House passes Serpa bill to make several changes to the hiring process used by state agencies


STATE HOUSE — The House of Representatives today passed legislation introduced by Rep. Patricia Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry) that would make several changes to the ways state agencies hire employees.

The bill is the culmination of several hearings of a special legislative commission chaired by Representative Serpa that was tasked with making a comprehensive study and providing recommendations for changes to the merit system of personnel administration and personnel management for the Department of Human Services and the Department of Children, Youth and Families.

The bill (2024-H 8096) would make several changes to the hiring portion of the personnel administration law, including:

§  Reducing waiting periods for a response from candidates that have been offered a job;

§  Expediting when qualified job candidates would be forwarded to the hiring department of DHS;

§  Requiring the state to hold a quarterly civil service exam for the purpose of filling social worker positions at DHS; and

§  Extending the DCYF civil service exam program pilot to March 15, 2026 (the pilot is currently slated to end on Sept. 30, 2024).

“The lack of staffing in these agencies has caused residents to wait far too long to resolve any issues with these departments, and the unfilled positions also impact the morale of the current staff,” said Representative Serpa. “And with hiring being what it is today, it is imperative that the state to have flexibility in the hiring process while continuing to protect the integrity of our programs.”

The measure now moves to the Senate, where Sen. Matthew L. LaMountain (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston) has introduced similar legislation (2024-S 3003).                                           


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