ELIZABETHTOWN — Applicants for certain jobs in Essex County can soon be fingerprinted right at the County Personnel Office instead of by an outside agency.
The State Department of Criminal Justice Services will cover all costs and provide the equipment, County Personnel Officer Monica Feeley said this week.
She told the County Board of Supervisors Personnel and Administration Committee that they estimate 25 people a month will need to be fingerprinted.
Criminal Justice Services will conduct training Sept. 3 and 4, with the new system going live Sept. 5.
The fingerprinting will be via an electronic scanner, Feeley said.
“We’ll likely do fingerprinting two days a week: Tuesday and Thursday. It should be an efficient process.”
Some jobs, such as in county courts or the County Mental Health Department, require that applicants be fingerprinted for background checks. Pistol-permit applicants must also be fingerprinted.
In the past, the Personnel Office had to send applicants to the County Sheriff’s Department or State Police to have that done.
County Manager Daniel Palmer said towns can also take advantage of the new service for jobs like youth commission aides or lifeguards.
The state is considering raising the fees it charges the county for State Civil Service examinations, Feeley said.
It now charges the county $7.50 a person for non-uniformed post exams and $12.50 each for uniformed jobs such as sheriff’s deputy or correction officer.
The county, in turn, charges $15 to each person who takes a non-uniformed position test and $25 for uniformed. Feeley said they made about $1,400 in revenue last year from exam fees.
There are very few openings now for typists and clerks, she said, and the county has a hiring freeze.
But the County Sheriff’s Department and Horace Nye Nursing Home are exempt from the freeze, and 70 people took the recent Civil Service examination for correction officer, Feeley said.
TOP THREE QUALIFY
Although the state fees may increase, those who are unemployed or receiving County Department of Social Services benefits get a waiver from the charge, Feeley said, but the county must still pay the state fee.
No one on the committee showed any interest in increasing the exam fees that the county charges, and no action was taken.
Once the exam is given, the state requires that the person hired score in the top three, Feeley said.
“It’s up to the department head to interview those candidates and decide which is the best for their office.”
But Palmer said many applicants don’t put any effort into getting chosen, and that becomes a problem.
“They interview terribly. They don’t prepare for the interview. They don’t know what the job is about.
“They think if they scored in the top three they’re going to get hired.”
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