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					                          NEBRASKA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
                          ADMINISTRATIVE MEMORANDUM #501
                                   ISSUED: May 2009

TO:         Nebraska Department of Education Staff
FROM:       Roger D. Breed, Commissioner of Education
SUBJECT:    FILLING VACANT POSITIONS
CONTACT:    For assistance contact Human Resources at 471-5026.


 PURPOSE: This document specifies the policy and procedures for creating a new position and
 filling a vacant position in the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE). Supervisors are
 encouraged to contact Human Resources for additional technical assistance and support
 throughout the posting/hiring process.


POLICY - When filling a position in the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE), consideration
shall be given to the need to fill the position in order to carry out the required work, alternative
ways to manage the workload, and related fiscal implications. The policy applies to all applicants for
all positions, including contract positions of six months or more and fixed term positions, except as
noted under “Exceptions” below. NDE is an equal opportunity employer and prohibits discrimination
on the basis of race, color, creed, age, sex, national origin, marital status, or disabling condition in
conformity with applicable laws. The Director of Human Resources is the contact for concerns for
Section 504 (prohibits disability discrimination), Title IX (prohibits sex discrimination), and other
laws and regulations regarding equal employment opportunities and rights.

DEFINITIONS –The following definitions apply:

Permanent position – A regular full-time or part-time position that is part of the NDE classification
system and governed by the provisions of the NDE-NAPE/AFSCME Bargaining Agreement or the
NDE Personnel Rules.

Contract position – A full-time or part-time position created pursuant to, and meeting the
requirements of, Administrative Memorandum #110, Contracts, that establishes an
employer/employee relationship. Temporary workers, supplied through State Personnel’s
Specialized Office Services (SOS) program, or an outside temporary agency, shall be considered
contract positions for the purposes of this administrative memorandum.

Fixed-term position – A position which, due to the funding source, has a predetermined duration of
employment which is designated at the time of hire, subject to the continuation and availability of
funding. Personnel in fixed-term positions may work on a full-time or part-time schedule and are
subject to all of the terms of the NDE-NAPE/AFSCME Bargaining Agreement, except for the
provisions of Article 16, and the NDE Personnel Rules with the exception of Chapter 12, Sections
004 through 009.

EXCEPTIONS – Exceptions to this policy are the contract positions listed below. See
Administrative Memorandum #110 for the policy and procedures governing these exceptions.
ADMINISTRATIVE MEMORANDUM #501                                     FILLING VACANT POSITIONS
Nebraska Department of Education                                   May 2009        Page 2 of 8


         Contracts that do not establish an employer/employee relationship;
         Contracts for employment of less than six months duration; and
         Contracts of six months or more duration that establish an employer/employee
          relationship if the method of procurement is non-competitive negotiation because only one
          individual can provide the service.

PROCEDURES/GUIDANCE - The following steps shall be followed when creating a new position or
filling a vacant position. Contact Human Resources to obtain the appropriate forms and for
additional technical assistance and support throughout the posting/hiring process.

I.    CREATING A NEW/RESTRUCTURED POSITION

      A. When a new or restructured position is desired, the Leadership Council Member (LCM) or
         hiring supervisor contacts HR to obtain a Position Description Questionnaire (PDQ) for
         New or Restructured Positions. The PDQ should be completed by the hiring supervisor and
         reviewed by his/her immediate supervisor. The information supplied on the PDQ is used to
         determine the appropriate classification, pay grade, and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
         status for the position. Once the classification and FLSA status for the new position has
         been determined by HR, the LCM or hiring supervisor is ready to obtain approval to fill the
         position.

II.   OBTAINING APPROVAL TO FILL POSITIONS

      A. LCM or Hiring Supervisor - When there is a vacancy in an existing position or after HR
         has classified a new or restructured one, the Leadership Council member (LCM) or hiring
         supervisor completes the Personnel Request and Authorization to Post/Hire (Appendix A)
         and Position Description, obtains the appropriate signatures (i.e., Financial Services &
         LCM), and forwards the original copy of the forms to HR. In addition, electronic files of
         both the request and the position description are e-mailed to HR. HR will work with the
         LCM or hiring supervisor to assure that the classification information, qualifications
         (required and preferred), and essential functions are consistent with NDE policies.

