Civil Service Update
By Frank Kelly, Secretary
Like a timid child attempting to take his or her first step, the Civil Service negotiation team is balking at the Rule of Three Scores for certification of eligibles for promotional examinations.

One hundred and sixty seven promotional positions represented by other unions in the City and County of San Francisco promote by the Rule of Three Scores. They also include a caveat that states “The Rule of the Three will not be changed unless there is mutual agreement between Civil Service and the Unions.” Why should we be treated differently? Why? According to Civil Servicenegotiators it is because of our history. As late as the early eighties, we were a predominantly white male institution. That history hasn’t changed. However, the department has changed and evolved to be the most diverse workforce in the City.

It’s time Civil Service take a step to support the SFFD. Let the “Rule of Three Scores” stand as written. The healing process will never be complete if individuals receive promotions through nepotism, cronyism, or the myopic views of a few. If Civil Service negotiators are victorious and banding becomes our rule of certification, then resentment, jealousy, and polarization will creep back into the SFFD. Banding will reopen old wounds and create chasms that have taken twenty years to close. Individuals who truly earned their bugles will not receive their due credit.

Rather than make this a defining moment of change for the Civil Service and the SFFD, the Civil Service negotiators have chosen to stick their heads in the sand. Before them lies the opportunity to place the jewel in the crown of affirmative action - equal promotions for all! Here is the opportunity for the Civil Service to prove that the Consent Decree of the 1980’s and 1990’s was successful. Here is the opportunity to prove that groups don’t need nurturing or statistical voodoo to be promoted. We are at a crossroads of either becoming a desperately dysfunctional institution or turning ourselves around and scaling the mountain together. I agree that we must look at our history and say we shall never return to the days of being a one-dimensional department. But we must work together and challenge the political promotions that have been pervasive in all the ranks and have been as blatant and ubiquitous as the Clinton pardons.

“Statistically valid grouping” is the Civil Service synonym for banding. It is unacceptable to this member of your executive board. Our attorneys have notified Civil Service that we have reached an impasse in negotiations. Local 798 will seek arbitration. We realize that promotions have been delayed for too long, and further delays will be a disservice to many of our members. However, an unfair and politically motivated statistical system of promotion will only serve as an injustice to all.


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