OSA Newsline - June 28, 2004

The news is brief today, but the work behind it has been considerable. First, the item analysis from last week's exam is done for papers received up until Friday. Mailing should go out by Tuesday of this week, when we have the receipts from over the weekend. The same content is posted on this website as the July, 2004 "News From OSA."

It was a tough exam.

Special thanks are due to the team that did the analysis: Keith, George, Alyson, Noreen, Carol and Lauren.

Second, the City and the union have agreed on the general terms of the contract covering July of 2002 through June of 2005 as of Friday of last week. Now, no one should prepare to spend any money yet since there are a few steps before us.

First comes working out the detailed language, plus a membership vote, and still later the payroll orders and finally the money. With luck, we will be complete in this process by September. Details will follow in the mail.

Thanks are definitely due to the negotiating team for a lot of intense effort.
OSA Newsline - Special Update - June 22, 2004

There have been many phone calls relating to the recent Staff Analyst exam.

Many candidates called to state that they found the exam to be difficult and, in fact, it was.

Others have called, puzzled by the form issued at the test site. The form goes on at great length about a protest and four copies, etc., etc. Only at the bottom of the page does the form get into the issue of a candidate's need to request the right to review the exam.

Now, no one should worry about the subsequent protest just yet. First, you do need to request to review the exam and the request must go in this week. If you don't request to review the exam, you are not going to be able to protest it later on. You are not going to be able to remember the questions when the tentative answer key comes out in four weeks, so the review session is important.

The candidate who called to insist that OSA must have known there would be a lot of math on the exam is in error. We supplied the calculators because we knew there would be some math but, in fact, there was a lot more than we had actually expected.

And, it was apparently far more than normal and we do hope the calculators were of some help.
OSA Newsline - June 21, 2004

This past weekend set a record of a sort. Over 8,000 candidates for the position of Staff Analyst took tests in four out of five of the boroughs. There were two sessions on Saturday, AM and PM, and one for Sabbath Observers as well on Sunday.

The tests were a return to the competitive testing of the 1970s and 1980s. In the tradition of those older exams, this year's exam was considered by most candidates to be very difficult. There were only 80 questions, but the length and complexity of the questions caused most candidates to need the full four hours to complete the exam. Even then, some candidates heard the finish bell ring with questions still left unanswered.

The Department of Personnel staff carry out a complex task with relative smoothness. OSA officers, staff, and union volunteers distributed the normal emergency kits with spare pencils and erasers, last minute tips and candy. In this case, in deference to the June exam, because it was so warm, Tootsie Roll lollipops replaced the prior Hershey bars, and for the first time a numeric calculator was included as well.

Now comes the item analysis and the request to review papers; later the tentative answer key, reviews and protests, the test validation board, and the final answer key. By this fall, we hope to have the appointments even being made.

Our thanks are due to all those who helped OSA prepare our candidates for this challenging ordeal.

On a different note, the City is expected to provide its first response to OSA's collective bargaining demands this Friday.
OSA Newsline - June 14, 2004

The City accepted our demands last week and is due to respond next week.

The big news this week is the Staff Analyst exam. 8400 are scheduled to take the exam this weekend. There will be both AM and PM exams and four schools will be used.

OSA representatives will be at every test site as usual. This year, in deference to the probability of a warm day, the normal Hershey bar has been replaced by two Tootsie Roll pops.

Best of luck to all those competing.
OSA Newsline - June 7, 2004

Negotiations do start this week for the main OSA contract, but not much occurs at the first session. We give our demands and the City asks questions.

At the same time, police officers, firefighters and teachers are demonstrating at City Hall park this Tuesday. OSA has been asked to support their demonstration and we are pleased to do so.

Far better, of course, if we had been able to have full coalition economic bargaining, but maybe next time.

Meanwhile, OSA members should join the demonstration after work on Tuesday.