OSA Newsline - March 22, 2010

We have a brief reprieve on the crisis at the Off Track Betting Corporation. The legislature now has two weeks to do what needs to be done for OTB.

Some members are still inquiring about how seniority grades are calculated on promotional exams. Last week we provided one way to calculate your final score. This week, we provide another.

The final adjusted score for promotional exams is the combination of the score on the written exam times 0.85 plus the base seniority score of 10.5 points plus 0.3 point for each year of permanent civil service. If the candidate’s score on the written exam is below 70 after all adjustments and appeals, the exam is not rated for seniority. However, if the written exam is a passing score, adjusting for seniority will only affect the position where a candidate appears on the agency promotional list. Your passing score on the written exam will also be a passing score once adjusted for seniority.

OSA Newsline - March 22, 2010

The Department of Citywide Administrative Services has issued the proposed answer keys for the analyst series exams given on the weekend of February 19-21, 2010.

You can download the proposed answer key for the Staff Analyst and Education Analyst exams at this link:

Proposed Answer Key - Staff and Education Analyst Exams

And you can download the proposed answer key for the Associate Staff Analyst and Associate Education Analyst exams at this link:

Proposed Answer Key - Associate Staff and Associate Education Analyst Exams

You can compare the proposed keys with your own answer sheet to see how you did on the exam(s). Comparison with the item analysis the union produced (see the March 8 OSA Newsline) may help you to determine questions that might be worth protesting at the test review sessions that are scheduled for later this week. If you requested the right to review your exam and you have not received a notice to come to a test review session, we suggest you contact DCAS immediately.

A few reminders. If you took both the Staff and Associate exams and, therefore, answered 100 questions, your grade for Staff Analyst is based on questions 1-80 and your grade for ASA is based on questions 1-60 and 81-100. All questions are worth 1.25 points. Passing is a grade of 70 on each written exam, or 56 correct answers. Your score on the written exam is your final score for the open competitive staff, education, associate staff and associate education analyst exams.

However, if you took the promotional version of the ASA and/or AEA exams, your grade is divided between your written exam score (worth 85% of your final score) and your seniority score (worth 15% of your final score). To calculate your seniority score, start with 70 points and add to that 70 points a half point for every 3 months of "completed, permanent, continuous service with an agency under the jurisdiction of the Commissioner, Department of Citywide Administrative Services in competitive class titles." (DCAS notes that "service will be credited through the date of the test, up to a maximum of 15 years. Time served prior to a break in service of more than one year will not be credited.") After you calculate your seniority score, multiply your score on the written test by 0.85 and your seniority score by 0.15 and add the two results to obtain your final grade on the promotional exam.

OSA Newsline - March 15, 2010

Negotiations were held last week on health benefit give backs proposed by the City. Municipal Labor Committee Chairperson Harry Nespoli responded with our willingness to negotiate but pointed out that we would do so in the context of collective bargaining.

The City responded mildly at present, but the future, we are being told, is grim due to problems in Albany and the current recession. Meanwhile the City is ending the fiscal year with a $3 billion surplus.

There was some news also on the issue of reclassifying our jobs. As members are aware, the Long Beach decision has forced the City to consider obeying the law when it comes to civil service jobs. Having briefly considered obeying the law, the Mayor has apparently shuddered with horror and is getting the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to petition the State to allow the City to get around the law by using exempt employees by the thousands.

The most recent battle was fought last Wednesday. Len Shrier, our General Counsel, testified on OSA’s behalf against a proposal to turn the Department of Environmental Protection into the Department of Patronage Protection.

Of course, every agency needs a Commissioner, but does DEP really need 17 new Assistant Commissioners, 11 new Deputy Commissioners and five other new Deputy Directors, etc.

The DCAS proposal is sort of cost neutral. DCAS is asking to replace that many Administrative Staff Analysts with these new grand poobahs, untested for merit or fitness, but guaranteed to be congenial.

The DCAS proposal is cost neutral unless you believe cronyism and corruption could cost the City millions. If you do not believe cronyism can cost the taxpayers heavily, consider our current time keeping system. It has cost nearly three quarters of a billion dollars and replaced a prior system that had not failed and the new system still doesn’t work right.

