[IPAC-List] Merit System Principles and hiring competent people

mhammer at 295.ca mhammer at 295.ca
Wed Jan 8 11:11:37 EST 2020

Within the Canadian context. if the appointee is considered to be
"qualified" then they are also considered to be competent.  That may well
be a gamble, but then that's what performance reviews are for.

I should qualify that by noting that at least 80-85% (and often more) of
appointments within the Canadian PS in any given year are internal.  So if
the candidate was questionable with respect to their competence, the
reference check would flag that.  In which case, being "qualified" is a
relatively safe bet...assuming the reference check is thorough and honest.
 But that means the question of competence is germane to external hires,
where track record is harder to track and the individual may have somewhat
limited workforce history by virtue of youth.  Still, I doubt that one
could stipulate that competence has to be added on top of being qualified
ONLY for external hires into the PS, especially since some appointed into
the PS are sought because they DO have established and commendable track
records of competence in a particular field.  Thankfully, one has the
option of a limited term appointment for external hires, such that "30
year mistakes" (thanks to Ilene Gast for that expression!) can be avoided.

Mark Hammer

> Joel,
> I have a talk I have given and do give on the history of Merit principles.
> To make a long talk short -
> 1. At the State and Local level, merit principles are usually codified
> through statements in the Constitution, Laws, Rules, Codes, or local Civic
> Service rules.
> 2. NY, Massachusetts, and OHio were the three states to first have merit
> principles in their code.
> 3. As for how Merit is operationalized, you need to look at the particular
> language of the relevant code. Usually, the code refers to "merit" and
> "fitness" with "merit" defined as performance on a competitive examination
> and "fitness" left more ambiguous. There may also be statements regarding
> the applicants being "qualified" and the listing of "minimums."
>  Is that what you were asking?
> Dennis
> On Tue, Jan 7, 2020 at 11:06 PM Joel Wiesen <
> jwiesen at appliedpersonnelresearch.com> wrote:
>> Is there anything in the Merit System Principles that says that a person
>> passing an exam should be competent to do the job?
>> Also, where is it written that the merit system principles apply to
>> state and local governments?
>> All I found so far is that we should be promoting the best qualified
>> person, for federal service jobs.
>> Thanks.
>> Joel
>> --
>> Joel P. Wiesen, Ph.D., Director
>> Applied Personnel Research
>> 62 Candlewood Road
>> Scarsdale, NY 10583-6040
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>> http://appliedpersonnelresearch.com
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> --
> Dennis Doverspike, PhD., ABPP
> dennisdoverspike at gmail.com
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