Academic professionals say reclassifying UI jobs a bad idea

Academic professionals say reclassifying UI jobs a bad idea

Tacked on to the Illinois Employee Washroom Act is something that doesn't have anything to do with faucets or sinks, but a lot to do with some University of Illinois employees.

Academic professionals in Urbana are concerned that the Legislature could move control of reclassification to civil service from the universities themselves to the State Universities Civil Service System.

Academic professionals say they have many similarities to faculty members, often with academic or technical expertise that universities need. Civil service is a classification for many positions that is dependent upon taking a test administered by the state.

They say any move to reclassify APs to civil service workers lessens university control. APs are also concerned that going to civil service, open to residents of Illinois, would prevent the UI from hiring the best people around the world. And they're concerned about bumping rights and changes in job security.

Rick Atterberry, who heads the Council of Academic Professionals, said he was also concerned by the precedent set by recently converting 15 grants and contracts positions at the Urbana campus to civil service employees.

A recent civil service audit of the Chicago campus "created a fear in our Urbana employees" that they could be reclassified, said Maureen Parks, an assistant vice president for human resources.

More urgently, the academic professionals are concerned about SB1150, co-sponsored by Sen. Martin Sandoval, D-Cicero, a frequent critic of higher education.

The bill is in committee now.

It would put more power in the hands of the Urbana-based State Universities Civil Service System.

It provides that no position may be exempt from civil service classification without being reviewed and approved by the system's merit board or by the executive director.

Sandoval did not return a call with voice mail questions from The News-Gazette.

A UI trustee who also serves on the merit board, Karen Hasara of Springfield, said she was "sure that the issue would come up" at the next regular merit board meeting May 18.

But she didn't want to comment "until I get up to speed on it."

The academic professionals group objects to the merit board taking over duties from universities because, Atterberry said, "this effectively would result in a third party making employment decisions for this campus without the benefit of the knowledge and expertise about unit needs and campus operations required to make effective hiring and promotion decisions."

The campus senate backed CAP's position in a resolution last week that said, in part, "we vigorously oppose the reclassification of Academic Professional positions (as exempted and authorized by campus) to civil service classifications, a change that will result in untenable restrictions impacting recruiting, hiring, and retention, resulting in loss of both future and current top tier talent."

It continued that the senate opposes "the removal of position exemption authority which would irrefutably harm the campus by requiring that a third party assume responsibility for a critical institutional decision-making process with far- reaching implications to the mission-based functions of the university."

University administration also opposes the change.

Parks said ceding control to a merit board would "really hamstring us in terms of recruiting the best from all over the world.

"Another piece that is concerning is that this would slow us down in hiring the best candidates. The university needs a quicker turnaround time than civil service can provide," Parks said.

Atterberry said he was particularly concerned about a civil service rule that limits applicants to Illinois residents.

"When you have an academic professional position come open, you advertise all over the country, in appropriate journals, The News-Gazette, the Internet — you've got your choice of the whole world," he said.

That means a unit could hire a native speaker from China to work with researchers there, or go to Berkeley for a computer scientist. He said many academic professionals have similar skills to professors.

Atterberry said reclassifying to civil service means use of the top three scorers on a standardized test, as the civil service law requires.

"How can you test on paper somebody's aptitude running magnetic resonance research instruments?" he asked.

Atterberry also said there are important distinctions in job protection between APs and civil service.

Most significant is bumping, where a senior worker can take over the position of a civil service worker with less seniority.

In the senate meeting, entomology Professor Bettina Francis gave an example of bumping at another university where a chemistry lab technician was bumped into a biology lab tech's position, and pointed out the jobs require very different skills.

"It can create a chain reaction situation," Atterberry said.

He said civil service has been on downward numbers trend at the UI while APs have trended upward.

That has sometimes resulted in a loss of union jobs, but "it's not an apples-to-apples analogy because not all civil service jobs are unionized."

There are two categories for exemption of APs from civil service, Atterberry said: teaching and research support.

But many unit business offices also need APs with specialized training in an area, he said.

