the best possible outcome from the study for our staff and for the agency at large. It is has been our expectation from the start that the purpose of the study should be to assist us in having a work force that supports our mission to promote self-sufficiency and provide for basic living expenses to Alaskans in need by being better positioned to recruit, retain, and provide professional development and career advancement for our staff.

Job Class and Series Structure: Following the review of the position descriptions and interviews with subject matter experts, , DOP recommended a revised structure for the Job Classes and Series which, after considerable discussion, we have accepted. The final draft class specifications (see attached) provide more information about the distinguishing characteristics of the class and series structure.

• The Eligibility Technician series remains at four job classes:
1. Eligibility Technician I
2. Eligibility Technician II
3. Eligibility Technician III
4. Eligibility Technician IV

• ET I - The ETI/II flex positions will be discontinued and the ET I will be a stand-alone job class.
Under the current structure, there was a constant struggle to address the incongruity between the six month probationary period for the ET I and the twelve months required to provide training needed for a new employee to function at the Eligibility Technician II level. To address this issue, the trainee option was removed from the Eligibility Technician I and training for ET II-level work will be conducted under the twelve-month probationary period of the Eligibility Technician II.

The ETI job class will now be focused on specific programs that DOP considers to be less complex and requiring less of an interface with other programs. It will also serve as a point of entry for applicants who may not otherwise qualify for the ET II level.

• ET II - With the exception of changes to the minimum qualifications in order to facilitate recruitment at the journey level, the Eligibility Technician II job class remains fundamentally unchanged.

• ET III – This job class remains largely unchanged though the current option of having an ET III supervise a small office has been removed from the class specifications.

• ET IV – This remains a supervisory job class. However, the supervisory focus of this job class is now linked to the supervision of staff and the operations of a discrete eligibility unit within an office.

• EOM - The Eligibility Office Manager (EOM) job class (discontinued over 10 years ago) has been resurrected and expanded to recognize supervisory duties and responsibilities involving the direct management of the staff and operations of one or more offices and directing the activities of subordinate supervisors. This series is composed of two classes:
1. Eligibility Office Manager I
2. Eligibility Office Manager II

• WDS – DOP contends that the current body of work does not continue to support the Workforce Development job classes.

The current WDS positions will be incorporated into the appropriate ET job class. This is a reflection of the shift over time in the primary focus of work conducted by the WDS job class. As Temporary Assistance caseloads declined and caseloads for other programs grew, the duties and responsibilities of these positions shifted predominately toward eligibility determinations. As part of the allocation process, the WDS positions will be allocated to ET positions that are aligned with the duties and responsibilities described by the current WDS position description.

Allocations: DOP provided us with tentative individual allocations. All of the allocations are based on the revised job class specifications and our assessment of the allocations must also be based on the revised specifications. The individual allocations were reviewed against DOP’s recommended class specifications and series structure. It was determined that there were no reconsiderations for specific PCNs needed at this time. I plan on providing more specific information about the individual allocations once DOP is prepared to release the final report on the allocations.

Salary Ranges: I know the most pressing thing on the mind of everyone is salary ranges. However, final salary ranges have yet to be determined. In March we received a preliminary recommendation that, while promising, was not fully acceptable and we provided the Division of Personnel (DOP) with additional information for their consideration.

On June 11th, we received new recommendations that we could not agree to or support. We have asked DOP for further clarification on their methodology for assigning salary ranges and their justification for the change between their initial recommendation and the information we received on June 11. I am as eager and anxious about this issue as anyone and we will likely not know the outcome until the study is finished. I will share information with you as soon as DOP makes it available to us.

As I have mentioned in past discussions and messages, while we have provided as much feedback and comment as possible, ultimately, the division has limited control over the final outcome of this study. I don’t mention this as an attempt to distance myself from the results, but to acknowledge that whatever the outcome, I know that there maybe people dissatisfied with the products and the final result. I can assure you, however, that the Director, DPA leadership staff, and Assistant Commissioner Elgee have kept the best interests of staff, the division, and ultimately our clientele, at the forefront and that there has been consistent and fervent advocacy for an outcome that reflects the importance of the work done by everyone in this job class and series.

View the class specifications (PDF)