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Program A: Administration

Program Authorization: La. Constitution, Article X, Sections 16-20; Louisiana Revised Statutes 33:2471 et seq. and 33:2531 et seq. Funding for the Office of State Examiner is provided through R.S. 22:1419(A) relative to the creation of the Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Operating Fund.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The mission of the Administration Program (organizationally expressed as the Office of State Examiner, Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service) is to administer an effective, cost-efficient civil service system based on merit, efficiency, fitness, and length of service, consistent with the law and professional standards, for firefighters and police officers in all municipalities in the state having populations of not less than 7,000 nor more than 400,000 inhabitants, and in all parish fire departments and fire protection districts regardless of population, in order to provide a continuity in quality in law enforcement and fire protection for citizens of the state in both rural and urban areas.

The goals of the Administration Program are:

  1. Administer tests of fitness, developed according to professionally acceptable standards, for classifications in the municipalities or fire protection districts, and furnish the results to the respective civil service boards for their approval.
  2. Assist local civil service boards in providing an orderly system of personnel management that functions in accordance with civil service law.
  3. Provide information and support to local civil service boards, governing authorities, appointing authorities, department chief executive officers, and classified employees regarding the duties imposed upon them by the provisions of the Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Law.

The Administration Program includes three major activities: Testing, Personnel Management, and Administrative Support.

There are two types of examinations prepared by the Office of State Examiner (OSE): those developed for use across multiple jurisdictions and those custom-designed for a specific use in a single jurisdiction. The foundation of the exam development process for both types of examinations is a comprehensive job analysis that identifies the distinguishing responsibilities assigned by the appointing authority to the respective classes under his or her control. Regardless of whether the number of positions being analyzed is large or small, standard job analysis techniques require the job to be broken down into individual elements called "tasks," which, when combined, form a complete picture of all the duties that might be assigned to a specific class of positions. The tasks are generally presented in questionnaire format to experienced incumbents in the class being evaluated. The questionnaire respondents are asked to evaluate each task by means of scales for importance, frequency of performance, consequence of error for failing to perform the task correctly, and whether or not the incumbent needed to have the knowledge or ability to perform the task from the first day on the job. Whenever the job analysis surveys a sample of the population from a large class, every attempt is made to representatively sample all relevant race/sex subgroups and applicable working units. The aggregate of responses for all questionnaire respondents in the jurisdiction provides a clear picture of the job as it is performed in that department and what knowledge, skills, and abilities are needed in order to begin a working test period in the class.

 

 

OBJECTIVES AND PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

Unless otherwise indicated, all objectives are to be accomplished during or by the end of FY 1999-2000. Performance indicators are made up of two parts: name and value. The indicator name describes what is being measured. The indicator value is the numeric value or level achieved within a given measurement period. For budgeting purposes, performance indicator values are shown for the prior fiscal year, the current fiscal year, and alternative funding scenarios (continuation budget level and Executive Budget recommendation level) for the ensuing fiscal year (the fiscal year of the budget document).

 

Explanatory Note: The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that the Office of the State Examiner provide reasonable accommodations in the testing environment for candidates with bona fide disabilities that affect significant life activities. In processing these requests, the Office of State Examiner (OSE) asks that the local civil service board, to which the application for accommodation has been made, obtain proof of the candidate's disability from a physician or other recognized disability professional. At the local civil service board's request, the OSE provides accommodations reasonable to the respective disability. This may include a private examining room for an applicant who has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a reader and extra time for an applicant with dyslexia (which also requires a private examination setting as the reader would disturb other candidates), or the translation of the test into a braille format for an applicant with a visual impairment. The application of this law presents a particularly troubling problem for the OSE in that the job analysis conducted for all of its competitive classes had identified the ability to read as an essential ability on the job. By allowing the test to be read to an applicant, this critical skill is not being assessed. Yet the OSE has no way of knowing if the respective department could accommodate such a disability. In addition, having a low IQ has also been identified as a permanent disability that significantly affects major life activities, a problem that is particularly troubling when assessing candidates for public safety employment, where successful candidates might be making critical life and death decisions. Until such time as further clarification on the application of this law is provided at the federal level, the OSE must continue to carefully evaluate each request for accommodations on a case-by-case basis. Although the OSE has been successful in most cases in securing additional help from the respective jurisdictions in the administration of these examinations, most ADA requests require a private examination setting and additional OSE personnel. The OSE has had several instances of multiple requests for accommodation for the same examination time, and in one case, the OSE was required to send four examiners for an examination that could have been administered under normal circumstances with only one OSE employee. While it has proven somewhat difficult to anticipate the number of ADA requests that will be received in a given year, and actual requests have declined over the past year, the OSE must be prepared to respond to such situations when the need arises.

To preserve the integrity of the examination process, state law requires that examinations be administered to all the candidates at the same time and under the same conditions. As a protective public safety measure, state law also requires that the examinations be administered in the jurisdiction for which testing is done. While this causes extensive travel time for OSE examining personnel, the city or fire protection district is not left with a serious manpower shortage due to the candidates for a promotional examination being tested miles away at a regional testing center. Examinations may be stopped at any time such a local emergency occurs.