"It's a very murky area. We think that they're looking at information technology people to replace," he said. "Which side do these IT people fall on? Are they on the tech side or the academic side?"

Atterberry said his group has a two-pronged test for whether it makes sense to reclassify employees: "Does it enhance operation, and does it save any money?"

"We don't see where (possible changes) figures into it. The AP system seems to work pretty well, so why would you try to fix it?" he asked.

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thechampaignlife wrote on May 08, 2011 at 9:05 am

How do the other state agencies deal with out of state recruitment and specialized skillsets? I'm sure there are state workers with MRI skills.

moderndaycowboy wrote on May 08, 2011 at 9:05 am

This is nothing more than a democrat, backed by unions, trying to force union membership on to those who aren't required to be in one. APs have no union, nor should they. Moving them to civil service classification will make it far easier. Sad. The U of I was once a great place. I'm glad I moved to another university. It looks like it just keeps getting worse.

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 08, 2011 at 9:05 am

The chickens have come home to roost. Over the years, academic professionals were hired by the universities exactly for specialized positions. However once the departments realized that they could not re-new the academic professional who was not working out versus firing a civil service employee, the trend to hire academic professional went into full swing. Given the medieval culture of academia, the academic professionals distanced themselves from the civil service peons. The result over the years has been the hiring of many incompetent workers whose claim to fame was a university degree. A person with a B.A. degree in Romance Languages to handle an office budget versus a civil service employee with a background in accounting. Of course as time went on, the phrase: "I will not be in today. I will be working from home." became common among academic professionals. Sure enough if you drove by his house during your lunch hour, he was working from home mowing his lawn. Academic professionals who hire their family members as student help without advertising the position, or taking applications from other students. Now given the economic times, the legislators are looking at the money given to the universities. The universities have not monitored the money given to them. A case in point is the recent publicized theft by a university employee using a departmental credit card. The Auditor General published a critical audit last year regarding the large number of unacccounted for university credit cards. Oh yes, departmental heads take their spouses and graduate students on "retreats" out of state for their birthday; but nothing gets reported. The universities have little, or no state control over them. They spend the money given to them as they see fit. Another case in point is a previous chancellor who had an office remodeled at a cost of over $60,000.00 before he became chancellor. If the universities are to remain a public institutions, they must have oversight. The State University Civil Service System does provide oversight in employment. It is time to have university employees back under non-university controlled oversight. There is no "murky" situation. Either classify all positions including specialized jobs which already are exempt; or maintain "business as usual" with the universities remaining the last bastions of elitism, and financial mismanagement.

Mike wrote on May 08, 2011 at 8:05 pm

We already have the "other side" from SUCSS. They want complete control, and don't care whether or not someone has multiple college degrees and is qualified for complex scientific thought and calculations, or whether they have no degree and are qualified for answering the phone or emptying a trash can. No offense. You started this.

APs are subject to "the rules"--they are subject to the same rules as faculty, to whom they are much more closely related than to the unionized bitter facilities workers who empty the trash and mow the yard. Again, I have no problem with those people, but YOU brought it up.

Just who is driving around seeing what APs are doing when they aren't at work? That sure seems like a big waste of money.

As it is a waste of STATE money when University parking trucks are at the credit union while on the clock. Seriously? The last few times I've been at the credit union there has been a parking truck there conducting personal business. Unless the University banks there as well, I guess.

A person with a Bachelor's degree, even in Romance Languages, shows that they at least have the tenacity to go through the process, unlike all of the rest of the folks that haven't gone through that process, and the University, an institute of higher education, realizes that. Make fun of folks that have degrees in Romance Languages and I'll go ahead and make fun of folks who are only qualified to empty garbage cans. Again.

The civil service system has ruined the University as much as the highly-overpaid administration has. Secretaries who don't want to work, don't. O&M employees drive all over every sidewalk on campus lest they have to actually drive on the streets and walk four feet out of their way. I know of a secretary who was going to be confronted about money that was missing--she showed up to work, saw that HR was in the office, and turned around and went home and called in sick. Seriously? These people have NO accountability. They don't have to do their jobs--they can't be fired.

