November 16, 1965

Honorable Board of Supervisors
County of Los Angeles
383 Hall of Administration



Early in the studies of this committee it became apparent that there was a general dissatisfaction among the department heads with the procedures of the County Civil Service system. The attention of the committee was directed to this problem.

In a questionnaire which the committee sent to all department heads requesting their views on problem areas in County government, we asked the following question: "Is the County Civil Service system, as presently organized, adequate and effectively managed, and does such a system provide prompt and efficient recruiting and retention of personnel for your department's needs?

The responses to this question indicated a number of problems in this key operating area and the widespread concern among departmental personnel about them. As a result, we have been conducting an extensive investigation of the County’s personnel procedures, studying plans for improvement and comparing the Los Angeles County program with those in other public jurisdictions. During the past several months we have conducted over 40 meetings and interviews with department heads, personnel officers, and the Civil Service Commission and staff.

We now believe that we have the problems well defined. However, to define a problem is one thing. To develop a solution suitable to the needs of a given organization is another.

We therefore propose, with the approval of your Board, to obtain the services of two personnel specialists from private industry to assist us in formulating recommendations directed towards streamlining and improving Civil Service procedures. We plan to obtain these specialists on a loan basis, free of charge to the County, to work full time for a month to six weeks. Under the direction of our committee they will work with the Civil Service Commission and departmental management to recommend the changes necessary to correct problems now hindering efficient operation of the Civil Service system. We propose to begin this study immediately.

We cannot at this time estimate the savings which such changes may achieve, but we are convinced that they will be substantial. The 1965-66 appropriation for salaries and employee benefits is $415 mi11ion, or approximately 4O% of the total County budget. Therefore, any improvements in the efficiency of the personnel operation will most certainly result in very significant savings.

In conjunction with the personnel system itself, our committee is concerned with another matter involving Civil Service operations. As you know, Mr. Harry Petrie, retired this month as Secretary; and Chief Examiner to the Civil Service Commission. We believe this position is one of the most important in County government. It is imperative that the best possible candidate in County government be selected to replace him. We believe that there are a number of qualified candidates in the County who should be considered for this position.

During our tenure as a committee we have been impressed with the high quality of management talent throughout County government. Last month three of our committee members attended the County Management Conference at Lake Arrowhead. We were particularly impressed with the spirit of cooperation and fellowship exhibited by the department managers at the Conference together with their sincere interest in improving the quality of County government. We commend your Board and the Civil Service Commission for fostering this kind of talent.

To qualify for the position of Secretary and Chief Examiner a candidate should have a mature) broad view of County government's responsibilities to the taxpayers. He should be keenly aware that personnel is the major resource through which County management meets these responsibilities. He must be capable of developing effective working relationships with your Board and the departmental managers. He must above all be a proven and experienced administrator capable of organizing and directing his department so that it effectively solves the manifold personnel problems of a large, complex organization like the County.

We, therefore, recommend to your Board and the Civil Service Commission that the examination for Secretary and Chief Examiner be conducted as an interdepartmental examination open to all qualified managers in County government. These candidates should include department heads, chief deputies and division chiefs or equivalent who meet the above requirements regardless of the department in which they work. We strongly believe that only by this means can the best possible candidate be selected for this very important position.


In summary, we recommend:

  1. That your Board approve the proposal of our committee to obtain the services immediately of two personnel specialists from industry to assist 'it in formulating recommendations directed towards streamlining Civil Service procedures.

  2. That your Board recommend to the Civil Service Commission that it hold an interdepartmental examination to fill the position of Secretary and Chief Examiner to the Commission under the specification outlined in this report.

Very truly yours,


A.C. Rubel