Chapter 2.44
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION

2.44.000    Chapter Contents

Sections:

2.44.010    Definitions.

2.44.020    Created--Membership.

2.44.030    Organization and duties.

2.44.040    Coverage--Promotion and discharge.

2.44.050    Retroactive effect.

2.44.060    Qualifications for a position under civil service.

2.44.070    Reasons for discharge.

2.44.080    Procedure upon removal or demotion.

2.44.090    Cooperation of city officers.

2.44.100    Vacancy filling.

2.44.110    Power of city council.

2.44.120    Certificate of commission required on payroll, estimate or account.

2.44.130    Leave of absence.

2.44.140    Civil suits for enforcement of chapter.

2.44.150    Obstruction of procedure prohibited.

2.44.160    Administration by commission.

2.44.170    Accommodations and clerical assistance.

2.44.180    Appropriation.

2.44.190    Violation--Penalty.

2.44.010 Definitions

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the following described meanings:

A.    "Appointing power" means the city manager.

B.    "Appointment" includes all means of selection, appointing or employing any person to hold any office, place, position or employment subject to civil service.

C.    "Commission" means the civil service commission created in this chapter, and "commissioner" means any one of the three commissioners of that commission.

D.    "Full-paid fire department" means that the officers and firemen employed in such are paid regularly by the city and devote their whole time to fire fighting.

(Ord. 4432 §20, 1983; Ord. 3760 §3, 1973; Ord. 2248 §20, 1935).

2.44.020 Created –Membership

A.    There is created in the city a civil service commission, which shall be composed of three persons.

B.    The members of such commission shall be appointed by the city manager. The members of such commission shall serve without compensation. No person shall be appointed a member of such commission who is not a citizen of the United States, a resident of the city immediately preceding such appointment, and an elector of Thurston County, Washington. The term of office of such commissioners shall be for six years, except that the first three members of such commission shall be appointed to different terms, as follows: one to serve for a period of two years, one to serve for a period of four years, and one to serve for a period of six years. Any member of such commission may be removed from office for incompetency, failure to reside in the City, incompatibility or dereliction of duty, or malfeasance in office, or other good cause; provided, however, that no members of the commission shall be removed until charges have been preferred in writing, due notice and a full hearing had. The members of such commission shall devote due time and attention to the performance of the duties specified and imposed upon them by this chapter. Two members of such commission concurring shall be sufficient for the decision of all matters and the transaction of all business to be decided or transacted by the commission under or by virtue of the provisions of this chapter. At the time of any appointment not more than two commissioners shall be adherents of the same political party.

(Ord. 6269 §1, 2003; Ord. 4432 §21, 1983; Ord. 2248 §1, 1935).

2.44.030 Organization and duties

A.    Immediately after appointment the commission shall organize by electing one of its members chairman and hold regular meetings at least once a month, and such additional meetings as may be required for the proper discharge of their duties.

B.    They shall appoint a secretary and chief examiner, who shall keep the records of the commission, preserve all reports made to it, superintend and keep a record of all examinations held under its direction, and perform such other duties as the commission may prescribe.

C.    The secretary and chief examiner shall be appointed as a result of competitive examination, which examination may be either original and open to all properly qualified citizens of the city, or promotional and limited to persons already in the service of the fire department and police department or of the fire department and police department and other departments of the city, as the commission may decide. The secretary and chief examiner may be subject to suspension, reduction or discharge in the same manner and subject to the same limitation as are provided in the case of members of the fire department and police department. It shall be the duty of the civil service commission:

1.    To make suitable rules and regulations not inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter. Such rules and regulations shall provide in detail the manner in which examinations may be held, and appointments, promotions, transfers, reinstatements, demotions, suspensions, and discharges shall be made, and may also provide for any other matters connected with the general subject of personnel administration, and which may be considered desirable to further carry out the general purposes of this chapter, or which may be found to be in the interest of good personnel administration. Such rules and regulations may be changed from time to time. The rules and regulations and any amendments thereof shall be printed, mimeographed or multi-graphed for free public distribution. Such rules and regulations may be changed from time to time.

2.    All tests shall be practical, and shall consist only of subjects which will fairly determine the capacity of persons examined to perform duties of the position to which appointment is to be made, and may include tests of physical fitness and/or of manual skill.

3.    The rules and regulations adopted by the commission shall provide for a credit of ten percent in favor of all applicants for appointment under civil service, who, in time of war, or in any expedition of the Armed Forces of the United States, have served in and been honorably discharged from the Armed Forces of the United States, including the Army, Navy and Marine Corps and the American Red Cross. These credits apply to entrance examinations only.