Unlike APs, who have to perform in order to keep their jobs.

Which model do you think taxpayers would prefer?

Well, it just goes to show that some education-hating state Senator from Cicero would have to sneak his legislation in to a bill that has nothing to do with the subject at hand to realize how disgusting all of this is.

What's next? Make faculty part of SUCSS?

And settle down with the cries of "elitism" when there are lots of APs who make $30,000 while there are all sorts of civil service plumbers and electricians who make $70,000+ a year.

Academic professionals do their jobs and it shouldn't at all be surprising that they don't want to be roped into the silly civil service system.

theoldone wrote on May 08, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Funny, I don't recall leaving my service truck at the credit union- but being a lowly civil service employee I'm sure my memory can't be trusted....

wmb wrote on May 08, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Re your statements.
When I was employeed at a University affiliate, I was a civil service worker in the accounting field. There were Accounting professionals, and had degrees in Accounting. While you may not recognize it, a degree in Accounting is not a simple matter. There is no way I was qualified to do the work the did, and it would have been a waste of their education to do the work I did.

Academic Professionals often do have degrees, my husband for example, has a degree in Computer Science. Along with team management duties he does some programming, dealing with vendors, training and presentations for other groups on technical issues, as well as providing support to other groups on technical issues. He also does troubleshooting, plans and writes up requirements and technical reports, and other duties as assigned or needed. He is also on call 24x7 every day of the week. Hardly the stuff of a civil service worker.
Shocker, he also works from home, along with going to the office durning office hours. His work week averages 60 - 80 hours per week.
Now if you seriously think that the Academic Professionals are somehow costing the University of Illinois more then the civil service system would for the same positions, I suggest you look into how much less each worker would be allowed to do under civil service. The University would have to hire more workers to make up the difference or provide less service to Faculty and Staff.
Department Heads, one of your many complaints, are not Academic Professionals.
Nor are Chancellor's.
There is a reason the University of Illinois hires Academic Professionals, nor are Academic Professionals seeking to change their status to civil service employees on the most part. They prefer to do their jobs without the increased overhead and stress the civil service would put in place.

wmb wrote on May 08, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Sid, just to let you know, President Obama has put in place a program to expediate Federal Employees working from home. He apparently feels it saves gas, and money on office space as well in some cases.

I guess you think that people that work from home should not be able to get up from that work and take a break, even if they choose to mow the yard or such on the break.

Doesn't civil service require that employees have breaks for health reasons, you know get up from the computer and move around. Yes, I believe civil serivce does have that kind of requirement.

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 09, 2011 at 8:05 am

Wow, I guess my point regarding elitism is valid based on the comments. The academic professional positions were created to fill the specialized positions. Now, it is replacement for civil service positions. The Council for Academic Professionals will in the future want more benefits, and protection for it's members. It will be a lobbying group no different than the unions on campus now. My points were made on what I observed during almost 30 years on campus. As for "working at home", I do feel that employees should work at their work location. Other staff may need assistance, or input on matters during the day. You are paid by the State of Illinois to do a job in a work location. The faculty should be subject to the same rules. I would even go so far as having a time clock with punch in cards in each department just like the lowly grounds keepers, and other support staff. You work inside the institution. You become relaxed with the course of business that you see, and experience. Before long, you think that you have special privileges. By the way, I don't know any civil service worker who can mow their yard on their 15 minute break. Must be a postage stamp yard that you have.

grb4567 wrote on May 09, 2011 at 11:05 am

Gee I wonder who the union lackey is here? There are hard-working people in my department, both civil service and academic professional. Far and above, the time-wasters are the civil service people. The hardest working civil service person was going to be bumped and re-salaried at the lower end of her grade. Sure the unions are working just great. The unions are the problem.