             Completing the Personnel Request - Positions shall be posted at the same
              classification as the vacated position unless HR has conducted a job review (i.e.,
              analyzed a completed PDQ for new or restructured positions) to support a change.
              Minimum qualifications must match those on the classification specification but may
              include more details; if qualifications above the minimum are necessary and
              appropriate for a position, they must be listed as preferred qualifications. The
              targeted starting salary is from the minimum to 33.3% into the salary range,
              depending on: (a) market conditions, (b) funding availability, (c) similarly situated
              employees, (d) qualifications and experience of the successful applicant, and (e)
              other applicable factors. Any salary requests anticipated at the time of posting to
              be outside of the targeted range must be discussed in advance with HR and approved
              by the Deputy Commissioner. If the supervisor anticipates the need for a starting
ADMINISTRATIVE MEMORANDUM #501                                      FILLING VACANT POSITIONS
Nebraska Department of Education                                    May 2009        Page 3 of 8

             salary above the minimum, the posting must include a salary range and the phrase
             “commensurate with qualifications and experience.” If a salary offer above 33.3%
             into the range is anticipated at the time of a posting, it must be reflected in the
             posted salary or salary range. If the position is posted without a closing date, it will
             remain open until HR is notified by the LCM or hiring supervisor to close it. Job
             postings are open until midnight of the closing date.

           Completing the Authorization to Post/Hire - All portions of the Authorization to
            Post/Hire must be completed, and reviews must be done in the order listed. The
            Supervisor does the following: indicates the “Position Type” and provides the
            information requested; provides the “Salary Information” and identifies the funding
            source(s) and percentage(s); for fixed-term positions only, the supervisor attaches a
            copy of the grant award notification that documents the funding period that
            correlates to the fixed term requested; and indicates the posting type and
            advertisements desired. The hiring supervisor signs and dates the form, attaches a
            current job or position description, routes the form to the Financial Services
            designee, and sends an electronic version of the Personnel Request/Authorization to
            Hire form and position description to HR.

    B. Financial Services – Financial Services verifies the availability of funds and Personal
       Services Limitation (PSL) for the maximum of the salary range listed on the posting, and
       routes the form to the LCM for approval.

    C. Leadership Council Member – The LCM reviews the forms to verify accuracy and
       completeness. Comments can be made in the space provided or in a separate memo. The
       LCM signs and dates the forms and routes them to HR.

    D. Human Resources - HR reviews and approves the completed forms and forwards them to
       the Deputy Commissioner (for newly created positions) or designee (for replacement
       positions), including comments and/or concerns in the space provided or in a separate
       memo.

    E. Deputy Commissioner or Designee - The Deputy Commissioner (for newly created
       positions) or designee (for replacement positions) approves the Personnel Request by
       signing the Authorization to Post/Hire, and returns the forms to HR for posting.

III. POSTING, NOTIFYING OF, ADVERTISING, AND CLOSING POSITIONS

    A. Posting – HR immediately posts the vacancy externally unless an internal-only posting is
       requested and approved. Postings, whether external or internal-only, must be posted for a
       minimum of ten workdays. However, in the event that a sufficient applicant pool does not
       exist when an internal-only posting is used, the LCM or hiring supervisor may request, prior
       to the original application deadline, that HR post the position externally for a minimum of
       ten additional work days. Positions covered by the NDE-NAPE/AFSCME Bargaining
       Agreement must be posted unless the position falls under the provisions of Article 11.1A1
ADMINISTRATIVE MEMORANDUM #501                                       FILLING VACANT POSITIONS
Nebraska Department of Education                                     May 2009        Page 4 of 8

         through 11.1A6 of the contract. Positions not covered by the NDE-NAPE/AFSCME
         Bargaining Agreement may be created and filled at the discretion of the Commissioner or
         Deputy Commissioner without posting, when they consider such action necessary and
         appropriate. For other than annual grants, fixed-term positions must be posted for each
         new funding period in the event there is a renewal of funding or an extension of funding
         for more than three months beyond the initial period. Positions that have been posted and
         closed may be re-posted within thirty (30) calendar days of the original closing date using
         the forms that were completed and signed for the original posting. Positions that are re-
         posted within thirty (30) calendar days of the original closing date must be posted for a
         minimum of two (2) workdays. If more than thirty (30) calendar days have passed since
         the original closing date, the posting must go through the approval process again. Positions
         that are re-posted after thirty (30) calendar days of the original closing date must meet
         the original requirements concerning the minimum number of days that a position is posted.

      B. Notifying – HR notifies employees on layoff, or any employees who transferred in lieu of
         layoff, when a vacancy occurs in a permanent or fixed-term position, pursuant to the NDE-
         NAPE/AFSCME Bargaining Agreement, Article 16, or the NDE Personnel Rules, Chapter 12,
         and gives them the opportunity to exercise their transfer, recall, or re-employment rights.

