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Rule 1 - Definition of Terms

The following words and terms used in these rules shall have the meaning indicated below unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

Administrative Management:
means an employee customarily having responsibility for formulating, administering or managing the implementation of County policies and programs.
Allocation of Class:
means the official determination that employees of a particular class shall be compensated at a specific salary or salary range.
Allocation of Position:
means the official authorization for a specific position to be utilized by a specific department.
Alternate Position:
means a single position which may be filled alternatively by an employee in either of two or more classes, at the discretion of the appointing authority. The highest alternate class shall be construed as the normal working level of such position, and each lower alternate class shall be construed as a level suitable for recruitment and training.
Answer Sheet:
means a form of paper or machine scored form or similar material on which a candidate records responses to items contained on a written examination and which the candidate shall surrender to a proctor at the completion of the examination. The answer sheet shall constitute the official record of the candidate's response to each item.
Applicant:
means a person who, according to these rules, has made formal application for employment on the County's official application form.
Appointing Authority:
means the board, commission, group of persons, officer or person having the power by lawfully delegated authority to make appointment to or removal from positions in the County service and conduct or finalize employee performance appraisals.
Appointment:
means the designation of an individual for employment in a specific position, and is effective on the date the individual begins work in the position.

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Candidate:
means a person who has been admitted to an examination for County employment.
Central Personnel Office:
means the office of the Civil Service Commission of the County of Sonoma.
Certification:
means the official notification to an appointing authority of those qualified candidates who may be appointed to a vacant position in the classified service.
Class or Class of Positions:
includes all positions which possess similar duties, responsibilities and qualifications.
Classification Plan:
means an orderly arrangement of all positions into classes.
Classification Series:
means a series of closely related classes which have similar titles and duties and constitute a common progression for promotion for employees.
Classified Service:
means all positions in the County service except those specifically placed in the "unclassified" service.
Closely Related Class:
means any class which has been determined by the Human Resources Director to have sufficiently similar duties and minimum qualifications to make a change of status compatible with Merit System Standards. (revised 7/1/10)
Compensation:
as used in the Civil Service Ordinance, means the base salary (i.e., specific pay rate within the pay range) paid to an employee by reason of service in a classification but does not include such items as specialty assignment pay, premium pay, allowances, reimbursable employment expenses or any other form of consideration. This list of items excluded from the definition of "compensation" is illustrative only and not definitive.

The foregoing definition of "Compensation" shall not take effect until March 15, 1994 as to any case concerning the removal from a specialty assignment of an employee covered by the 1990-94 Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between the County and the SCSOEA Law Enforcement Nonsupervisory and Supervisory Units and the SCSOEA Corrections and Probation Nonsupervisory and Supervisory Units during the guarantee period specified in Article 8 of both MOUs. "Specialty Assignment" shall have the same meaning as used in Article 8 of those MOUs.

Prior to March 15, 1994, such cases shall be governed by the existing definition of compensation, which reads as follows: "'Compensation' means the salary, wage, allowances, and all other forms of valuable consideration, earned by or paid to an employee by reason of service in any position, but does not include monetary reimbursement for necessary expenses incurred by employees."
Compensation Plan:
means a schedule of salaries established by resolution or ordinance for the several classes of positions included in the classification plan, so that all positions of a given class will be paid at the salary range established for the class.
Continuous Service:
means continuous employment by the County, whether with or without pay status.
County:
means the County of Sonoma.
County Business Day:
means a day when all County offices are open to the public for transaction of business.
Cut-off Point:
means that point in a ranking of examination scores which is determined by the Human Resources Director as equaling the minimum passing grade established for that examination.

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Demotion:
means the reassignment of an employee from a position in one class to a position in another class which is allocated to a lower salary or salary range.
Department:
means a branch of the County government with one or more employees under the charge of a specific individual, who is known as the Department Head.
Department Head:
means a person in charge of a specific branch of County government, or his/her designee.
Dismiss or Dismissal:
can be synonymous with the definition of separation, or could mean release from probation or removal from a classification, and the individual may not necessarily separate from County service. If the result for the individual is not separation, then the terms of the dismissal must be in accordance with these Rules. (Added 7/1/10)
Dual Position:
means a position established to permit replacement of an employee who receives payment for unused leave or overtime credit upon separation; and for a period of time not greater than the amount of such leave or overtime. A dual position may also be established to permit the replacement of an employee for the duration of an authorized leave of absence. An employee in a dual position shall have either permanent, probationary or provisional status, to be determined as provided in these rules for employees in permanent positions. (See Section 5.4 of Salary Resolution.)