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 09, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Unions protect the worker from abusive, and even elitist managers. The divide has been widening between civil service employees, and academia lackeys. Who do you think takes your calls when you are "working from home"? The civil service employee answers them. The civil service employee has to explain to the caller that you are not available, and please leave a message. Goodness forbid if the civil service employee says that you are "working from home", and provides your phone number. You people show up when you want to, and leave when you want to without being accountable. The civil service employee is generally a career employee versus a temporary employee as many academic professionals appear. What about the newly recruited faculty whose family members are found academic professional jobs on campus? Yeah, it exists; but it is not to be known. The nepotism brought into the university by the academic professional position is far worse than what existed years ago in the civil service system. The State of Illinois is broke, and some "university hater" legislator is asking questions. What is the real opposition that you have about all university employees being under the system that was established years ago by the legislature? The State of Illinois State University Civil Service System was established to handle university employment matters. Each university HR Office has been opposed to this. They would prefer to handle employment matters themselves. What's your opposition to that besides being accountable?

My Observations Are... wrote on May 09, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Don't confuse "being well educated" with "being elitist". It makes you look uneducated.

Any system where someone with 20 years of seniority and a GED can bump out another employee with 19 years of seniority and a PhD is LUDICROUS. The employment decision should be based on which candidate is best able to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of the position. Instead, the system cultivates mediocrity (at best) by rewarding longevity over ability.

The decision is dictated by antiquated Civil Service policies with no room for independent thought, which indicates the Civil Service System must not trust its own employees to make an "educated" decision.

The sole factor motivating this process is a greedy union that realized they might get a windfall of new dues payers if Academic Professionals are turned into Civil Servants.

Fedupwithstatereps wrote on May 09, 2011 at 1:05 pm


Sid Saltfork wrote on May 09, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Oh my...... You sure sound like an elitist. What was the job that the "GED" employee bumped the "PhD" employee out of doing? Holding a PhD means that you know a lot about a subject. It does not mean that you know everything about everything. The "independent thought" you refer to means lack of being accountable. The opposition shown by some of the comments are only negative views of unions, and the State of Illinois State Universities Civil Service System. What are your specific reasons for the legislative established agency not classifying your positions? The universities are wasteful in spending. They operate in an antiquated system. Look at the faculty opposition to Hogan. Look at the public angry because of monetary waste. Times have changed. The universities must operate in a business mode. No more not being accountable for money expenditures. By the way; I am retired, and responding from home on my personal computer. Where are you, and the others responding from today? Are you responding while at work on your university provided computer; or are you "working from home"?

mankind wrote on May 09, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Sure you're retired. The only university employee who complains so endlessly about how the university needs to overhaul itself is a retired one with a secure pension. Here's another fact for you to insert into your answer formula: How many hours are academic professionals required to work per week? Answer: 40 hours. How many hours are civil service employees required to work per week? Answer: 37.5 hours. Seems like you can mow at least one lawn with all that extra time. Or more than one if they're as big as a postage stamp.

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 09, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Nope; I was not a university employee. I was a state employee though. The abuses in the university system were unbelievable compared to the abuses in the state system. The civil service staff out there have seen it. How many secretaries have cleaned the conference room table after a meeting they did not attend? How many have been interrupted during their work because there is no more coffee? How many are required to water personal plants of others? How many service workers have had to stop their work, or move aside so their "betters" who met in the hall could have a conversation? That is why there is a civil service system. It existed well before unionization. So you work 40 hours a week for what your paid to do; but do it at work. The remarks submitted by academic professionals only make it clearer that they view their positions as "independent", anti union, anti State of Illinois supervision, and elite. I do not have a postage stamp lawn. I was referring to the academic professional who defended his "working from home", and mowing his yard on his "break". All state employees should be subject to the same rules regardless of their degree whether it be a PhD, or a "GED". What are your real reasons for not being accountable to the legislative established universities employment system? Is it nepotism, elitism, or just being accountable?

Mike wrote on May 09, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Oh my goodness.

Those secretaries that have to pick up conference rooms do it because THAT'S PART OF THEIR JOB. It isn't because people are being elitist.

