State employment system in need of major update

Would you wait 78 days for a job with the state of New Mexico?

More importantly, could you?

According to various news reports, almost half of Americans have more credit-card debt than emergency savings, more than three-fourths live paycheck to paycheck and 28 percent have no emergency savings.

So unless you are fortunate enough to be independently wealthy, or gainfully employed in this still-recovering economy, or among the minority of Americans who have set aside enough cash to take your household through 2 1/2 months, the answer to those questions is no, and heck no.

Yet 78 days is how long the state of New Mexico’s so-called streamlined hiring system takes to turn an applicant into an employee.

Several Cabinet secretaries say the two-year-old computer hiring program — called Insight, marketed by NEOGOV — is not to blame. And it’s not like things were impressively efficient prior to Insight; before it was installed it took the state on average 69 days to hire someone.

While state Personnel Director Gene Moser defends the computer program, dismisses a new Legislative Finance Committee report that claims it’s cumbersome, and instead blames the state’s 13 percent vacancy rate on low salaries caused by an outdated pay structure, the basic problem presented by the LFC is getting applicants processed and selected.

Not paid more.

General Services Secretary Ed Burckle says “we internally need to speed up the process from certifying a (candidate) list to hiring a person.”

Talk about an understatement.

Something is forcing the applicants who can afford to stick with the state to make ends meet for around 11 weeks before getting their first paycheck. New Mexico taxpayers fork over $50,000 a year for a computer hiring program that was pitched as a way to streamline and improve the state’s hiring process.

So here’s a little “insight” — that’s $50,000 a year wasted, no matter if it’s because the state takes too long to get information into the program on the front end and/or turn it into action on the back end, or the program itself is the problem.

And most New Mexicans can’t afford that, either.

— Albuquerque Journal

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