Hundreds file applications for 2 administrative jobs County gets broad range of candidates

August 04, 1993|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff Writer

More than 800 people have applied to fill two administrative vacancies in Howard County government and the crush of applicants hasn't surprised the county personnel office one bit.

Getting more than 400 applications for a budget analyst opening and 393 from people seeking to become a County Council legislative assistant during a two-week period is merely a reflection of the economy, said P. William Herndon, assistant personnel administrator. "Quite often, in the past couple of years, people will have qualifications that exceed those needed for the job."

Fourteen people with law degrees once applied for a paralegal job in the county office of law and a physician was among the more than 900 people to apply for a job at the waste water treatment plant in Savage.

Accountants, auditors, bank vice presidents, retirees, state budget officers and corporate managers are among the applicants for the current budget analyst position.

Some already earn more than the $49,166 maximum the county would pay, but say they would take a cut to live closer to home and reduce commuting times. The minimum for the position is $30,760, but the successful candidate is guaranteed a raise after the first year.

The county may have gotten twice as many analyst applicants had it not limited its advertisements to the Baltimore area, Mr. Herndon said.

The search for a County Council aide included advertising in Washington, and as a result, garnered many applicants who had Capitol Hill experience. Their reason for seeking new jobs, most said, was that their former bosses had failed to win re-election.

Although the council legislative assistant job has the same $49,166 maximum as the analyst position, it has a higher minimum, $33,981.

Still, the job attracted "lots of people with advanced degrees," said Joanne T. Nelson, county personnel director. Included in that number were a lot of state and federal employees, lawyers, congressional aides, and people with doctorates, she said.

The job required applicants to have experience at drafting legislation and policy making experience, but only 25 of the 393 hopefuls washed out on that account.

The county personnel office has winnowed the list of council applicants to 10. Seven people were interviewed Monday and Tuesday. The remaining three are to be interviewed today. The successful candidate is expected to replace a long-time legislative assistant already serving the council.

Until this year, the council's three legislative assistants were political appointees. In July, the positions were elevated to a higher pay grade and given permanent status. A person holding a permanent position cannot be easily fired. Political appointees have no such protection.

One of the three assistant positions is vacant and is now being filled. The council provided that the appointed legislative assistants could apply along with everyone else to fill that vacancy. One did, and is expected to be hired in September after the council has an opportunity to ratify the selection of Council Administrator Sheila Tolliver.

Once that happens, a second person will be hired to fill the vacancy created by the legislative assistant who moved from political to permanent status. The second person would be chosen from the current list and could be hired the same day as the current assistant, personnel officials say.

County Budget Administrator Raymond S. Wacks said he has not begun interviewing his 10 candidates because he has yet to receive a winnowed list from the personnel office. He said he hopes to fill the analyst position by Labor Day.

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