When my boss has a problem with his computer, I have to stop what I'm doing and fix it. It's part of my job. Yes, I have more important things to do, as far as I'm concerned, but I do my job.

I don't snivel and whine and complain that I'm being asked to do things.

I don't file a grievance because someone asked me to actually get up off my duff and DO SOMETHING productive.

For someone that has never worked for the University, I'm curious then how you have so much personal knowledge of APs "working from home."

mankind wrote on May 10, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Sid, you seem threatened by anyone whose job it is to create new ideas instead of keeping their nose to the grindstone of dealing with the daily nitty gritty. Everyone falls all over themselves clarifying how much they value secretaries and groundskeepers, etc., but you don't seem able to believe it. To you a secretary is an AP is a professor of microbiology, and any suggestion that their roles are different smacks of elitism. The truth is that those 40,000 students you see running around town aren't here to enjoy the clean toilets or marvel at the secretarial efficiency. That's not to say that the guy whose job it is to clean toilets is less important or less worthy than another employee. In fact I'd say that a professor who publishes an article about medieval poetry in some obscure journal would be hard-pressed to prove that he did more for society than the guy who sanitizes bathrooms at the dorms. But people come here for new ideas, and to provide those new ideas you need people with high and very specific education levels. Their jobs are very specialized and you can't measure their worth by plugging their hours and location into some civil service formula that works fine for groundskeepers. That's not to say APs shouldn't be held accountable, but they're held accountable by different measures. For civil service employees, things like showing up to work on time are much more indicative of how well you're performing the job. For APs, it's more about the end product.

My Observations Are... wrote on May 09, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Sid ... the more you talk, the more you make my points. It's kind of funny. And a little sad.

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 09, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Sorry to break your heart. ISU had a problem that became public regarding nepotism in their HR department about three years ago. The state universities HR departments meet regularly with the State of Illinois State University Civil Service System. Sometimes a university HR department sends a designee, or no one at all. Each university wants their private HR program. That means that no one is watching beyond the university level. It is easier to place faculty family members into employment, recommended graduate students into employment, and others without any oversight. Departments can hire family members as student help without HR rules messing it up. Yes, I know of instances where family members were put into academic professional positions; or hired by their parent as student help with no applications accepted from other students. There are many more examples also. The issue is oversight by the public. The legislature created the State University Civil Service System for that reason. Now, that a labelled "university hater" legislator is asking questions; you seem to be disturbed. Again; what is wrong with the state agency which was created for oversight, and fairness not doing it's job? Why are you so afraid to be classified? The amount of justification for "working at home", working 40 hours, and frankly elitist comments regarding civil service employees was surprising.

serf wrote on May 10, 2011 at 7:05 pm

I don't have a dog in this fight, but a lot of the AP comments do smack of 'elitism.'

UIUC AP wrote on May 10, 2011 at 8:05 pm everyone's figured out by now "Sid" doesn't know what he's talking about, right? The Democratic legislative caucus summary of the bill says it will prevent universities from reclassifying union civil service positions as nonunion academic professional positions. It does not. There are ~350 visiting APs, who are unionized, who if forcibly reclassified, would end up in nonunionized civil service classifications.

A flame war over who's better--AP or civil service--is pointless. There is a place for both.

Anyone who's had to run an academic professional or faculty search knows they are governed by strict federal standards. The affirmative action office, contrary to Sid's assertion, has a policy of not letting you promote students into full-time jobs, and such requests are routinely denied.

The SUCCS system does a terrible job of handling the civil service employees it has now. Classifications are out of date, and there is much inequity. If someone's really good at their job, oops, sorry! You want a promotion? Well, you do realize that means you're first in line to be laid off. In the real world, getting a promotion would be proof that you should NOT be laid off, not a reason to paint a target on you. I know of people who passed up or deferred promotions (and improved salaries) out of that fear.