 

Explanatory Note: By comparing the data for the respective past job analysis studies between the various departments, experience has shown that the duties assigned to some lower level classes are substantially the same across jurisdictions. Therefore, the OSE has found it cost-effective to develop examinations for multi-jurisdictional use in the lowest competitive levels, and in the lower promotional classes through the rank of first-line supervisor in both the fire and police services (Fire Captain in the fire service and Police Sergeant in the police service). The job analysis approach to providing documentary support for the multi-jurisdictional examinations is to conduct a stand-alone job analysis in each jurisdiction, then combine the data for the development of one or more examinations (as needed) for the class being analyzed. While there is a long-term cost savings in being able to use an examination in multiple jurisdictions, the process required to validate this type of examination is much more extensive (and the cost is therefore greater) than that required to validate those exams designed for a single jurisdiction. In addition to the basic job analysis process described above, the validation of a multi-jurisdictional exam requires that job analysis interviews be conducted with incumbents to augment and verify the existing task lists, that subject matter expert panels be convened to obtain feedback from experienced officers on job analysis information and examination material, and that extensive statistical analyses be conducted on adverse impact, exam performance, and criterion validity. (A criterion study compares examination performance with an objective measure of success on the job for a sample of test takers for a numerical estimate of examination validity expressed as a correlation coefficient.)

 

 

Explanatory Note: The OSE has determined that, with a few exceptions, the duties assigned to those classes above the rank of Police Sergeant in the police service and Fire Captain in the fire service are so different between jurisdictions that they warrant the construction of unique examinations for specific uses in each jurisdiction. Therefore, the second category of tests prepared by the OSE is custom designed tests for specific classes in each jurisdiction. The relatively small numbers of applicants tested by means of custom-designed examinations does not permit the extensive statistical analysis that is possible with multi-jurisdictional examinations. On the other hand, the process of custom designing an examination to evaluate the specific knowledge and skills needed to perform the unique set of duties assigned to a class of positions in a single jurisdiction increases the content validity of the examination. In layman's terms, this means that the examination presumably will be a better predictor of success on the job since the OSE is evaluating only that body of knowledge necessary to perform work in the class in a specific setting. This custom-designed testing format allows the OSE to be sensitive to the needs of both large and small jurisdictions and departments with unique organizational structure needs. In other words, the examination for Police Lieutenant in Abbeville (which will reflect the duties assigned to the class in that city) will be substantially different from the test for Police Lieutenant in Shreveport (which will reflect the duties assigned to the class in that city) despite the fact that the classes have a common name.

 

 

 

 

RESOURCE ALLOCATION FOR THE PROGRAM

SOURCE OF FUNDING

This program is funded with Statutory Dedications derived from "two hundredths of one percent of the gross direct insurance premiums received in the state, in the preceding year, by insurers doing business in the state." (Per R.S. 39:32B.(8), see table below for a listing of expenditures out of each Statutory Dedicated fund.)

ANALYSIS OF RECOMMENDATION

GENERAL FUND

TOTAL

T.O.

DESCRIPTION

 

 

 

 

 

$0

$830,512

17

 

ACT 19 FISCAL YEAR 1998-1999

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BA-7 TRANSACTIONS:

$0

$23,375

0

 

Carry forward of professional services contracts for legal services and for validation of police officer examination

 

 

 

 

 

$0

$853,887

17

 

EXISTING OPERATING BUDGET - November 20, 1998

 

 

 

 

 

$0

$27,568

0

 

Annualization of FY 1998 -1999 classified State Employees Merit Increase

$0

$14,550

0

 

Classified State Employees Merit Increases for FY 1999-2000

$0

($1,086)

0

 

Risk Management Adjustment(s)

$0

$27,768

0

 

Acquisitions and Major Repairs

$0

($6,410)

0

 

Nonrecurring Acquisitions and Major Repairs

$0

($23,375)

0

 

Nonrecurring carry forward of professional services contracts for legal services and for validation of police officer examination

$0

$91

0

 

Legislative Auditor Fees

$0

$4,421

 0

 

Salary Base Adjustment 

$0

($5,693)

0

 

Salary Funding from Other Line Items

$0

$276

0

 

Civil Service Fees

$0

($6,200)

0

 

Other Nonrecurring Adjustments Legal expenses

$0

$9,817

0

 

Other Adjustments - Retirement for two ex-drop employees

         

$0

$895,614

17

 

TOTAL RECOMMENDED

 

 

 

 

 

$0

$41,727

0

 

DIFFERENCE (TOTAL RECOMMENDED AND EXISTING OPERATING BUDGET)

The total means of financing for this program is recommended at 104.8% of the existing operating budget. It represents 97.5% of the total request ($917,795) for this program. Significant adjustments include increased funding for salaries and related benefits along with increased funding for acquisitions; the removal of funding for nonrecurring carryforwards and nonrecurring legal expenses; and reduced funding for risk management premiums.

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

This program does not have funding for Professional Services for Fiscal Year 1999-2000.

OTHER CHARGES

$2,954

 

Legislative Auditor expenses

 

 

 

$2,954

 

TOTAL OTHER CHARGES

 

 

 

 

 

Interagency Transfers:

$2,172

 

Department of Civil Service to defray a pro rata cost for the Department expenses

$325

 

Division of Administration for the Comprehensive Public Training Program

 

 

 

$2,497

 

TOTAL INTERAGENCY TRANSFERS

 

ACQUISITIONS AND MAJOR REPAIRS

$27,768

 

Replacement computer equipment

 

 

 

$27,768

 

TOTAL ACQUISITIONS AND MAJOR REPAIRS


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