Changing hiring rules at City Hall to make it easier for Bristol residents to get entry-level jobs may be harder than supporters realized.
The top problem may be that it’s not easy to determine where somebody lives.
“It’s difficult to police,” said Personnel Director Diane Ferguson. “I don’t know how you’re going to know.”
It would be relatively easy, officials said Wednesday, for somebody to use a Bristol address on a job application for a municipal position.
Beyond that, Ferguson said, it isn’t clear just how the city could give its residents a leg up in the process.
Towns that offer their residents a boost in seeking jobs usually give them extra points on a Civil Service scale, she said. But Bristol doesn’t use that system in its hiring.
So it isn’t obvious how officials could provide a built-in advantage for residents without revising the entire hiring system.
The city uses a 100-point scale in grading applicants for police and fire jobs, officials said, and because of that it has been able to offer veterans an extra 5 points on top of their test scores, perhaps propelling some job seekers into contention for a position.
But other city positions, including the custodial and public works spots that city Councilor Mike Rimcoski is aiming to hand to Bristol residents, are not filled using a point system.
Ferguson said that her office and the relevant departmental supervisors weed through applications to determine which ones are most qualified for the positions that are open.
The best of the bunch, officials said, are interviewed in person before hiring decisions are made.
Rimcoski said hiring locally would mean more money would be kept in the city’s economy.
But Councilor Cliff Block said that he would rather the city hire based on merit so that it gets the best employees possible.
“Cliff Block doesn’t want to give local people the job,” Rimcoski said.
Block fired back that if the city builds two new schools and funds its education system properly, “the best and brightest” applicants will come from Bristol.
Ferguson said about 58 percent of city positions are filled by Bristol residents currently.
“That’s lousy,” Rimcoski said.
“Because our schools are lousy,” city Councilor Craig Minor responded.
“You must have gone to them,” Rimcoski fired back.
The Salary Committee agreed to consider the issue further next month.
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