As most of you know, the Department of Administration (DOA) denied ASEA’s request to appeal and reconsider the recommendations of the Eligibility Technician class study. That response can be found at http://www.afscmelocal52.org/content/view/622/478/.
A second appeal of the study recommendations was submitted to me by number of our staff from across the state. I forwarded that request to the Division of Personnel and received their response last week. Like the Union’s submittal, the Division of Personnel denied the second request. Here is a link to that document.
While many of our staff may not have received adequate recognition and consideration for the nature and complexity of the work ETs do daily, undoubtedly the outcome of the study could have been much worse. So, as disappointed as we have been since July 1, it is important for us to reflect on just how lucky we are today. States across the nation have seen caseload growth that makes ours pale in comparison. Operating budgets are being cut n virtually everywhere in the country and state workers in the thousands are being laid-off or furloughed. Just yesterday it was announced that California is going to furlough 150,000 state employees for several days each month. Even in the face of unprecedented growth in welfare rolls, states are reducing their public assistance workforce. Our colleagues in neighboring Washington, working under the strain of a reduced budget, closed offices in July as a means of saving resources through temporary layoffs.
We, on the other hand, have our jobs, a dozen paid holidays, and the ability to accrue weeks of paid leave every year. Despite flaws in the class study’s recommendations, I firmly believe it has strengthened our career ladder and that the new class specifications will aid future recruitments and retention. You also have leadership who knows how hard you work and who is dedicated to finding ways to make your work more manageable, to better align and simplify program policies, and to find ways that we can use technology to better support your daily work.
I have always been candid with you about this class study and I’m not going to stop now. When I received the latest response from DOP, frankly, I didn’t want to share it because I know how it makes me feel and can only imagine how it makes many of you feel. However, with the response to the second appeal request, the class study, and its recommendations, is truly a done deal. Now, we must move on and focus on the work at hand and our responsibility for providing services to Alaska’s most vulnerable citizens that we are charged with helping. They need us and your co-workers need you.
Chief of Field Services