      C. Advertising - HR advertises the position as directed by the LCM or hiring supervisor,
         including posting within the Agency, within the State Personnel System, and in other print
         and electronic resources. In general, ads open with a summary of the purpose of the job,
         list the required and preferred qualifications per the personnel request, specify the
         required application materials, and indicate a specific or “open” application deadline.

                 Advertisements for positions in VR field offices may be placed with the
                  appropriate media by the designated staff person at that location. A copy of the
                  advertisement is provided to HR at the time the ad is placed.

      D. Closing - A position must be posted for a minimum of ten (10) workdays, unless re-posted
         within thirty (30) calendar days, and will be considered open until midnight on the closing
         date. If the closing date is identified at the time of posting, it may be extended by
         notifying HR prior to the original closing date. If the closing date is not identified at the
         time of posting, it will remain open until HR is notified by the LCM or hiring supervisor to
         close the position. If no closing date is identified, language on the Personnel Request
         advises applicants to call HR for current information on the availability of the job. The
         position must be closed a minimum of two (2) workdays prior to making an offer in order to
         ensure that all applications that have been received are appropriately considered.

IV.   APPLICATION PROCESS

      A. Application – Applicants must complete a State of Nebraska Application for Employment in
         order to be considered for any NDE position. Copies are available in HR, in any State
         Office, online at statejobs.nebraska.gov, or through the NDE website at
         www.nde.state.ne.us. A written resume or other document submitted by an applicant is
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Nebraska Department of Education                                 May 2009        Page 5 of 8

       acceptable as an addition to, but not a substitute for, a completed application form.
       Incumbents who apply for another position within the agency must either complete a new
       job application or update their previous one. All applications must be submitted to and
       through NDE Human Resources except applications for positions in Vocational
       Rehabilitation (VR) field offices, which may be submitted directly to the designated staff
       person at that office.

    B. Flow Sheet – Upon receipt of an application, HR or the designated staff person at VR
       field offices completes and attaches an NDE Applicant Flow Sheet.

    C. Acknowledgment – Upon receipt of an application, HR or the designated staff person at VR
       field offices acknowledges it verbally, electronically, or by letter.

    D. Screening for Minimum Qualifications – Upon receipt, all applications and support
       materials are screened to determine if the applicant meets minimum qualifications and
       notations are made on the Applicant Flow Sheet. Only complete application packets that
       meet the minimum qualifications are forwarded to the LCM or hiring supervisor for
       consideration.

    E. EEO Survey - All applicants are asked to complete the voluntary Equal Employment
       Opportunity Survey attached to the State job application. The survey must be separated
       from the application immediately upon receipt of the application by NDE staff. EEO
       surveys are used for statistical purposes only and not used in any way in the employment
       decision.

V. INTERVIEW PROCEDURES

    A. The LCM or hiring supervisor further screens applicants based on written, job-related
       criteria to identify those to be scheduled for interviews and contacts the applicants to
       schedule the interviews. Additional information to support applications may be requested
       from applicants and this information becomes part of the application materials, which must
       be retained by HR once the selection process has concluded.

    B. The LCM or hiring supervisor selects the interview panel, which should consist of at least
       two individuals. The LCM or hiring supervisor is encouraged to contact HR for information
       to assist in planning and conducting the interviews, including preparing appropriate
       interview questions.

    C. The LCM or hiring supervisor must contact the applicant’s references, which must include
       two previous employers, prior to making a job offer. Current employers must be contacted
       unless the applicant specifically requests otherwise. In the event that an applicant
       previously worked for the Department, the applicant’s former supervisor must be
       contacted for reference information. (Comments from former supervisor(s) must be
       restricted to information contained in personnel documentation.) In the event that the
       supervisor no longer works for NDE, HR must be contacted for reference information.
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Nebraska Department of Education                                     May 2009        Page 6 of 8

         Reference contacts must be documented on the NDE Applicant Flow Sheet or on a
         separate attachment to the application materials.

      D. Upon the approval of the Commissioner of Education or LCM, the Department may
         reimburse up to three of the best qualified applicants for travel, meal, and lodging
         expenses incurred in traveling to and from the interview. The Department will follow the
         policies established for employee travel when determining the amounts to be reimbursed
         and will require the same documentation (see Administrative Memorandum #201, Employee
         Travel).

VI.   HIRING PROCEDURES

      A. Hiring Decision

         1.   No permanent or fixed-term position may be offered to an applicant until all employees
              on layoff or employees who have transferred in lieu of layoff have had an opportunity
              to exercise their transfer, recall, or re-employment options as specified in approved
              layoff procedures.

