FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, April 11, 2013
CONTACT: Chris Dauphin
OFFICE: (615) 256-4533
State to require IT workers to reapply for their jobs
Earlier this week, the Tennessee State Employees Association (TSEA) obtained a Tennessee Office of Information Resources memo announcing plans for a new organizational structure, including newly created job classifications, for all state Information Technology (IT) positions. The proposed overhaul is being conducted by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a private group the State of Tennessee contracted with in January of this year. Under the terms of the contract, SAIC will conduct an assessment of the information technology (IT) organizations in twenty (20) State of Tennessee departments or agencies. This process, called a Next Generation Information Technology Assessment (NextGen IT), will “determine current and future IT support needs and will recommend practical ways to improve the quality of the IT services provided.”
As part of the NextGen IT assessment process, SAIC will populate their recommended new organizational structure with newly created job classifications. These new positions will replace positions already in existence and filled. Any state employee presently occupying a position that has been reclassified will need to re-apply and re-interview for their job. If that employee meets the “minimum qualifications” of the newly classified position and possesses the required knowledge, skills, abilities, and competence (KSAC) as determined by the department, he/she may be rehired. If that employee meets the “minimum qualifications” for the new job, but does not possess the required KSACs, he/she may be hired through a “mismatch” and given the opportunity to attend the state’s new IT Academy, which will open for business on July 1, 2013. However, that decision is within the discretion of the particular state agency conducting the interview.
TSEA thinks the manner in which the state chose to address this “problem” is unnecessarily harsh, causing stress on already overworked state employees. TSEA Executive Director Robert O’Connell said, “The state has basically told these employees, ‘Sorry, your job no longer exists. But, we do have this new position over here that you might qualify for. Good luck!’ It’s too bad (the state) couldn’t just come to them and say, ‘Well, we have new things people in your position need to know, and we’ve established this IT academy, and we’re going to send you to it, and when you come back, you’re going to be all up to date.’ ”
TSEA plans to monitor this assessment process very closely over the coming weeks. It is our hope that the state’s intentions are transparent, and that good state employees are presented with real opportunities to improve their skills and abilities, possibly earning a little more money when the process is complete.
TSEA is a nonprofit association existing to provide a strong unified voice with which it advocates the work-related interests of members. The attainment of association objectives will ensure a better life for our members and will attract and retain an effective, efficient state workforce to provide services for all Tennesseans. TSEA was established in 1974. For further information, visit the Web site at www.tseaonline.org.