Research Proposal: Public Administration the Boone Air Force Base

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Public Administration

The Boone Air Force Base is a large education and training facility that has a child development center that provides federally subsidized childcare for military personnel. The center employs two different types of employees, those in civil service positions and those in non-appropriated fund positions. The civil service positions are the better of the two and are provided protections that the non-appropriated employees are not given. This makes moving into a civil service position a highly desirable thing to accomplish.

The development center is currently undergoing an expansion and when done in the next 30 days will double its current capacity. Because of the expansion to the center it was recently approved for two new full time civil service positions. Claudia Tyson, the manager of the development center, had been told by a friend of hers at another base that she may be able to split the two full time positions into four part time positions and give her some flexibility in staffing. Tyson, cleared this move with Jim Smith who is the staffing specialist working with the child development center. He told her that splitting the two full time positions into four part time positions would be ok, and Tyson went ahead with filling two of these open positions.

Six weeks after the two positions had been filled an individual working in another unit at Boone AFB who intended to apply for one of the two full time positions filed a grievance. She alleged in her grievance that Boone AFB and Tyson have violated Air Force regulations and the union contract by not properly opening and advertising the two new full time civil service positions.

Analysis

The Boone Air Force Base found themselves in the middle of a grievance due to some inappropriate hiring practices. Although there was not any misconduct in this issue there was a complete lack of a defined procedure in how to administer hiring practices. The basis of this entire issue surrounds the lack of a defined procedure that must be followed when job openings are approved.

When the two full time civil service positions for the childcare center where approved and Tyson wanted to split them into four part time positions, there should have been a precise process in place to check to make sure that this was possible. When Tyson called to Smith to get the go ahead he should have checked the local union contract and the base regulation to make sure that this was appropriate. These actions could have helped to avoid this entire situation.

After two of the part time positions were filled and it was discovered that this could not be done, Smith should have consulted someone above him in order to come up with a solution that might have prevented the grievance being filed. At the point that the grievance was filed the relationship between management and the staffing department was damaged. They do in the end all work for the same place and should be functioning as a team and not as individual departments, doing their own separate things.

The only fair thing to do in this case is to repost the two full time civil service positions and go through the process of hiring for them. If the incumbents are interested in a full time position over a part time one then they should be allowed to apply. If in the end either one of them is not hired then there needs to be a plan put into place to make sure that there is a job for them somewhere else. If either one ends up unemployed it was after all through no fault of their own.

Recommended Course of Action

In order to make the entire situation fair to everyone involved, the two full time civil service positions need to be re-posted and advertised appropriately. This will allow for everyone to be given an equal opportunity to apply for the open positions and be considered for employment in these positions. The two employees that already hold one of these positions but as part time employees should be able to keep their jobs until the positions are reposted and filled accordingly. They will need to reapply for the position if they are still interested in it as a full time job. If they are no longer in this position or are not successful in gaining employment in such they should be given priority help in locating a comparable part time position.

Even though the AFB labor relations specialist had advised James, that even though the contract did not specifically cover this situation, the feeling was that the intent of the contract was to ensure that all employees be afforded the opportunity to apply for all vacant positions. There is also an underlying concern about the negative publicity that will come from this situation, especially surrounding John Brown, the union rep, who is running for union president.

Considering the fact that Smith had approved the splitting of the two full time positions into four part time positions without checking any of the rules and regulations to see if this was appropriate, and then approving the reconverted positions again without reviewing any rules or regulations, he should suffer some consequences for his actions.

In order to try and avoid this situation from every happening again, the staffing department needs to sit down with management and put into place a step-by-step plan that requires checks and balances in order to assure that all rules and regulations are being met and no one's rights are being violated.

Essay Questions

1. Who do you think is right-Jones, the labor relations specialist, or Smith, the staffing officer?

I think that Jones is right and that the positions should be re-opened and properly advertised. There is a sense that the sentiment that is to be conveyed is that all employees should be given the opportunity to apply for all vacant positions and this is in fact not what occurred.

2. Who should take the responsibility for redressing the grievance- your office or management?

What advice do you have to redress the informal grievance?

I think that that my office should be responsible for redressing the grievance, since it was ultimately Smith that made the final call on the situation. The advice that I would have is that after the positions are reposted and the final hiring decisions are made, those employees out of the three that don't end up with one of these positions be given priority help with finding another position on the base.

3. If you do decide it is best to re-open and advertise the positions, how will you convince management to accept this decision? What should you do with those already in the positions?

I would not expect management to be very receptive to the solution of re-opening and advertising the positions. In order to make the entire process fair I would think that those already in those positions would keep them temporarily but have to reapply and risk not being given the job again.

4. If you think Smith provided management with bad advice, do you think he should be disciplined?

Yes, I think that he should take responsibility for giving the bad advice. Being the position that he is he should have checked to make sure that what he was saying was indeed true.

5. What will you do to rebuild relations with the union and with management? How can such problems be prevented in the future, and what process would you recommend be put in place regarding such personnel decisions?

In order to rebuild the relationship the two entities must work together to implement a plan to prevent this from ever happening again. A distinct step-by-step process should be documented in order to address the steps that need to be taken in every situation surrounding personnel issues.

Findings

Cherry County Human Services Department is a state agency that is responsible for social intervention services. The Children's Services Program is responsible for handling caseloads of protective services, foster care, delinquency and prevention. The agency as a whole is overworked and workers face high levels of stress and sometimes dangerous field work on a daily basis.

There are currently sixteen child welfare social workers employed at the agency. Cherry County Human Services has had a large amount of turnover in the past ten years. The staff that is left is very stressed and burnt out. The agency as a whole has a very bad reputation not only among their peers but within the community as well. Many of the current employees have been reprimanded for failure to do their jobs, along with several instances of other misconduct throughout the organization.

The agencies relationship with not only the community but with the court system has deteriorated over the years. The Cherry County Family Court judge, Kathleen Own, has called for something to be done about the problems as CCHS. She is especially concerned with the way that… [END OF PREVIEW]

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