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Eligible Candidate or Eligibles:
means candidates whose names are on the employment list for a given class.
Employee:
includes any person legally defined as an officer or employee of the County of Sonoma.
Employment List:
means a list of names, arranged in order of total examination score, of persons who have been found qualified for employment in a specific class.
Examination:
means one or more of the test methods authorized by these rules to determine the qualifications of one or more applicants and/or candidates.
Examination Item:
means any subdivision of an examination.
Extra-Help Employee:
means a person who is employed for the purpose of relieving or augmenting permanent staff in the accomplishment of work. Extra-help employees shall not be used to circumvent filling of permanently allocated positions. Extra-help employees shall be in the unclassified service and shall not have property rights to permanent or continued employment.

There are five types of extra-help employees:

  1. Temporary - Temporary extra-help employees relieve or augment permanent staff on a continuous basis for a period not to exceed one calendar year without a substantial break in service (three continuous months), unless approved by the Human Resources Director and the County Administrator. Examples of the use of temporary employees include but are not limited to vacation, pregnancy and disability relief, and temporary assignment to assist a department with a workload that is too great to be dealt with expeditiously by permanent employees of the department.
  2. Intermittent - Intermittent extra-help employees augment permanent staff when there is a need to maintain adequate work coverage either for short periods of time at recurrent intervals, or for ongoing periods of time for fewer than 4 days per pay period on a regular basis.
Examples of intermittent employment include, but are not limited to, "on-call" and "pool" staffing. The total number of hours an intermittent employee shall work in any twelve (12) month consecutive period cannot exceed the number of hours equivalent to what a full-time employee would work in eight (8) months, (i.e., 1380 hours excluding overtime).

  1. Seasonal - Seasonal extra-help employees augment permanent staff by performing duties that are required at certain times or seasons of the year. Seasonal employment shall not extend beyond six (6) calendar months in any twelve (12) month consecutive period.

  2. Emergency - Emergency extra‑help employees are hired to meet the immediate requirements of an emergency situation in order to prevent stoppages of public business, loss of life, or damage to person or property, provide urgent aide to restore order, food and/or shelter, protect public health, or recover from loss of property.  Such appointments are limited to 224 calendar days from the date the Board of Supervisors ratifies the emergency.  Emergency extra-help employment must be approved by the Human Resources Director.  The Human Resources Director and County Administrator must approve emergency extra-help employment if the employee works longer than 112 calendar days. (Rev. 12/4/17)
  3. Intern - means a student who is enrolled in a full-time or part-time academic or vocational curriculum which is directly related to the work the Intern performs for the County; or an individual enrolled in a formal workforce development program.
An Intern may not work in excess of 1560 hours in a twelve month period from date of hire. An internship may extend beyond the initial twelve-month period to a maximum of thirty-six (36) consecutive months provided the Intern remains enrolled in the related academic curriculum or formal workforce development program throughout the thirty-six month period. Graduates of Law School may be employed as Graduate Law Clerks as long as their total employment does not exceed three consecutive years. Each individual who is employed as an Intern in excess of twelve consecutive months must be approved by the Human Resources Director beyond that period of time. (revised 04/18/19)

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Final Filing Date:
means the last date on which a person may submit a formal application for employment.
Form Test:
means any examination which is prepared for the purpose of repeated administration to a different group of candidates.
Free Name:
means a certifiable eligible who has no standing or priority.
Full-time Employee:
means an employee who is appointed to a permanently allocated position which is regularly scheduled for 80 hours of work in a bi-weekly pay period.

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Hearing:
means a public meeting of the Civil Service Commission at which the adoption or amendment of these rules, and/or other personnel matters, may be considered.

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Lay-Off:
means the involuntary full or partial abolition of an employee’s permanently allocated position due to lack of funds or lack of work, which may lead to the full or partial separation of the employee or the employee displacing to another position.
To be Laid Off:
means to be subjected to lay-off.

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Open Examination:
means a competitive examination in which any qualified person may participate.

