Statewide Issues
State Civil Service Human Resources Reform

The state's civil service system is a cumbersome and difficult system to administer. For the state's more than 215,000 employees (not including higher education institutions), there are more than 4,000 separate job classifications which are duplicative and generally reflect either program or department-specific desires to tailor job descriptions to their individual needs. The Department of Personnel Administration administers the civil service compensation program and the job classifications. The State Personnel Board is responsible for the merit aspects of civil service, including determining eligibility for appointment into civil service positions and for promotions. The two agencies will be working together to create a comprehensive plan to significantly reduce the number of classifications, and reform how the state brings new employees into civil service, how they are compensated, and how they can promote once they are working for the state.

Currently, the process through which an individual obtains a job with the state can take from several months to more than a year, depending on the type of job and the experience or education requirements. This means that many who are initially interested in joining the state's workforce find that they can't wait until the state's testing and evaluation process is completed and they accept employment elsewhere. One of the goals of this civil service reform is to shorten that timeframe so a person interested in working for the state will know in a week or two whether or not they qualify for the desired jobs. Another goal is for state departments to have a continuously updated list of appointment-eligible people they can contact to interview for their vacancies. The state is also moving toward a system under which all forms of employee compensation will be reviewed periodically to determine the best way to attract new employees and retain existing employees.

The state, as with most employers in the nation, will be facing the loss of many of its most experienced and knowledgeable employees as the baby boomers retire. In order to ensure that there are sufficient numbers of qualified people to replace the retiring employees, the state will need to provide a salary and benefit package that appeals to the next generation of California workers. The same salary and benefits that attracted the baby boomers may not be as attractive to a generation which may not consider a job as the start of a career.

A task force has been assembled under the direction of the Department of Personnel Administration to create a strategic plan for comprehensive reform of state civil service. The task force will include representatives from the Department of Personnel Administration, the State Personnel Board and various other departments with human resources and labor relations expertise. The administration intends to present this plan to the Legislature in the Spring along with a proposal to fund the first phase of the task force recommendations.

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CHAPTER HIGHLIGHTS for Statewide Issues Back to Top

 Public Employee Post-Employment Benefits Commission
image of black pointing arrowState Civil Service Human Resources Reform
 Eliminating State Boards and Commissions

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