         2. No hiring decision on any position posted under Administrative Memorandum #501 may
            be made until the posting period for the vacant position has expired and a minimum of
            two (2) additional work days pass to allow for receiving applications submitted to or
            through DAS State Personnel or mailed prior to the closing deadline.

         3. The hiring decision or recommendation to hire is the responsibility of the LCM or
            hiring supervisor. The position must be filled as advertised and within the authorized
            salary range unless: a) prior approval is obtained from the Deputy Commissioner (as
            indicated by the signature on page 3 of the Authorization to Post/Hire) and, b) HR is
            advised prior to making the offer.

         4. The State Board of Education, through the Personnel Report on its meeting agenda,
            grants final approval of the hiring of all professional staff. In accordance with Board
            policies, the Board approves contracts of $25,000 or more. The LCM or hiring
            supervisor has final hiring authority for all other positions.

      B. Offer

         1.   The LCM or hiring supervisor notifies HR, in writing, as soon as the successful
              applicant accepts the position. The Applicant Flow Sheet for the individual hired is

              immediately completed (including specific reasons for hiring) and submitted to HR. A
              general response such as “more qualified than other applicants” is not acceptable.

         2. HR reviews the selection for compliance with all applicable federal and state
            regulations, including EEO, Civil Rights, and Title IX, and all NDE hiring and salary
ADMINISTRATIVE MEMORANDUM #501                                     FILLING VACANT POSITIONS
Nebraska Department of Education                                   May 2009        Page 7 of 8

            administration policies and procedures.

       3. The selected applicant must successfully pass a background screen in order to be
          eligible for employment. The background screen consists of the following checks:
          Nebraska State Patrol criminal records; the Nebraska Sex Offender Registry;
          Nebraska Health and Human Services System Adult/Child Protective Services Central
          Registries; and Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles driving records. HR notifies
          the employee and supervisor when the background screen is completed.

       4. HR sends an offer letter to confirm NDE’s offer (including any applicable
          contingencies such as successfully passing the background screen and approval of
          hiring by the State Board of Education), including the start date, title, and beginning
          salary. Unless an offer is made in person, HR will include with the offer letter a
          background screen Release of Information form, which the successful applicant is to
          complete and return to HR. At the supervisor’s request, HR includes a copy of the
          offer letter to be signed by the selected applicant, returned to HR, and filed in the
          employee’s personnel file. For fixed-term positions, the offer letter must include the
          dates of the fixed-term of employment and must be signed by the selected applicant
          and returned to HR to become part of the employee’s personnel file. A copy of the
          offer letter will be provided to the supervisor.

       5. For contract positions, the LCM or hiring supervisor prepares the contract, following
          the procedures outlined in Administrative Memorandum #110.

       6. For permanent professional positions, HR submits a Personnel Report to the
          Commissioner requesting approval of the new hire(s) by the State Board of Education.
          Following that approval, HR advises the newly hired employee(s) in writing of the
          approval and reconfirms start date, title, and beginning salary.

VII. CONCLUDING THE INTERVIEW PROCESS

    A. Notifying Candidates Not Selected

       1.   The LCM or hiring supervisor completes and signs the Applicant Flow Sheets for the
            candidates not selected for hire, providing specific reasons for not selecting the
            candidates. A general response such as, “Individual hired was more qualified,” is not
            acceptable.
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Nebraska Department of Education                                   May 2009        Page 8 of 8

        2. Applicants who are not selected are notified electronically or by letter that the
           position has been filled as follows:

                    For positions at NSOB-Lincoln, HR informs the applicants.

                    For positions at other work sites, designated staff may inform
                     applicants, and must note on the Applicant Flow Sheets that
                     notification has been given.

                    For contract positions excluded from the provisions of this
                     Administrative Memorandum, the LCM or hiring supervisor
                     informs applicants.

  B. Orientation

        1.   For all permanent positions, as well as contract or third party contract
             employer/employee relationship positions, HR schedules appointments for new staff
             members to complete necessary forms and participate in New Employee Orientation.

        2. For permanent and contract positions the I-9 form must be completed on the first
           workday and the W-4 form and New Employee Orientation begun within three
           workdays of the start date.

        3. New staff members who will be employed at work sites other than in Lincoln will
           complete the forms at that work site in accordance with this schedule, and HR will
           conduct New Employee Orientation by telephone or electronic means as soon as
           mutually agreeable. Orientation by HR consists of statewide and agency-wide
           information.

        4. Team orientation covers team procedures and the work assigned to the new hire and
           includes ongoing mentoring.

        5. Orientation checklists must be completed, returned to HR, and filed in the employee’s
           personnel file within ten business days of the employee start date.

				
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