Civil Service Reform in Education

By Soniemi Rodríguez

The Financial Oversight and Management Board and the Puerto Rico Government  have started to expand the successful Civil Service Reform from the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget pilot to the administrative and fiscal functions of the Puerto Rico Department of Education (PRDE).

The Oversight Board and PRDE has held seven Town Hall meetings to give PRDE employees an overview of Civil Service Reform and discuss the next step: the self-evaluation questionnaires about their workplace experiences, skill sets acquired, challenges faced, and professional development.

In the questionnaires, employees are asked about their specific duties, how long it takes them to carry out different tasks and self-assess their skills and proficiency in various areas.

The results of the questionnaires and other information will inform the recommendations to help improve PRDE’s organization structure, potential reclassification of positions, recruiting, and enhancing training to strengthen knowledge and skills.

The goal is to help PRDE and its employees to enhance efficiency and performance of the department’s administration and schools by refining accounting and finance functions. The Civil Service Reform does not involve eliminating positions or reducing salaries. Rather, the focus is on improving training and professional development, as well as providing competitive salaries for Puerto Rico’s civil servants.

There are four important components of Civil Service Reform at PRDE:

  • Evaluate the organizational structures of PRDE so that they are aligned with the vision and objectives of the government.
  • Review salaries to ensure uniformity and competitive pay.
  • Modernize and digitize the recruitment process to attract and retain talent.
  • Design an employee evaluation system to support the development of skills and competencies to promote professional opportunities.

The Town Hall introduced Civil Service Reform to PRDE employees from the central and regional offices and also to those in Arecibo, Bayamón, Caguas, Humacao, Mayagüez, and Ponce.

Civil Service Reform will strengthen PRDE’s organizational structure and identify opportunities to transform the agency and benefit employees, thus improving outcomes for public school students.

Soniemi Rodríguez is the Implementation Support Lead of the Oversight Board’s Policy & Research Department

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