Title: State Personnel Board Records
State Personnel Board
see Series Description
California State Archives
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[Identification of item], State Personnel Board Records, F3930, California State Archives.
Governor Hiram Johnson established California's first Civil Service Commission (
Stats. 1913, ch. 590, p. 1035) as a reform measure aimed at promoting employee efficiency and ending the widespread spoils system
in the public sector. The spoils system, a commonly practiced form of political favoritism, involved the giving of jobs in
local and state government based on party loyalty, friendship, and nepotism rather than on qualification and experience.
During the 1920s, the Civil Service Commission underwent several revisions (
Stats. 1921, ch. 601, p. 1020;
Stats. 1925, ch. 236, p. 391;
Stats. 1927, ch. 43, p. 75). As part of a restructuring of state government, the Commission was transferred to the newly established
Division of Personnel and Organization, within the Department of Finance (
Stats. 1929, ch. 293, p. 597).
A constitutional amendment, adopted in 1934, created the State Personnel Board (Const. 1879, Article XXIV). The creation of
the State Personnel Board abolished the Division of Personnel and Organization. In June, 1968, the voters of California repealed
Article XXIV and, in its place, adopted Article VII, the State Civil Service amendment.
Throughout its history, the State Personnel Board had performed various functions, interacting with a growing number of public
employees and agencies. The Board provides state agencies with qualified employees and establishes guidelines to insure fair
treatment of those employees. Other responsibilities include the regulation of appointments, promotions, transfers, adjustments
in salaries and wages; vacations, leaves of absence, employee-employer relations, employee grievances, and disciplinary actions.
The Board develops testing methods to determine qualified applicants; provides in-service training programs aimed at preparing
employees for positions with higher responsibility; sets evaluation standards; and monitors the affirmative action and equal
opportunity programs of state agencies.
The Board is also responsible for the administration of the Welfare Reform Act of 1971. This Act provides state and local
agencies with guidance in the employment of citizens receiving public assistance.
The Board actively participates in programs designed to improve employee efficiency, to reduce sick leave, and to insure that
civil service employees are working in safe and hazard-free environments.
The Cooperative Personnel Services division provides, at cost, technical assistance to agencies that select personnel through
independent authority or that employ non-civil service personnel. These services include classification and pay surveys; fringe
benefits; development of laws, rules, policies, and practices; and other personnel management matters. This division also
conducts oral interviews, written examinations, and selection services for local agencies.
The Department of Personnel Administration (
Stats. 1981, ch. 230, p. 55), a new and separate agency, was created to centralize the personnel functions being performed by several
state agencies, including some of the duties of the State Personnel Board. This centralization required that the State Personnel
Board relinquish the management of non-merit aspects of civil service, functions such as salary setting and performance evaluation.
Between Constitutional Article VII and the statutes relating to civil service, Californians are provided a comprehensive Civil