Civil service doesn't mean the state handles HR decisions like Sid thinks they do. They just slap a building-sized useless manual of rules on you. The civil service HR people ON EACH CAMPUS then decide who's qualified. So the same people scoring standardized tests in the building trades or clerical worker positions, are now trying to figure out who the 'rule of 3' candidates are for complex IT or other jobs... instead of search committees composed of people who are the experts. What 'rule of 3' means is they send you 3 people and if they all want the job, you MUST hire one of them. Even if they are obviously poor candidates for the job. You're not even allowed to see anything on the other people who applied. Pass me another heaping scoop of that accountability there.

Sure, when SUCCS changes a classification, they ask for comments. Which they ignore. Along w/ any worker who suddenly finds their job doesn't match its classification any longer.

APs are not replacing civil service workers. There are fewer secretaries because of e-mail and Microsoft Office. The days of steno pools typing up syllabi and memos are long gone. There are fewer building trades workers because cuts in state funding and unpaid state appropriations means departments are putting off or canceling renovation projects. And to anyone who thinks "oh state government operates just fine without APs," how do you like that obviously rigged health insurance bid? Or the audits (and legislators from both parties) blasting the state (Feb. 25, Associated Press) because its accounting systems don't work together. That's why the state writes checks to deadbeat parents, and who knows how many others.

"Sid" obviously knows nothing about the Council for Academic Professionals. They are all volunteers, elected but unpaid. They do not negotiate compensation or get any monetary gain from their service. Unlike the legislators and the slick high-paid lobbyists pushing this measure.

The APs I know all worked years without raises and generally accepted their furloughs with good grace. They are trying their best to help this institution as it tries to run leaner.

You want to entertain people at cocktail parties? Explain to people outside the system how the civil service system really works. People who are advocating for this just want more people stuffed into a broken civil service system, rather than reforming the system.

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 11, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Seems you want to "reform the system" so you could run it the way you want it. My points are known by many as true. Most civil service employees do not comment on articles due to concern that they will become known as a trouble maker. Seems only the almost faculty are the only ones to respond. I applaud the one comment regarding the service truck parked at the Credit Union. What we are talking about are applicants for a specific job with job duties. If the job requires a college degree, only people with that degree would be interviewed. However if the job does not require a degree, the top applicants with the best scores would be interviewed regardless of a degree. Too many times the theory as previously commented by an almost faculty has been: "well, earning a degree shows more ability......". There is a manual; but hardly "building-sized". It was created for a reason. You happen to be one of the reasons it was created. By the way; are you commenting from work on your university provided computer, or are you "working from home"?

Janet wrote on May 11, 2011 at 1:05 pm

I’ve read your comments and the take aways seem to be that all APs are elitist and take advantage of the system, while civil servants keep the University running in spite of the AP bloat. Certainly that is a simplification. I can only speak from experience, but I am in a small department that is deep in hierarchy. No one is promoted without first giving up a pound of flesh. We are required to arrive by a certain time, sign in, and sign out whenever we leave building. We are able to work at home only with prior approval. All of that is less stringent than the workplaces of other APs I know. We’re expected to work overtime to meet deadlines—no one really says that, but no one would miss a deadline because they hit 40 hours that week. Since I’ve been here we’ve had 2 HUGE abusers of the system, one a civil servant a couple of years from retirement, and one an AP. We’re about about 60% PhDs and 40% Master’s. I’m trained specifically for what I do, yet I couldn’t do the jobs the PhDs do because they’ve also had very specific training—like a decade of it. The civil service switch could be the end of my unit, and if it isn’t, it could make it so hard for us to do our work that it’ll close us anyway. I suppose it should make me feel better that I could go to an entirely different department and bump someone with the same generic job title, but it doesn’t, because I’m sure I won’t be as good at that job as I am at this one. I know I can’t argue with you, but that’s just what’s happening here.

