July 26, 1966
Supervisor Burton W. Chace, Chairman
Supervisor Frank G. Bonelli
Supervisor Kenneth Hahn
Supervisor Ernest E. Debs
Supervisor Warren M. Dorn
SUBJECT: CIVIL SERVICE RECOMMENDATIONS
Attached is a report by our Committee on the consolidation of personnel functions in the County which we are filing with the Clerk of the Board for your discussion and action at the Board meeting on Tuesday, August 2, 1966.
As the report states, consolidating all personnel functions within a unified personnel department under a Personnel Director will require a Charter amendment divesting the Civil Service Commission of its responsibility for administrative direction of the Civil Service Department.
In the interim, until the voters approve a Charter amendment, the report recommends that your Board reaffirm your request to the Civil Service Commission to implement the recommendations contained in our previous report on Civil Service Operations, presented to your Board on May 24, 1966.
In that report we stated that "the problems in the Civil Service Department are so severe, the morale so low, and the communications so poor that only exceptional action will bring it out of its present critical state. We therefore recommended that your Board take the following actions:
1. Request the Civil Service Commission to proceed immediately with the selection of an interim Secretary and Chief Examiner who would be appointed from outside the Civil Service Department and charged with responsibility for instituting the necessary reforms.
2. Refer the report to the Civil Service Commission for implementation of the other recommendations.
On motion of Supervisor Dorn your Board adopted an order approving the Committee’s recommendations with "the strongest possible support of the report.”
It is now over two months since we submitted these recommendations to your Board, but to our knowledge the Civil Service Commission has not yet taken action.
Although we have not stressed this point in our present report, we are amazed that an order of your Board apparently can be ignored by an appointed commission which by Charter reports to and is under the jurisdiction of your Board.
If the voters approve the Charter amendment recommended in the attached report, the interim Secretary and Chief Examiner should naturally be considered as a key candidate, among others, for the position of Personnel Director, depending of course upon his performance as Secretary and Chief Examiner.
We therefore recommend that your Board reaffirm in the strongest possible terms your request t o the Commission to take action on the recommendations contained in our previous report.
Very truly yours,
Harold C. McClellan, Vice Chairman
Economy and Efficiency Committee
Honorable Board of Supervisors
County of Los Angeles
383 Hall of Administration
Los Angeles, California
In recent weeks your Board, on motion by Supervisor Hahn adopted three orders relating to the organization and administration of the County's personnel activities.
The first motion, on June 8, requested the Economy and Efficiency Committee to recommend a program for consolidating all personnel functions into a single agency. The second motion, on June 14, instructed the County Counsel to prepare a Charter amendment to increase the Civil Service Commission from three to five members and to limit its responsibility to a policy making and judicial role only. All administrative functions and responsibilities would be assigned to a County Personnel Director. The third motion, on June 28, recommended that the County create a special personnel officer position to be filled by a top labor management expert who would report directly to your Board. The motion also recommended that an advisory board of not less than ten members--composed of business leaders, employee representatives, contractors, and personnel experts--be established to advise your Board on labor relations. This last motion was referred to our Committee for a report back to your Board within sixty days.
These motions all reflect your Board's concern with the need to revise the County's present personnel system so that it can effectively cope with the critical labor problems in which the County is involved today. We have studied these proposals and herewith submit our findings and recommendations.
Our Committee strongly supports the consolidation of all personnel functions in a unified personnel department. If a unified department is established, it should operate under the direction of a Personnel Director appointed by and reporting to your Board. This would require a Charter amendment divesting the Civil Service Commission of its responsibility for administrative direction of the Civil Service Department.
We stated in our report on Civil Service Operations, presented to your Board on May 24,, 1966, that we do not believe a committee of three lay people meeting for a few hours a week can effectively administer a personnel system servicing an organization of 48,000 employees. This responsibility must be assigned to an experienced full-time executive who is available on a daily basis to make the management decisions necessary for effective direction and control of the County's complex personnel activities.
We therefore recommended that the Commission should delegate to the Secretary and Chief Examiner clear and complete responsibility for daily administration of the Civil Service Department. We added that if this action does not prove effective, then your Board should sponsor a Charter amendment prescribing that the Secretary and Chief Examiner be appointed by and report directly to your Board. If the personnel functions now under the Chief Administrative Officer are to be combined with the personnel functions now under the Civil Service Department, then we believe all the more strongly that the new department should be headed by a Personnel Director with full responsibility for administering departmental activities. The Personnel Director should have responsibility for establishing the procedures necessary for the administration of his department together with the formulation and adoption of those rules and procedures which should be followed in administering the County's personnel system. Los Angeles County, we believe, is critically in need of such a modern personnel organization.
The present division of responsibility for salary administration, in which the Civil Service Commission is responsible for classification of jobs and the Personnel Division of the Chief Administrative Office is responsible for establishing the salary levels for these jobs, is illogical and time consuming. It is commonly recognized that classification and salary setting are inseparable. We know of no case in industry where these two activities are assigned to separate departments. As a result of the separation, departmental management must first justify its requests for new classifications to the Civil Service Department and then go through the same process to sell its salary needs to the Chief Administrative Office. It is essential that classification and salary analysis be performed on a highly cooperative and integrated basis. This can best be accomplished by having these functions, as well as all personnel functions now assigned to the Civil Service Department and Chief Administrative Office, performed within a single department.
