COUNTY OF SANTA BARBARA
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION
105 E. Anapamu Street, Room 102
Saiita Barbara, CA 93101
May 18, 1995
TO: Honorable Rodney S. Melville, Presiding Judge
FROM: Civil Service Commission
RE: Grand Jury Interim Final Report - Issues In Public Works
Per the Grand Jury's request, we are responding to Recommendation #1(a) of the subject report.
FINDING #1: The Civil Service Rules regulating time limits for temporary assignments were violated by the Public Works Department. Complaints and grievances regarding violations when treated on a case by case basis are time consuming, costly and disruptive.
REC ATION #1(a): Within the current calendar year, the Civil Service Conunission should recommend amendments regarding employment practices regulations to include remedies for violations of rules regarding temporary assignments. The Commission should then advise the Board of Supervisors to implement these amendments.
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION RESPONSE: On April 21,, 1994, SEIU Local 620 requested that an investigation be conducted by the Civil Service Commission with respect to the promotional testing and hiring practices of the Public Works Department. At that time, the Commission was made aware of the fact that the Public Works Department had exceeded the time limits authorized under the Civil Service Rules for temporary assignments. The Commission received assurances from the Public Works Director that the practice had been remedied and that the selection process for making permanent appointments would be done fairly. The Commission, after discussing the issues with both parties, denied SEIU Local 620's request for investigation with the understanding that the union was free to resubmit the request without prejudice
if the matter was not resolved.
SEIU Local 620 has to date not submitted any requests for the Commission to reconsider the matter.
The Grand Jury was apparently subsequently approached about the same concerns expressed to the Commission. The Commission concurs with the Grand Jury that the County's Civil Service Rules must be followed in order to preserve the integrity of the County's merit system.
However, the Commission is opposed to adopting specific disciplinary remedies in its rules, since a principal function of the Civil Service Commission is to provide employees with due process hearings when discipline has been imposed or Civil Service Rules have been violated. These Civil Service protections extend also to County managers, with the exception of department heads and their immediate assistants. Hence, the Commission does not deem it appropriate to mandate remedies via rules when its primary role is to act in an impartial quasi judicial capacity by providing a forum for employees seeking appellate review of departmental disciplinary actions or Civil Service Rule violations.
In addition, pursuant to Santa Barbara County Code §27-24, the Personnel Director is delegated the responsibility of administering the Civil Service system. Included in the Director's duties is the requirement that she certify to the Auditor that appointments of any person to any position in the competitive service was in compliance with the applicable provisions of the Civil Service system (CC 527-24(g)).
The Commission believes that the general language of the aforementioned provision authorizes the Personnel Director to advise the Auditor of situations wherein a person has reached the time limit authorized by the Civil Service Rules for temporary assignments.
With respect to the Commission's authority, it may conduct investigations into the administration of personnel or conditions of employment in County service and report its findings, conclusions and recommendations to the Board of Supervisors and the Administrative Officer (CSR 1305). Remedial action may then be undertaken by the Board or the County Administrator should it be necessary.
If any further information or clarification is desired, please do not hesitate to call upon us.
@RONALD L. NANNING, Chairman
Civil Service Commission
CC: Robert Glick, Grand Jury Foreman
Kent Taylor, County Administrator