State workers seeing changes to promotion policy


INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana state workers are learning how they get pay raises and promotions is about to change.

Almost 28,000 Hoosiers are on the state's payroll as full-time workers. But come July 1, employees in five different state agencies will have to prove they're qualified to get some classified positions.

The new law passed back in the spring moves Indiana away from a 70-year-old system that simply required employees to meet basic hiring guidelines. The new message to state employees is that performance matters when it comes to promotions, layoffs and classified jobs.

State personnel put out letters and a video to explain the changes. It means state employees will be rated annually on their knowledge and skill levels.

All state employees, with the exception of those appointed by the governor, will be able to file complaints about wrongdoing and rules violations.

The Chief of Staff at State Personnel Denny Darrow is not expecting huge turnover, but says some employees within Homeland Security, Family and Social Services Administration, Workforce Development, Child Services and the Department of Labor will have to make the grade for classified jobs.

"It is a working test. We want to make sure you can meet the qualifications and do the job as it's described. If you can't do the job, then we have the ability to make that change," explained Darrow.

He says 90 percent of state employees will see no changes.

"You might have five percent of your employees at any given time that do not meet expectations, so those five percent, they now have expectations to live up to," he added.

The new system is designed to reward top performers and hold managers accountable with annual reviews, much like in the private sector. Unclassified workers can be demoted or dismissed at will.

Seniority will come into play for tiebreakers for promotions and employees recalled to service following layoffs.