The State Worker

Teletypewriter operator? California government still has that

The state’s 1,022-page Civil Service Classifications review is as tall as a soda can.
The state’s 1,022-page Civil Service Classifications review is as tall as a soda can. The Sacramento Bee

Like cobwebs and clutter in an attic, California’s state bureaucracy is stuffed with hundreds of outdated or needless job classifications that complicate hiring and make government more expensive.

A new report by a team of personnel experts, five hardy souls with about 200 years of state human resources experience between them, dissects the government’s 3,666 job classifications and suggests which should be whacked, axed or packed with other jobs to simplify the system.

For example, the state still has “teletypewriter operator” on the books. The reviewers said the classification needs to go: “No positions established or filled in state service ... Technology outdated.”

The state employs one “telephone operator” at Atascadero State Hospital but it’s not clear what that person does. The facility’s “switchboard is no longer in operation,” according to the report, which recommends the state look into the situation and, “assuming that the absence of a switchboard is confirmed, abolish the class.”

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has nearly three-dozen “English language development teacher” categories and hundreds of other specialized prison-instructor classifications. The reviewers’ common-sense recommendation: “Use one teacher class for all departments and subjects ... (with) hiring based on choosing those with the appropriate credential.”

Gov. Jerry Brown and other proponents of overhauling the state’s civil service system say spiffing it up will, among other things, eliminate costly individual tests for similar positions and ease recruiting from the private sector.

Call Jon Ortiz, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1043.