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 11, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Janet, I empathize with your situation. I realize that you would not want to bump someone with the same "generic job title". The commented theory that a person with a degree is always better to hire than one without it prevails in many departments regardless of the job duties. You are blessed (not meant as sarcasm) to be able to work from home with prior approval. Many just call in to tell the civil service staff that they will be "working from home". If there are good reasons for an employee to work from home, that is fine. However; they are not at their work location if other staff have questions, or need assistance. I have seen the abuse of faculty family members being provided with employment over others. I have seen parents hire their children without posting the position, or interviewing for it. I have seen people looking for staff; only to find out that they are "working from home". I have, also, seen the elitist behavior exhibited by academic professionals. The rules for the civil service system are always changing to meet the needs of the universities, and to provide equal employment for jobs that people are qualified to do. The public barely understands how the university works. However, the public is wanting to know since Higher Education funding by the legislature has been in limbo. More legislators besides the previously commented "university hater" legislator will be asking questions. The previous comments regarding the Auditor General's audits will seem mild compared to what eventually will be coming. More accountability by both academic professionals, and civil service is needed. Though, I do not know how much more accountable the civil service employees can be after the years of doing work that was never in their job duties.

Mike wrote on May 11, 2011 at 8:05 pm

I would still like to understand how "Sid" who admitted that he has NEVER worked for the University of Illinois has all of this "firsthand" knowledge that APs mow their yards while they should be at work, or leave early, or slack off, or whatever.

I do work at the University of Illinois, and I have seen firsthand the behavior of many faculty, and APs, and civil service employees. And you know what? WHO CARES. Nobody is trying to turn APs into civil servants because someone mowed their yard while they were on the clock (again, I mention the parking people that are in the drive-up lanes at the credit union while they are working, or at the very least are driving a University vehicle for personal use---and how anybody thinks I said something about a service truck being parked at the credit union is beyond me--I said a "parking truck" not a "service truck that was parked" meaning a little white truck marked "University Parking" that was in the drive-thru lane--anyway).

The point is that I, and the rest of the Academic Professionals at University of Illinois, were not hired into the Civil Service system. If I would have known that the job I was applying to was a "Office Accountant II" or whatever, I wouldn't have applied. Nor would I have taken a test, etc. I already went to college and took (and passed) plenty of tests. If the job listing I was reading said "Accounting Faculty" I wouldn't have applied for it either.

Nobody is disparaging civil servants. What our small group of employees are doing is fighting why we were hired into a certain set of positions and then some outside force wants to move all of us into another classification willy-nilly with no input from us, nor any GOOD REASON for the change to be made.

If your answer to that is "oh, all APs are slackers" than I, and others, will come back and offer that there are PLENTY of civil service employees that are slackers, and often are much, much bigger offenders.

You know, just so we're clear, "Sid."

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 12, 2011 at 8:05 am

Mike; your previous comments indicate your views. Accountability is necessary for expenditures paid by public taxes whether it is regarding civil service employees, or academic professional employees. Transparency in hiring is necessary also. The comments provided by yourself, and other academic professionals give the public a good idea of how you view yourselves. I am sure that not all academic professionals have the same views. I never worked for the university; but I worked for the state dealing with universities a long time. Of course; I came to know many civil service employees, and later academic professional employees. Sometimes both were doing the same job.
As previous comments indicate, many view having a degree as superior to not having one. That excludes all that do not have one even when the job duties do not require a degree. The comments regarding a "GED", and others bear this out. You feel there is no "GOOD REASON" for the change to be made; and that you have "no input". Hey Mike, join the real work world. Provide your input the best way you can; but realize that the decision is not yours to make. Thank you all for your comments. They were interesting. By the way, the job duties for a civil service secretary do not include cleaning up the conference room after meetings as one academic professional so smugly stated. Wonder who cleans up after him at home?

peabody wrote on May 12, 2011 at 8:05 am

Accountability is necessary for expenditures paid by public taxes whether it is regarding civil service employees, or academic professional employees. -Sid Saltfork

The same goes for your public pension, Sid Saltfork. Be careful of what you ask for, or else someday you're going to have to start submitting receipts to the state for reimbursement, pending approval by other retirees with all the answers. If you take away media spectacles like the chief "controversy" the university is doing just fine, so why don't you enjoy retirement and let people work in peace.

