TALLMADGE — Passing a Civil Service test will not longer be a requirement for classified employees in the Tallmadge City School District.

Tallmadge City Council approved "a fundamental change to the way Tallmadge City Schools hires," according to its chief operating officer, Steve Wood. Going forward, the school district will oversee all district employment matters rather than the Civil Service Commission.

When Tallmadge City School District was a Civil Service employer, some positions have required the successful completion of an examination process to be considered for the candidate pool. The exams have been administered through the city’s Civil Service department.

However, Wood told lawmakers, "We believe that we can do that better without the Civil Service process." He characterized the present arrangement as limiting the candidate pool, noting that just two school districts in the Suburban League — Tallmadge and Kent — utilize the Civil Service process for hiring classified employees. 

"Frankly, from my perspective," Wood stated, "when we’re hiring people, is it the first thing we want, or to prioritize the ability to pass a written test? No, that list would be character, hard work, experience — there would be a pretty long list before you got to ability to perform on a written test." 

Wood said the change he was proposing was supported by Local 1 of the Service Employees International Union, the bargaining unit for a majority of the non-teaching employees of the Tallmadge City School District. Of the school district’s 276 employees, Wood said 39 would be affected by the change and reported 20 of those are food service employees.

Ward 1 Council Member Craig Sisak said he agreed with the points Wood had made, as did Council President (Ward 4) Carol Kilway.

"I think the Tallmadge City Schools does a phenomenal job hiring teachers, so why would they not do this well of a job hiring classified (employees)?" Kilway asked her colleagues.

City Council voted to enact an ordinance limiting the jurisdiction of the City’s Civil Service Commission to city employees only. Council Member Becky Allman (Ward 2) was absent from the meeting.

Reporter Ellin Walsh can be reached at 330-541-9419, ewalsh@recordpub.com or @EllinWalsh_RPC.