July 9, 1996
Honorable Judge William L. Gordon
Presiding Judge, Santa Barbara County Superior Court
1100 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93121
Subject: Personnel Department's Response on
"County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor Dept."
Dear Judge Gordon:
Please accept this as the Personnel Department's response to:
Recommendation #4, "The Board of Supervisors should instruct the County Personnel Officer to closely monitor and report on promotion procedures and personnel actions taken by the County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor Department for compliance with Civil Service Rules and promptly report any deficiencies to the Board of Supervisors."
The Personnel Department respectfully recommends that the Board of Supervisors decline to implement this recommendation for the following reasons:
1. The Personnel Department's budget resources are not sufficient to provide this level of service. This year, in order to meet our budget target, the
Personnel Department is proposing to shift all responsibilities for promotional recruitments to the individual departments including conducting promotional recruitments, determining minimum qualifications, and all record keeping.
2. The Grand Jury Report indicates that the Grand Jury found the Clerk-Recorder-Assessor's practices were questionable, but does not indicate that the Clerk-Recorder-Assessor promotional practices, in fact, violated the Civil Service Rules. At the Grand Jury's request, we looked at several promotional hirings by the Clerk-Recorder-Assessor. In all cases the Clerk-Assessor appears to have followed the "letter" of the Civil Service Rules. The Grand Jury's concern appears to center around whether the Clerk-Recorder-Assessor followed the "spirit" of the Civil Service Rules by appearing to pre-select certain individuals for promotion and not have an open mind when considering other people in his department who applied for these promotions. The Personnel Department can determine whether the "letter" of the Civil Service Rules have been followed by a department because these are facts and actions that can be checked against the rule requirements. It is not within the Personnel Department's authority to evaluate what the possible motivations of a department head might have been in the selection of one candidate over another.
3. The Civil Services Rules provide a forum, the Civil Service Commission, for evaluating and making judgments as to the "correctness" of a department's practices/motivations and and as to whether a department has followed the "spirit" of the Civil Service System. Individuals may request an investigation by the Civil Service Commission into poor or inappropriate practices of departments and if the Civil Service Commission collectively makes a judgment that department practices were inappropriate, the Commission can make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors.
Very truly yours,
cc: Spencer Boise, Grand Jury Foreman
Kent Taylor, County Administrator Office
All Department Heads