UIUC AP wrote on May 12, 2011 at 10:05 pm

No, Sid, I have no interest in reforming the civil service system for my own personal needs. I am tired of seeing good civil service workers penalized while the poor ones skate. The ones who are afraid to pursue a promotion because of test anxiety and a fear of being bumped. The one who was abandoned in a classification that's no longer appropriate when SUCCS ignored the "input" they supposedly collected about that classification and made no provision for him. The building service worker who was capriciously penalized by his subforeman on a pretext when it was probably from him working too hard, with his union steward not advocating for him aggressively because the steward was about to retire.

It is a building-sized manual of rules...look at the SUCCS website...they don't even know how many classifications they have!

Since we don't wear uniforms or wear badges, it's funny that you seem to know who's an AP just by observing them, allegedly, in the an institution where you say you never worked. By the way, it's pronounced sucks, not success. And how much does their separate system (from the rest of the state) cost anyway? Sounds almost like you worked for SUCCS...which explains your irrationally biased attitudes toward APs.

And no, this is my personal computer and personal internet account. Which, by the way, I use to do office work on in late hours in the evenings and on the addition to the 40+ hours I put in every week.

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 13, 2011 at 6:05 am

What about your university president's acknowledgement of "mistakes made in the past" in his e-mail published in the News Gazette? Seems you are the one who is uninformed. Your animosity toward the State Universities Civil Service System is indicative of the "we will do hiring our way at our own university HR, and departmental level without any oversight by the legislature, or the public". You say that you have seen good civil service workers penalized; but you disbelieve others regarding the abuses they have seen by the academic professionals. I am sure that you "have no interest in reforming the civil service system for my own personal needs". Why would you want to reform it if you can continue to disregard it? I am not biased against all academic professionals. I am biased toward those who do not know, or disregard the state rules. You say you work 40 plus hours per week on your job. Great; so do hundreds of civil service workers across the state. They do it because they are salaried employees. The job must be done by the deadline. All of the prior comments from academic professionals were anti-union, defending "working from home", anti-civil service, and some were frankly elitist. SB 1150 is about accountability, and fairness in employment. By the way, the manual is not "building sized". Hope you don't exaggerate like that in the work you produce. If you have legitimate concerns, contact your legislators. Tell them specifically why you are opposed to the bill. Specific reasons for opposition to the bill; not this whining listed in the previous comments.

Dashe wrote on May 13, 2011 at 6:05 am

You all are as ill informed as Mr Attaberry. UI pit of crooks, Admissions scandal, APP (not AP) issues to name a few, and those are the ones they have been caught at. I have never seen any of you at a Merit Board meeting, at least the ones I have been to, there have only been Universities Reps., Civil Services Reps, Employee Reps. The change has nothing at all to do with true "Academic Professionals". Oh, and if Civil Service is so bad why do PAA's list in their desire to Organize the benefits that are allowed to Civil Service Employees? True "AP's" have little concerne of those issues. If Management did their job you would eliminate the slackers. Then again that too depends on the Merit Board.

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 13, 2011 at 1:05 pm

If people want to see the audit with all of the numbers, and positions listed as found to be civil service versus "exempted position", or "academic hourly"; go to the State of Illinois website, agencies, State Universities Civil Service System, audits. The audit pointed out that there were "repeated" violations following previous audits. Unfortunately; it lists the names of the employees, and the civil service classification that the audit found them to be doing; but that goes with state employment since the taxpayers have the right to public information. There are jobs that the public could compete for on the list. The only thing that SB 1150 provides is oversight for accountability. It prevents nepotism among other things. It allows for accountability, and fairness in who gets the job based on the job qualifications; not based on who has the biggest degree. Transparency in hiring procedures is important especially in this financial crisis coupled with the poor record the State of Illinois. Read SB 1150, and the State Universities Civil Service System audits; and make your own decision about the matter. Academic Professionals, and Academic Hourly Employees have nothing to worry about if their job is truly based on "specialized skills" that are hard to find among the applicants for employment. When the U of I President acknowledges in his e-mail that "mistakes" have been made, why not accept it?