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Monday, February 07, 2005

Ind. Gov't. - "We need to change the culture of government in Lake County"

"We need to change the culture of government in Lake County," is a quote from a story yesterday in the Munster (NW Indiana) Times, headlined "With no HR department in Lake County, patronage runs rampant: Other Indiana counties of similar size have formal hiring policies, online access." More from the story by Meggen Lindsay:

CROWN POINT | Looking for a job in Porter County government? Apply online. How about in Marion or Allen counties? Again, apply online. Elkhart and St. Joseph counties make employment information readily available on their Web sites as well.

It's another story in Lake County. In a marked contrast to other populous Indiana counties, nowhere on the county's new Web site is there any mention of open jobs -- nor are there any visible postings at its government complex.

Yet, positions come open, and new employees are hired every month. But also unlike many other counties, Lake County has no human resources department to manage its nearly 2,300 full- and part-time employees. Not one employee is designated to gather applications or post jobs countywide. Instead, how the jobs are filled -- and whether they are ever publicly advertised -- changes from office to office.

"Then how can the majority of people in Lake County find out about jobs?" asked Laurence Msall, president of the Chicago-based Civic Federation, a nonpartisan tax policy and government research group. "It should be an open process, so the most qualified candidates are hired, rather than someone somebody knows." * * *

But most county officials say they hire only qualified people and need to make their own hiring and firing decisions.

"I run every four years. The people who vote for me vote based on what my people do for them," county Prosecutor Bernard Carter said. "I tell my constituents I will do a good job for them, and to do that, I need to have some control over the people who work in my office."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 7, 2005 08:28 AM
Posted to Indiana Government