December 23, 2007
HR Connect – or does it?
The BoE’s relatively new $30,000,000 info-system, announced with great pomp and circumlocution at Klein’s September PEP meeting and touted on their website as a “single point of access for all human resources-related information,” actually offers a remarkable range of other phenomena: incorrect and tangential answers, rudeness, and a deep ignorance of the Chancellor’s Regulations.
I’ve already written about the first encounter I had with this functionally challenged service when I called them to ask how the position I was excessed from was listed on Galaxy. As important as that piece of information was to my own status, ongoing grievance, and job prospects, it was too much for HR Connect to handle, as I knew very well it would be. The super-trained operator did not have an answer for me.
This week I had occasion to use the system again when a question came up about whether teachers could tutor students privately after school. I had remembered seeing a conflict-of-issue statement about tutoring at some point, but couldn't find it through a quick search on the BoE website. HR Connect could surely answer this one, I thought, so I called them again and asked:
The first person I spoke to pretty swiftly re-shaped my question into something of her own invention and proceeded to answer that new version by telling me how I could apply to be a BoE tutor. When I cut her off to remind her that that wasn't my question at all and that I had no desire whatsoever to become a BoE tutor, she said something about that's the information she had. This prompted me to ask where I could find such a regulation on the BoE website so I could read the language for myself.
“You can't access it. It’s on our system,” said she, in so many words.
Granted I started to raise my voice at this point.
She put me rather abruptly on hold to fetch a supervisor, who was rather inclined to answer from the identical script. This time, though, there was that “special tone” in the voice that reeked of condescension and annoyance.
After a bit of a tussle, she too got frustrated with my persistence in wanting my original question answered and hit me with: “Go ask your principal,” to which I responded that my principal’s opinion on this issue would be entirely irrelevant. Either a conflict of interest is stipulated somewhere or it is not.
Weakened but still on the ready, she parried with: “Then go ask the UFT," whom everyone and his mother knows does not make the rules.
Being that Accountability and Grades are so much the rage over there at Tweed, I’m taking the opportunity to grade HR Connect on my two experiences with them. In fact, I’ll break it down this way:
By way of an epilogue, I still needed to have an answer to my original question, so I asked a colleague later in the day if they had ever come across any ruling on the issue of private tutoring.
“I do remember something on this,” the person said, full of easy energy and comprehension, and proceeded to find it online in the Chancellor’s Regs in under one minute and at no cost whatsoever. (It's C-110, by the way.)
So much for HR Connect, which as far as I’m concerned, is not only down for the count, but as hodge-podge as anything else ordered up by the BoE in recent memory.