Things could be worse. Mayor Bloomberg only wants to evade the 1901 Civil Service Law. Former Mayor Ed Koch, however, has recently joined with former Parks Commissioner Henry Stern to begin to replace Albany legislators with political hacks approved by Koch and Stern.

Both Koch and Stern were infamous for their plundering of the public till to hire friends and supporters. Koch had the Ferrick Commission Report on his patronage operations run out of the basement of City Hall. Henry Stern himself hired ivy league graduates with proper social connections to be his go-fors. Naturally, Henry did not pay the cost of his go-fors. We did.

Having both Henry and Ed offer to come to save us with their peculiar brand of progressive (read corrupt) politics, is almost enough to make us support Bloomberg. (Not quite, but almost.)

Finally, the mail should go out this week. Included will be the hard copy of the item analysis and stories from the exams. The same content is up already on this website as the March 2010 edition of News From OSA.

On March 25th is our general membership meeting and members are encouraged to bring their exam experiences to the meeting as well.

OSA Newsline - March 8, 2010

Two pieces of bad news this week.

First, the Off Track Betting Corporation sent us an early warning notice of layoffs due at OTB. On the surface, the letter is remarkably blunt. It states that all OTB sites will close on March 30th and that all OTB employees will be laid off as a result.

Beneath the surface, we are aware that OTB is awaiting action by the state legislature to approve their new business model. Meanwhile, since the state legislature is somewhat confused these days, the warnings we have received are needed and proper.

OSA has five members at OTB and the union will stay on top of this evolving story.

Second, the union office was saddened by the loss of one of our sisters. Vyda Liaugaudas, a long time staffer at our benefit fund (pictured at left), passed away last week. In addition to her job assisting retirees to obtain their benefits, Vyda was also the union office’s only expert in the field of origami. We, here at the union office, will miss Vyda and our members have lost a nice lady who always did her best for them.

Finally, the union has completed the item analysis for the recent analyst series exams. You can download it in PDF format at this link. Please remember that this is not DCAS's official preliminary answer key which will be posted on the DCAS website on the page at this link in several weeks. It will indicate DCAS's preferred answer to each question on the exam.

The item analysis is based on 200 answer sheets returned to the union for the main 2/20/10 analyst exam session. It gives you the number and percentage of those 200 candidates who chose each answer A-D. We did not receive sufficient numbers of answer sheets to do an item analysis for either the Friday or Sunday alternate sessions.

Where the most popular answer accounted for 50.1% or more of the total answers, that answer is highlighted. Where no answer accounted for 50.1% or more of the total answers, the highest two (or three) answers are highlighted and the question number in the left hand column is white not gray.

The best information we have is that those candidates who took one level of test (Staff OR Associate Staff Analyst) completed either questions 1-60 and 81-100 or questions 1-80. Those who took two levels (Staff AND Associate Staff Analyst) completed all 100 questions.

Compare your answer sheet to the item analysis to see how you did, then compare it with the preliminary answer key when DCAS publishes it in about a month's time to determine which questions might be worth protesting. A question in which a majority in the item analysis picked the same answer as DCAS, but you did not is probably a less fruitful question to protest than one in which there was no majority answer.

OSA Newsline - March 1, 2010

Layoffs. Our union learned last week of layoffs due at the Department of Finance. At first we were told there would be four analysts laid off, but as it developed there were two and one of the two is permanent in status and will be redeployed.

We asked, as we always do, about using a voluntary furlough to save the one member still in jeopardy. The city responded that, in this case, Finance was not willing to consider a furlough since the agency expects further layoffs in fiscal year 2011.

Executive Director Sheila Gorsky is still seeking to avert the remaining layoff but, as members are aware, the fiscal situation is serious.

On a brighter note, members have sent us enough copies of their answer sheets that we should be able to enter the data and complete an item analysis. Once complete, the results will be posted on our website giving the percentage who chose each answer for each question. The results are not tabulated yet, but should be by next week.