Although the Civil Service Commission would be divorced from administrative direction over the new department, if such a change were made, it would still play a very important role in the personnel activities of the County. It should be maintained as a watchdog over the entire Civil Service system. In should retain its appellate and judicial responsibilities now in the Charter covering discharge, reduction, discrimination and like matters with the power to authorize appropriate corrective action if an employee has been unfairly treated. The Commission should also retain its responsibility for the formulation and adoption of Civil Service rules involving the appeal rights of employees. Finally, the Commission should act in an advisory capacity to your Board with responsibility for proposing improvements in any part of the Civil Service system.
In addition, the Charter amendment should Insure that the present merit system principles are maintained in the administration of the County's personnel operation, including provisions for competitive examinations, unbiased selection and promotion, standardized classifications, protection against arbitrary discharge or demotion, and other clauses which will provide the necessary safeguards against political favoritism or abuse.
We do not agree that the performance of the Commission will be strengthened or improved by expanding it to five members. As a general rule, the smaller a committee is the more effectively it works. If the Commiss4-on's responsibility for departmental administration is assigned to a Personnel Director, we believe the present membership of the Commission is entirely adequate to handle its responsibilities. A similar proposal to expand the Commission to five members was presented to the voters in 1958 and was soundly defeated.
We recommend as the first order of business that your Board instruct the County Counsel to prepare a Charter amendment which would permit the consolidation of all personnel activities into a single department under the administration of a Personnel Director appointed by and reporting to your Board. The amendment should include the provision that the Civil Service Commission will retain its appellate authority for hearing and making final decisions regarding all appropriate employee appeals, will continue to prescribe Civil Service rules involving appeal rights of employees, and will act in an advisory capacity to your Board for formulation of top level Civil Service policy. The amendment should also insure that the present merit system principles are maintained in the administration of the County's personnel operation.
In the interim, until a Charter amendment is approved by the voters, your Board should reaffirm your request to the Civil Service Commission to implement the recommendations contained in our previous report on Civil Service Operations. This includes the recommendation to appoint an interim Secretary and Chief Examiner and an advisory committee to assist the interim Secretary in accomplishing the recommended reforms. If the voters approve the Charter amendment, the interim Secretary and Chief Examiner should naturally be considered as a key candidate, among others, for the position of Personnel Director, depending of course upon his performance as Secretary.
We also strongly support the proposal to strengthen the employee relations function in the County. We believe, however, that this function should be incorporated, with all other personnel functions, into a consolidated personnel department. Therefore, if the voters approve the proposed Charter amendment, we recommend that an employee relations division be established in the new personnel department with responsibility for management-employee relations. Until that time, we believe the employee relations responsibilities as outlined below should be assigned to the Personnel Division of the Chief Administrative Office.
The Employee Relations personnel should meet and confer with the various union and employee representatives to negotiate proposed salary rates and working conditions which would then be incorporated into a joint recommendation or memorandum of understanding for submission to your Board for final decision. If a stalemate is reached in the negotiations, then, at the request of either the employee representative or the Personnel Director, your Board should appoint a special fact finding committee of representative citizens. This committee would meet with the interested parties, hear their arguments, gather all pertinent facts, and based upon an analysis of the facts, present its recommendations to your Board for final decision.
During these negotiations the Personnel Director should advise your Board on the progress being made and receive instructions from your Board on particular issues under discussion. He should keep in touch with the Chief Administrative Officer to advise him on the affect which the proposals may have on the overall budget. He should also maintain close liaison with County department heads to advise them on any matter affecting their operations.
Once a recommendation is approved by your Board, the Civil Service Commission should have the responsibility for hearing any appeal by an employee who claims a violation of any Board motion or ordinance relating to salary rates and working conditions. The Commission's hearings should be conducted in the same manner as it now conducts hearings on claimed violations of Civil Service rules.
We do not favor the proposal to establish a citizens commission to advise your Board on labor relations. This responsibility, we believe, should be assigned to the Personnel Director.
If your Board adopts these recommendations, then procedural details covering such matters as the rights and obligations of both County management and employee representatives, the formal recognition of employee organizations, and the determination of who should represent employees on questions regarding County-wide working conditions, will need to be worked out. On motion by your Board, the Chief Administrative Office and the County Counsel are now preparing an employee relations ordinance covering these topics. We believe that such an ordinance should recognize the need for an employee relations function which would be assigned the principal responsibility for administration of the new procedures.
We believe these recommendations for an employee relations function in conjunction with a formal procedure for negotiation and for settling disputes will help greatly in preventing the type of labor turmoil which has lately obstructed County operations.
In summary, we recommend that your Board:
Very truly yours,
A.C. Rubel, Chairman
Economy and Efficiency Committee