4.    The commission shall make investigations concerning and report upon all matters touching the enforcement and effect of the provisions of this chapter, and the rules and regulations prescribed hereunder; inspect all institutions, departments, offices, places, positions and employment’s affected by this chapter, and ascertain whether this chapter and all such rules and regulations are being obeyed. Such investigations may be made by the commission or by any commissioner designated by the commission for that purpose. Not only must these investigations be made by the commission as mentioned above, but the commission must make like investigation on petition of a citizen, duly verified, stating that irregularities or abuses exist, or setting forth in concise language, in writing, the necessity for such investigation. In the course of such investigation the commission or designated commissioner, or chief examiner, shall have the power to administer oaths, subpoena and require the attendance of witnesses and the production by them of books, papers, documents and accounts appertaining to the investigation and also to cause the deposition of witnesses residing within or without the state to be taken in the manner prescribed by law for like depositions in civil actions in the Superior Court; and the oaths administered hereunder and the subpoenas issued hereunder shall have the same force and effect as the oaths administered by a Superior Court judge in his judicial capacity: and the failure upon the part of any person so subpoenaed to comply with the provisions of this section shall be deemed a violation of this chapter, and punishable as such.

5.    All hearings and investigations before the commission, or designated commissioner, or chief examiner, shall be governed by this chapter and by rules of practice and procedure to be adopted by the commission, and in the conduct thereof neither the commission, nor designated commissioner, shall be bound by the technical rules of evidence. No informality in any proceedings or hearing, or in the manner of taking testimony before the commission or designated commissioner, shall invalidate any order, decision, rule or regulation made, approved or confirmed by the commission; provided, however, that no order, decision, rule or regulation made by any designated commissioner conducting any hearing or investigation alone shall be of any force or effect whatsoever unless and until concurred in by at least one of the other two members.

6.    To hear and determine appeals or complaints respecting the administrative work of the personnel department; appeals upon the allocation of positions; the rejection of an examination, and such other matters as may be referred to the commission.

7.    Establish and maintain in card or other suitable form a roster of officers and employees.

8.    Provide for, formulate and hold competitive tests to determine the relative qualifications of persons who seek employment in any class or position and as a result thereof establish eligible lists for the various classes of positions, and to provide that men laid off because of curtailment of expenditures, reduction in force and for like cause head the list in the order of their seniority, to the end that they shall be the first to be re-employed. All promotional examinations shall consist of at least written and oral tests, and employee performance evaluation if applicable.

9.    When a vacant position is to be filled, to certify to the appointing authority, on written request, the names of those highest on the eligible list for the class, and the list shall contain a number of names equal to the number of vacancies to be filled, plus two. If there are no such lists, to authorize a provisional or temporary appointment list of such class. Such temporary or provisional appointment shall not continue for a period longer than four months; nor shall any person receive more than one provisional appointment or serve more than four months as a provisional appointee in any one fiscal year.

10.    Keep such records as may be necessary for the proper administration of this chapter.

(Ord. 3760 §§1, 4, 1973; Ord. 2593(part), 1948; Ord. 2248 §3, 1935).

2.44.040 Coverage –Promotion and discharge

The classified civil service and the provisions of this chapter shall include all full-paid employees of the fire department and police department of the city, excluding the police chief, and the fire chief. All appointments to and promotions in such departments shall be made solely on merit, efficiency and fitness, which shall be ascertained by open competitive examination and impartial investigation. No person shall be reinstated in, or transferred, suspended or discharged from any such place, position or employment contrary to the provisions of this chapter.

(Ord. 5676.01 §1, 1997; Ord. 5474 §1, 1994; Ord. 2593(part), 1948; Ord. 2248 §2, 1935).

2.44.050 Retroactive effect

For the benefit of the public service and to prevent delay, injury or interruption therein by reason of the enactment of this chapter, all persons holding a position in the fire department and police department of the city, including the chiefs thereof, when this chapter takes effect, who have served in such position for a period of at least six months last past continuously, are declared, eligible for permanent appointment under civil service to the offices, places, positions or employment which they shall then hold respectively, without examination or other act on their part, and not on probation. Every such person is automatically adopted and inducted permanently into civil service, into such office, place, position or employment which such person then holds as completely and effectually to all intents and purposes as if such person had been permanently appointed thereto under civil service after examination and investigation.

(Ord. 2593(part), 1948; Ord. 2248 §4, 1935).

2.44.060 Qualifications for a position under civil service

An applicant for a position of any kind under civil service must be a citizen of the United States of America, or, in the case of positions in the fire department, a permanent resident alien under the United States Immigration and Naturalization Act, who can read and write the English language. An applicant for a position of any kind under civil service must be of an age suitable for the position applied for, in ordinary good health, of good moral character and of temperate and industrious habits; these facts to be ascertained in such manner as the commission may deem advisable.

