Human resources didn't follow policy for hiring temporary employees: AG

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The auditor general says the former department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment didn't follow government policy on hiring temporary employees.Wayne Loveys' report, released Wednesday afternoon, reviewed 62 temporary employees' files at the department - now the Advanced Education and Skills Department - between March 31, 2010, and Oct. 26, 2011, finding that 42 of those employees were hired without a job competition.

"In 41 of the 42 files reviewed, where no job competition was held upon initial employment, the department could not demonstrate on what basis individuals were initially selected for temporary employment or assignment, or whether the merit principles were followed," reads the report.

While Public Service Commission policy allows for the hiring of temporary employees without a competition, there must be a competition held within 13 weeks. But the review found that in more than three-quarters of the files - 32 instances - where employees were hired without competition, there was no competition held within the maximum 13 weeks, and all 32 received extensions from the department, ranging from seven weeks to 11 years.

The report notes that although the review was limited to one department, "based on the results of their monitoring activities, and on complaints received, the issue is prevalent in other departments as well."

While the response from the Department of Advanced Education and Skills "generally agrees" with the report's recommendations to comply with Public Service Commission policy on temporary employment, the department also says the report illustrates the challenging environment de-partments face in recruiting and retaining staff.

"Spurred by an aging demographic, HRLE experienced very high turnover of staff in recent years." The department said there has been particularly high turnover of client service officers, which it refers to as CSOs. The department has more than 300 client service officer positions, which deliver the income support program, the career employment and youth services program, and the NL support benefits and measures.

"Of the 62 temporary positions reviewed by the auditor general, nearly half (28) relate to CSO positions."

The department says it's developing a new approach to undertake large-scale recruitment once or twice a year.

"The intention is to develop a pool of qualified candidates that can be accessed as vacancies become available."

dmaceachern@thetelegram.com Twitter: TelegramDaniel

Organizations: Public Service Commission, Department of Advanced Education and Skills

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