County is forced to grant regular appointments to 911 trainees, as Civil Service says “Oops!”

As the result of intervention by Local 1085, the Civil Service Commission has instructed Gloucester County that a handful of newly hired Public Safety Telecommunicator Trainees must be given regular appointments rather than temporary jobs.

In August, Gloucester County hired a number of PST Trainees to work at the 911 dispatch center. However, they were hired in temporary positions (which have a six-month limit), because management claimed they were only needed temporarily to fill in for permanent employees who are on leave. Because of their temporary status, the Trainees would have no benefits or protections under the Civil Service Law or the union contract.

Local President Rich Dann promptly complained to management. He noted that Trainees must be employed for a full year, after which they are supposed to be promoted to permanent PST positions. After the County failed to respond, Dann complained directly to the Civil Service Commission and requested an investigation.

As Dann pointed out, Civil Service rules clearly state that Trainees must be given “regular” appointments and therefore can not be temporary (N.J.A.C. 4A:3-3.7(b)). In response, Civil Service consultant Cindy Cotton acknowledged to Dann that the Commission's online HR system was programmed incorrectly, as a result of which temporary appointments were being erroneously approved for Trainee titles.

Gloucester County has now been advised by Civil Service that it must change the status of the PST Trainees to comply with the regulations. In addition, Civil Service is taking steps to insure that similar errors are corrected elsewhere throughout the state.

Local 1085 welcomes the new PST Trainees into the union.