News From OSA -- March, 1999
A Terrible Loss. March 3, Barbara Kohler, OSA's Welfare Fund Administrator, called the union office. Barbara had been out on family business for the prior week. She would be back, she said, by the following Monday. Less than an hour later, we were notified that Barbara, at the age of 38, had passed away. We were stunned and emotionally devastated.
OSA functioned as a pure volunteer organization from 1970 until 1983, when a college student, Jessica Mates, was hired a few days a week to work out of OSA's office at 267 Broadway. In January 1985, Jessica left for full-time employment. OSA, short on cash, did not hire anyone else until five years later.
By 1990, OSA had grown to 650 unionized members and we had taken on the responsibility of handling our Welfare Fund from the City. Our officers and legal counsel set up the fund, but there was no one to run it. OSA's income did not permit office rental nor were any officers on full-time release from their city jobs.
The person we hired, Barbara, had ten years experience as a full-charge bookkeeper and was willing to give up a secure job for one that might not last, but that, if it did, would provide both a challenge and a chance for growth. Initially she worked four out of five days alone by herself in the apartment on 23rd Street.
Barbara became a part of the OSA family immediately. As our fund administrator, she was patient with members, considerate of those in difficulty, and always concerned on behalf of the members. She was a credit to the labor movement: honest, capable, idealistic and caring. We loved her.
Barbara did that tough job we now ask of women in the latter part of the twentieth century -- she raised a family at night and managed a professional career in the day time.
Her job grew, as did the union, and soon she was supervising a staff of three with a half dozen assigned to assist at need. We matched the Management Benefit Fund benefits, and did so with efficiency and apparent effortless ease. That was Barbara.
She will be missed by both her families, the one into which she was born and the union family to whom she gave so much.
Real Jobs. In the mailing of this edition of News From OSA, you should have found two recruitment fliers. These are real jobs. Most fliers are issued in conformity to union pressure and resulting Agency rules, but as we all soon learn, most fliers are not real. The most common practice is to decide to hire or promote someone, flier the position and then, after the interviews, to hire the pre-designated candidate anyway.
Some fliers are real. The fliers we mailed are valuable because our own members reached out and assured us these two vacancies are open and will be filled from among those who apply. One note on the "Audit Coordinator" job. A college degree is not required; it is only preferred. If your qualifications are otherwise outstanding you may wish to apply.
Exam Alert. April 7, the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services Personnel Division will open filing for the Staff Analyst exam.
In 1992 and 1993 OSA provided a training course on how to fill out the Education and Experience papers required and we did well. Of those who attended, most received a score of 100 (or better if veterans).
We will be holding these training sessions again this April and members are strongly urged to take advantage of them. The union has not yet seen the Notice of Examination for the exam but based on past experience, filling out the papers looks easy but is actually a bit tricky. If the paper is prepared improperly in any way, the cost in terms of lost opportunity is quite serious.
Please check out the list below, find yourself and heed the instructions. If you are a...
1. Permanent Staff Analyst - You need not take this exam. You may take this exam, if you so choose, because there is at least a possibility that it could give you the option of a transfer when the list moves.
2. Provisional Staff Analyst - You must take this exam.
3. Permanent Associate Staff Analyst - Relax, don't take this exam.
4. Provisional Associate Staff Analyst
5. Permanent Administrative Staff Analyst - Relax
6. Provisional Administrative Staff Analyst
7. Any person not currently an Analyst or Analyst Series employee - You are allowed to take this exam. There will probably be a small number of "new" appointments available. The 1993 list resulted in a few hundred new appointments.
OSA will be spending many thousands of dollars on this course but it is free to all OSA or OSART members. It is paid for out of our Education Funds. You are entitled. Take advantage.
OSA wants you. We aim to recruit you if you can benefit from the exam and also to recruit you if you would like to help other members pass the exam.
Candidates. Who should take this exam? Any person who desires permanent status as a civil service Staff Analyst can and should take the exam.
How it works. If, for example, you are a Caseworker, civil service permanent, but working provisionally as an Associate Staff Analyst, file for the exam. Once you get your appointment (if you are successful) you will have your underlying civil service title upgraded from Caseworker to Staff Analyst while you continue doing your work as provisional Associate. The benefit to you is twofold, major protection in case of layoffs or demotion and also the chance to take the promotional Associate Staff Analyst exam.
Where, when, who and how? If you are going to take this exam, file now for the training review. You will be assisted at the OSA office at 220 East 23rd Street, Manhattan. We will provide refreshments, but not a true meal. Eat a big lunch.
At 5PM or 6PM weeknights (other times on the weekend) a lecture on proper filing will be given and then candidates will be assigned a "reviewer." After full discussion, you will go home and complete the paper. You will then return, with that completed paper, for a review by a second reviewer (do not use the same person twice).
You may return on as many visits as needed, but please do not submit your paper until both you and the reviewers are sure you will get the maximum points. Remember that in the case of the 1993 Staff Analysts exam, candidates who scored below 99 were not reached at all before the list died of old age (4 years). You must seek to do a perfect paper. OSA will try to have a large supply of blank test papers for you to use.
If your eventual score is low, OSA will help you on your appeal, but it's far, far better to do it right in the first place.
Reviewers. Who will help? OSA used 133 E&E "reviewers" in 92/93 and we have asked all of those folks to help us again, but given the years that have passed, many will not be available. As a result, you will find a form below to send in if you:
(A) Are willing to work evenings or weekends.
(B) Are yourself a permanent Staff Analyst or higher.
(C) Would like to assist your brothers & sisters in successfully completing the Education & Experience papers.
We do not guarantee
that you will be hired since we do not know yet how many reviewers will
be needed. You will be notified in a few weeks. You will work alongside
of the union leadership, volunteers and regular staff, since we tend to
all be involved in these efforts.
If you'd like to take part in the Staff Analyst Education and Experience Training Classes as either a trainER or trainEE, please print out the proper form below and fax them in to the union office at (212) 686-1231.
The trainER can choose to start at 5 PM or 6 PM or one or both shifts on the weekends. Mark the form with your available times. You will be notified when the schedules are arranged.
The trainEE should choose 3 different days and indicate in the box next to those days the time in 1/2 hours that they can come for the training between the hours indicated at the top of the box. e.g. 10:00, 10:30, 6:00, 6:30 etc. You will be notified in advance when the schedules are arranged. NOTE: The last day is 4/23 for the trainEEs.
Staff Analyst E&E Classes TrainEE Reservation Form
Staff Analyst E&E Classes TrainER Reservation Form