State agencies work around hiring freeze

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Monday, January 23, 2012

In the six weeks since Gov. John Kitzhaber ordered a hiring freeze, state agencies have requested more than 1,200 exceptions.

 

Using criteria that put protecting health and safety as the No. 1 priority, the panel approved the Department of Forestry's request for 430 seasonal firefighters. 
The Transportation Department also got a green light to add snowplow drivers after the agency pointed out that "employees can only work so many overtime hours before they become fatigued and exhausted." 
The Department of Energy desperately wants to hire a leader for its Energy Policy Division. The position, with an annual salary ranging from $69,072 to $101,880, has been vacant since July. In a memo, Energy officials argue that the executive is needed to meet the governor's priorities, including a 10-year-energy strategy and the "Cool Schools" initiative for making school buildings more energy efficient. The committee denied the request. Twice.

Read more at OregonLive.com.

{biztweet}oregon hiring freeze{/biztweet}

 

 

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There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace. 

Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.

This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay. 

Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.

New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

— Linda


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