(Ord. 4974 §1, 1989; Ord. 4222 §14, 1980; Ord. 2907(part), 1955; Ord. 2248 §5, 1935).

2.44.070 Reasons for discharge

The tenure of everyone holding an office, place, position or employment under the provisions of this chapter shall be only during good behavior, and any such person may be removed or discharged, suspended without pay, demoted, or reduced in rank, or deprived of vacation privileges or other special privileges for any of the following reasons:

A.    Incompetency, inefficiency or inattention to or dereliction of duty;

B.    Dishonesty, intemperance, immoral conduct, insubordination, discourteous treatment of the public, or a fellow employee, or any other act of omission or commission tending to injure the public service; or any other willful failure on the part of the employee to properly conduct himself; or any willful violation of the provisions of this chapter or the rules and regulations to be adopted under this chapter;

C.    Mental or physical unfitness for the position which the employee holds;

D.    Dishonest, disgraceful, immoral or prejudicial conduct;

E.    Drunkenness or use of intoxicating liquors, narcotics, or any other habit-forming drug, liquid or preparation to such extent that the use thereof interferes with the efficiency or mental or physical fitness of the employee, or which precludes the employee from properly performing the functions and duties of any position under civil service;

F.    Conviction of a felony, or a misdemeanor, involving moral turpitude;

G.    Any other act or failure to act which in the judgment of the civil service commissioners is sufficient to show the offender to be an unsuitable and unfit person to be employed in the public service.

(Ord. 2248 §6, 1935).

2.44.080 Procedure upon removal or demotion

No person in the classified civil service who shall have been permanently appointed or inducted into civil service under provisions of this chapter, shall be removed, suspended, demoted or discharged except for cause, and only upon the written accusation of the appointing power, or any citizen or taxpayer, a written statement of which accusation, in general terms, shall be served upon the accused, and a duplicate filed with the commission. Any person so removed, suspended, demoted or discharged may, within ten days from the time of his removal, suspension, demotion or discharge, file with the commission a written demand for an investigation, whereupon the commission shall conduct such investigation. The investigation shall be confined to the determination of the question of whether such removal, suspension, demotion or discharge was or was not made for political or religious reasons and was or was not made in good faith or cause. After such investigation the commission may affirm the removal, or if it finds that the removal, suspension or demotion was made for political or religious reasons, or was not made in good faith for cause, shall order the immediate reinstatement or reemployment of such person in the office, place, position or employment from which such person was removed, suspended, demoted or discharged, which reinstatement shall, if the commission so provides in its discretion, be retroactive, and entitle such person to pay or compensation from the time of such removal, suspension, demotion or discharge. The commission, upon such investigation, in lieu of affirming the removal, suspension, demotion or discharge, may modify the order of removal, suspension, demotion or discharge by directing a suspension, without pay, for a given period, and subsequent restoration to duty, or demotion in classification, grade or pay. The findings of the commission shall be certified, in writing, to the appointing power, and shall be enforced by such officer.

All investigations made by the commission pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be by public hearing, after reasonable notice to the accused of the time and place of such hearing, at which hearing the accused shall be afforded an opportunity of appearing in person and by counsel, and presenting his defense. If such judgment or order be concurred in by the commission or a majority thereof, the accused may appeal therefrom to the court of original and unlimited jurisdiction in civil suits of Thurston County, Washington. Such appeal shall be taken by serving the commission, within thirty days after the entry of such judgment or order, a written notice of appeal, stating the grounds thereof and demanding that a certified transcript of the record and of all papers on file in the office of the commission affecting or relating to such judgment or order be filed by the commission with such court. The commission shall, within ten days after the filing of such notice, make, certify and file such transcript with such court. The court of original and unlimited jurisdiction in civil suits shall thereupon proceed to hear and determine such appeal in a summary manner; provided, however, that such hearing shall be confined to the determination of whether the judgment or order of removal, discharge, demotion or suspension made by the commissioners was or was not made in good faith for cause, and no appeal to such court shall be taken except upon such ground or grounds.

(Ord. 2248 §7, 1935).

2.44.090 Cooperation of city officers

It shall be the duty of all officers and employees of the city to aid in the proper ways of carrying out the provisions of this chapter and such rules and regulations as may, from time to time, be prescribed by the commission under this chapter, and to afford the commission, its members and employees all reasonable facilities and assistance to inspect all books, papers, documents and accounts applying or in any way appertaining to any and all offices, places, positions and employment’s, subject to civil service, and also to produce such books, papers, documents and accounts, and attend and testify, whenever required to do so by the commission or any commissioner.

(Ord. 2248 §8, 1935).

