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NYS Civil Service "Rule of Three" Question

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  • NYS Civil Service "Rule of Three" Question

    Can anyone with some experience on this please break down exactly how departments hire from eligible lists and how the "Rule of Three" effects the chances of being canvassed and hired. I'm currently a Part-Timer with a department and recently scored a 90 on the most recent exam.. just trying to put it all together and figure out how long of a wait I'm in for.

  • #2
    I can't speak for New York, but I can tell you how the Rule of Three usually works with most agencies.

    The department has one vacancy to fill. They can select anyone from the top three ranks on the list, for any reason or no reason and they don't have to state why. Let's assume they pick whoever is Number 2 on the list. Numbers 1, 3 & 4 now become the top three they can select from for the purpose of filling the next vacancy. Next time around they pick Number 4. Numbers 1, 3 & 5 now become the top three for the purpose of filling the next vacancy.

    This process can be used to reach anyone in range they really want to hire. It can also be used to repeatedly bypass a candidate they don't want to hire. In that case, they Rule of Three him until the list is exhausted and they ask for a new test, or they wind up with three people they are playing the Rule of Three with that have created a log jam. Then they either have to hire one to break the jam or throw the list out and hold a new test.

    Where things get complicated is when departments start banding. Instead of assigning each applicant a position on the list based on his individual score, they (for example) place candidates who scored 95 to 100 in Band 1, 89 to 94 in Band 2, 83 to 88 in Band 3, 77 to 82 in Band 4, and 70 to 76 in Band 5.

    Under the Rule of Three, this allows them to select anyone in the top three bands (score of 83 to 100) to fill a position. This will be about 65% of the list or greater. Such a process defeats civil service's goal of attempting to hire the best qualified candidate and instead allows for selection based on friendship, or patronage, and can conceal discriminatory hiring practices that might otherwise be unlawful.
    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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    • #3
      L-1 thank you more the in-depth response, I've heard a lot of conflicting info and misinformation. Sounds like it's a flawed system but I wouldn't expect any less from a system that revolves around political hires and nepotism. Thanks again for taking the time out

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      • #4
        https://www.cs.ny.gov/jobseeker/faq/...theruleofthree

        This is what the website states for New York. However, I work at a local police department and I heard about the possibility of canvassing 95's and 90's already so I am not sure what that was about. I think it may have something to do with residency lists but otherwise I would go by what the website for NYS currently says. But also like you said, a lot of other ways around hiring and everyone will be able to find a way to get who they want which I have heard first hand from the Chief of my department.

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        • #5
          It's not flawed. It allows the hiring of those who are qualified, not those who test well but have zero ability to be a Police.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by L-1 View Post
            I can't speak for New York, but I can tell you how the Rule of Three usually works with most agencies.

            The department has one vacancy to fill. They can select anyone from the top three ranks on the list, for any reason or no reason and they don't have to state why. Let's assume they pick whoever is Number 2 on the list. Numbers 1, 3 & 4 now become the top three they can select from for the purpose of filling the next vacancy. Next time around they pick Number 4. Numbers 1, 3 & 5 now become the top three for the purpose of filling the next vacancy.

            This process can be used to reach anyone in range they really want to hire. It can also be used to repeatedly bypass a candidate they don't want to hire. In that case, they Rule of Three him until the list is exhausted and they ask for a new test, or they wind up with three people they are playing the Rule of Three with that have created a log jam. Then they either have to hire one to break the jam or throw the list out and hold a new test.

            Where things get complicated is when departments start banding. Instead of assigning each applicant a position on the list based on his individual score, they (for example) place candidates who scored 95 to 100 in Band 1, 89 to 94 in Band 2, 83 to 88 in Band 3, 77 to 82 in Band 4, and 70 to 76 in Band 5.

            Under the Rule of Three, this allows them to select anyone in the top three bands (score of 83 to 100) to fill a position. This will be about 65% of the list or greater. Such a process defeats civil service's goal of attempting to hire the best qualified candidate and instead allows for selection based on friendship, or patronage, and can conceal discriminatory hiring practices that might otherwise be unlawful.
            And in the majority of states; there is no civil service testing for municipal positions. This includes law enforcement and corrections. These are "at-will" positions and you serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority,

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by ranger023 View Post
              https://www.cs.ny.gov/jobseeker/faq/...theruleofthree

              This is what the website states for New York. However, I work at a local police department and I heard about the possibility of canvassing 95's and 90's already so I am not sure what that was about. I think it may have something to do with residency lists but otherwise I would go by what the website for NYS currently says. But also like you said, a lot of other ways around hiring and everyone will be able to find a way to get who they want which I have heard first hand from the Chief of my department.
              Job descriptions can be always "rewritten" to mirror an applicant's additional qualifications. And "resident-only" lists can be requested by the appointing officer. So if the Police Chief in Podunk Village wants to hire a village local who didn't score high enough on the general list of eligibles--he could always request the local Podunk Village resident list from county civil service of those who passed the exam--perhaps the candidate he wants is reachable for appointment in that manner.

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