Arbitration looms over HEO appointments
by Bernard Harbor

Fórsa is likely to seek third party arbitration in an emerging dispute over eligibility for appointment to civil service higher executive officer (HEO) positions.


The issue came to light after the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) said executive officers (EOs) who had successfully competed for both administrative officer (AO) and HEO positions were no longer eligible for the HEO position if they accepted an AO post.


This is now a problem for staff in a number of departments. The union says it’s unfair for a number of reasons, not least the fact that the AO salary has a significantly lower starting point than the HEO grade.


In a meeting with Fórsa, DPER said the competition circular stated that, in order to compete in the HEO competition, you could not be a member of an ‘equivalent’ grade. They say this means an AO cannot apply for a HEO position.


But the union rejected this because the staff concerned were all EOs when they competed for the HEO panel and, therefore, fulfilled the eligibility criteria of the competition. It says the circular is silent on appointment and simply says you cannot be at an equivalent grade to compete.

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