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Part-time Employee:
means an employee who is appointed to a permanently allocated position which is regularly scheduled for less than 80 hours of work in a bi-weekly pay period.
Pay Status:
is defined in the Salary Ordinance of the County of Sonoma.
Permanent Employee:
means an employee who has permanent status.
Permanently Allocated Position:
means any position in the classified service which is allocated to a department by the Board of Supervisors in the current annual budget and is likely to require the services of an employee without interruption for more than one year.
Permanent Status:
means the status of an employee who is lawfully retained in a permanently allocated position after the completion of the probationary period provided for in these rules.
Personnel Transaction:
means the appointment, separation or reassignment of an employee.
Position:
means a group of duties and responsibilities requiring the full-time or part-time employment of one individual.
Probationary Employee:
means an employee who is serving a probationary period.
Probationary Period:
means a period which is used to determine the employee's fitness for permanent status.
Proctor:
means a person designated by the Human Resources Director to conduct an examination.
Project or Limited Term Position:
An allocated position which exists only for a limited period of time for purposes of accomplishing a specific project, grant, or functions. Such positions shall be designated as project or limited term by job class title, attached to a specific project and/or funding source, and limited in duration to 60 consecutive months from the date the position(s) are allocated by the Board of Supervisors. (Revised 3/5/97; Corrected 6/1/04)
Promotion:
means the reassignment of an employee from a position in one class to a position in another class which is allocated to a higher salary or salary range.
Promotional Examination:
means a competitive examination in which only qualified permanent and/or probationary County employees may participate.
Provisional Appointment:
means the appointment of a qualified person to a vacant position, pending a competitive examination for the class.

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Reassignment:
means the separation of an employee from one position and the employee's concurrent appointment to another position.
Reclassification:
means a change in allocation of a position by raising it to a
higher class, reducing it to a lower class, or moving it to another class at the same level on the basis of substantial changes in the kind, difficulty, or responsibility of duties performed in such position. It includes abolition of a position and replacement with a position in another class in order to change classification.
Recurring Defined Term:
means a position where the incumbent’s term is limited to a defined period of time coinciding with the term of the department head where the classification is authorized. The incumbent’s employment ends upon the expiration of that defined period of time, unless the incumbent is reappointed by his/her department head. The defined term is designated within the particular job specification for that position. The termination of an incumbent’s employment at the expiration of the defined term provided for herein, shall not be deemed or considered a dismissal, suspension or reduction in rank within the meaning of the Civil Service Ordinance. Neither the adoption nor the application of this definition shall affect the civil service status of any person holding any position of employment with the County at the time of this definition’s adoption by the Commission. (Revised 7-7-05, 10-21-10)
Request for Certification:
means the official authorization for the Human Resources Director to certify candidates for appointment to a vacant position in the classified service.
Resignation:
means the voluntary termination by an employee of the employee's employment.
Restoration (to be restored):
Pursuant to Rule 11.4, means an employee who has been re-employed in a job class due to layoff or displacement. Restoration only applies to the vacancy in a job class to which the employee has restoration rights, and only occurs in the department from which the employee was laid off/displaced. Restoration may only occur within two years of the effective date. (Added 11/15/12)
Retitle:
means changing the title of a classification when duties and responsibilities are not substantively changed and the salary range is unchanged.

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Separation:
means the termination of employment of an individual.
Standing:
means the order of priority on an employment list of each candidate who passes an examination. All candidates who have the same final examination score for the same examination shall be given the same standing.
Substitute Position:
means a position established in lieu of a permanent position, and authorized in a closely related class which is allocated to the same or a lower salary or salary range. An employee in a substitute position which is established for a period of six months or longer shall have either permanent, probationary or provisional status, to be determined as provided in these rules for employees in permanent positions. (See Section 5.3 of Salary Resolution.)
Supervisory Employee:
shall be defined in the County of Sonoma's Employee Relations Policy.

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Test:
means examination.
Test Key:
means a copy of every item used in a specific written examination showing the correct answer to each.
Title or Class Title:
means the official name of each class of positions.
Transfer:
means the reassignment of an employee from one position to another position in the same class, or from a position in one class to a position in another class which is allocated to the same salary range or which has a maximum difference of plus or minus four percent. (revised 7/1/10)

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Unclassified Service:
is defined in the Civil Service Ordinance of the County of Sonoma.

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Waiver:
means the voluntary written relinquishment by a candidate of the candidate's standing on an employment list.

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Contact Information

Marissa Georges
Executive Secretary
Civil Service Commission
Human Resources Department
County of Sonoma
Business Hours
Monday – Friday
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Address
Sonoma County Administration Building
575 Administration Drive
Suite 116B
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.464975, -122.725632

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Rule 11 - Layoffs

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