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Friday, December 10, 2010

Job Hunting Lackawanna County Style

There was an interesting sub-text in an article that appeared in Monday’s edition of the Scranton Times. You can link to the article HERE. I know, the article itself is just your run-o-the-mill disgruntled employee sues county government kind of thing, but what caught my eye was the fact that the employee in question, after having been released by the office of Ken McDowell, was able to secure another public sector job via Ed Karpovich. What’s so special about that? Well apparently Mr Karpovich filled this position without the need to actually find out if anyone else on planet Earth was better qualified for the (new) position in question.

This begs the following question: Are you an out of work accountant or accounting clerk? Think you can handle Lackawanna County book keeping? Well too bad. Apparently in county government it’s not necessarily qualifications but contacts that count.

Now it is entirely possible that the employee in question was the best qualified for his (new) position, but alas, we will never know this for sure, as no one bothered to find out.

Sarcasm aside, this really bothers me.  ALL OPEN POSITIONS in ANY LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT should be open and available for application by ANY member of the public.  

Filling an open position with an insider perpetuates the idea that government is run by politicians and bureaucrats who care more about their own power than they do about the public's business.  It is in the public's best interest that county government be staffed with the best qualified individuals who can provide best value to tax payers.  Filling a position without actually determining if anyone was better qualified is simply wrong.

Note that I'm sympathetic to the plight of the employee in question.  It at least sounds like he got a bad deal while working for Mr. McDowell.  However, while his story is certainly disheartening, I have no way of saying for sure that there isn't someone else out there, equally qualified for this job, with an even more disheartening story.  Mr Kaprovich doesn't know this either...he didn't bother to look.

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