(Harrisburg) -- Dauphin County hopes merit-based hiring will vastly improve the quality of new employees in human services.
The transition to the system will start in early April, after years under a civil service hiring system.
Applicants will still have to take a test, but a new interview component is being added that would carry equal weight.
The county will also give preference to its residents. The hope is the move with also help the agency do more with less.
"They've been struggling with reduced federal and state resources. And for us to make sure that we have those direct line jobs filled, and filled with folks who are the most qualified and also have an understanding and experience as a part of that criteria, and not just a test, is really important for us," says Commissioner George Hartwick.
Human services is the only agency where the change will occur immediately, but Hartwick says he hopes to incorporate some of them in other county departments.
"It's going to be difficult because the way that this is structured is strictly based upon the plan that we've submitted to the Department of Public Welfare and to the other funding agencies, and we need to stay pretty much strictly to our plan."
He says nothing will change for military veterans under the new system.
They will still get preference in hiring decisions.
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