By DIANE S. WILLIAMS
Four provisional Climbers and Pruners who were denied appointment to permanent status by the Dept. of Citywide Administrative Services are now civil servants in the Parks Dept. thanks to DC 37’s successful appeal on their behalf.
“They had been doing the job for about two years so there was no reason their bump up to permanent status should not have gone through,” said DC 37 Blue Collar Division Council Rep Bob Gervasi. “So I did some digging.”
Gervasi contacted DCAS, which referred him to the Dept. of Parks and Recreation. He said, “It was a tangle of bureaucracy trying to find the person who would have the answers.”
Gervasi found out that DCAS rejected the Local 1506 members’ job applications, but that decision gave them the opportunity to appeal. Local 1506 worked with DC 37 Legal Dept. lawyer Ana Papadhimitri, who appealed the cases before the Civil Service Commission.
Since the job of City Climbers and Pruners is a hard-to-recruit title, the Parks Dept. was on-board to hire the four, who worked at Brooklyn Forestry in Prospect Park.
City Climbers and Pruners need tremendous physical strength and agility to hoist themselves into treetops to prune branches and remove dead trees. Their work as arborists keeps city sidewalks, parks and roadways safe.
“After many calls, I found these provisional Climbers and Pruners either omitted employment information or sufficient past employment verification on their job applications,” said Gervasi.
“When someone uses their education and experience, DCAS counts the job application as part of the test score,” Gervasi said. There were errors on the applications, which led DCAS to decline them.
The union made sure the applicants “dotted all the i’s and crossed the t’s and resubmitted the forms,” said Papadhimitri. DCAS reviewed and approved the applications.
“The union fights vigorously to uphold the civil service process. These four members now can work without the worry of being laid off at a later date because they hadn’t made the hiring list as permanent civil servants,” said Local 1506 President John Huber.