'We need COs now': N.Y. county adopts online questionnaire application process

The program changes testing from a written exam to a "training and experience" questionnaire


The Oneida Daily Dispatch

UTICA, N.Y. — Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. and Sheriff Robert M. Maciol announced today that the written examination for correction officers has been eliminated and replaced with an online questionnaire application process.

Oneida County was selected along with 12 other counties by the New York State Civil Service Department to participate in a pilot program. The program changes correction officer testing from a lengthy, written, multiple choice exam administered in person to a "training and experience" questionnaire that is taken strictly online.

"It is imperative that we make the civil service process as simple and streamlined as possible in order to fill the many vacancies we have in county government," Picente said in a news release. "Along with the raises that were recently given to our corrections officers through a new collective bargaining agreement, this change to the examination process will be of great assistance in pulling in more recruits to provide relief to a workforce that has stepped up to do so much."

A "training and experience" exam is one in which no written test is administered. Instead an applicant who meets the minimum qualifications and completes the questionnaire required by the state will automatically receive a passing score and be placed on a competitive civil service list. Additional points beyond the minimum passing score are determined by the state using the questionnaire.

"We need corrections officers now," Maciol said. "The written exam takes typically takes three to five months to be graded and that is a luxury we can't afford. Moving to the online model will not only speed up that process, but it puts us on a level playing field with the state correction officer hiring process, which also uses the 'training and experience' questionnaire.' Testing in this manner will give us more leeway to hire quality candidates that may have otherwise been deterred."

The application deadline for the written correction officer exam scheduled for December was originally set for Nov. 4. The adoption of the new online model has extended the deadline to Nov. 29.

Applicants who meet the minimum requirements will have to complete the 'training and experience' questionnaire between Dec. 15, 2022 and Jan. 15, 2023.

Those who already applied for the written exam will be notified of the change in testing procedure by the Oneida County Civil Service Office.

The fee to apply for the simplified online questionnaire will be reduced from $25 to $15, and is being reimbursed by Marcy-based businesses Mountain Ice.

To apply, visit: oneida-portal.mycivilservice.com/exams.

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