2.44.100 Vacancy filling

A.    Whenever a position in a classified service becomes vacant, the appointing power, if he desires to fill the vacancy, shall make requisition upon the commission for the names and addresses of persons eligible for appointment thereto. The commission shall certify the names of those highest on the list for the class, the list shall contain a number of names equal to the number of vacancies to be filled, plus two. The commission shall likewise certify that all of the persons on the list are willing to accept employment. If there is no appropriate eligible list for the class, the commission shall certify the names of the same number of people standing highest upon a list appropriate for such class. The appointing authority shall appoint one of the certified persons to each such vacant position.

B.    Whenever requisition is to be made or whenever a position is held by a temporary appointee and an eligible list of persons for the class exists, the commission shall certify the names of those highest on the list for the class. The list shall contain a number of names equal to the number of vacancies to be filled, plus two. The appointing power shall appoint one of the persons so certified to each vacant position. No person so certified shall be laid off, suspended or given leave of absence from duty, transferred or reduced in pay or grade, except for reasons which will promote the good of the service, specified in writing, and after an opportunity to be heard by the commission, and then only with its consent and approval.

C.    To enable the appointing power to exercise additional choice in the filling of positions, no appointment, employment or promotion in any position in the classified service shall be determined complete until after the expiration of a period of six months to one year probationary service, as may be provided in the rules of the civil service commission, during which the appointing power may terminate the employment of the person certified and previously appointed by him if during the performance test thus afforded upon observation or consideration of the performance of duty the appointing power deems him unfit or unsatisfactory for service in the department, whereupon the appointing power shall designate one of the other persons certified and such person shall likewise enter upon such duties until some person is found who is fit for appointment, employment or promotion for the probationary period provided therefor, whereupon the appointment, employment or promotion shall be deemed to be complete.

(Ord. 3760 §2, 1973; Ord. 2248 §9, 1935).

2.44.110 Power of city council

All offices, places, positions and employment’s coming within the purview of this chapter shall be created by the city council, and nothing contained in this chapter shall infringe upon the power and authority of the city council to fix the salaries and compensation of all employees employed under this chapter.

(Ord. 4432 §22, 1983; Ord. 2248 §10, 1935).

2.44.120 Certificate of commission required on payroll, estimate or account

No treasurer, auditor, comptroller or other officer or employee of the city shall approve the payment of or be in any manner concerned in paying, auditing or approving any salary, wage or other compensation for services to any person subject to the jurisdiction and scope of this chapter, unless a payroll, estimate or account for such salary, wage or other compensation, containing the names of the persons to be paid, the amount to be paid to each such person, the services on account of which same is paid and any other information which, in the judgment of the civil service commission, should be furnished on the payroll, bears the certificate of the civil service commission, or of its secretary or other duly authorized agent, that the persons named in such payroll, estimate or account have been appointed or employed in compliance with the terms of this chapter and with the rules of the commission, and that the payroll, estimate or account is, so far as known to the commission, a true and accurate statement. The commission shall refuse to certify the pay of any public officer or employee whom it finds to be illegally or improperly appointed, and may further refuse to certify the pay of any public officer or employee who willfully or through culpable negligence violates or fails to comply with this chapter or with the rules of the commission.

(Ord. 2248 §11, 1935).

2.44.130 Leave of absence

Leave of absence, without pay, may be granted by the appointing power to any person under civil service; provided, that such appointing power shall give notice of such leave to the commission. All temporary employment caused by leaves of absence shall be made from the eligible list of the classified civil service.

(Ord. 2248 §12, 1935).

2.44.140 Civil suits for enforcement of chapter

It shall be the duty of the commission to begin and conduct all civil suits which may be necessary for the proper enforcement of this chapter and of the rules of the commission. The commission shall be represented in such suits by the chief legal officer of the city, but the commission may in any case be represented by special counsel appointed.

(Ord. 2248 §13, 1935).

2.44.150 Obstruction of procedure prohibited

No commissioner or any other person shall, by himself or in cooperation with one or more persons, defeat, deceive, or obstruct any person in respect to his right of examination or registration according to the rules and regulations of this chapter, or falsely mark, grade, estimate or report upon the examination or proper standing of any person examined, registered or certified pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, or aid in so doing, or make any false representation concerning the same, or concerning the person examined, or furnish any person any special or secret information for the purpose of improving or injuring the prospects or chances of any person so examined, registered or certified, or to be examined, registered or certified, or persuade any other person, or permit or aid in any manner any other person to personate him, in connection with any examination or registration or application or request to be examined or registered.

(Ord. 2248 §14, 1935).

2.44.160 Administration by commission

It shall be the duty of the commission appointed subject to the provisions of this chapter to immediately organize and see to it that the provisions thereon are carried into effect, and to this end to make suitable rules and regulations not inconsistent with the purpose of this chapter, for the purpose of carrying the provisions thereof into effect; and the failure upon the part of the commission, or any individual member thereof, to do so shall be deemed a violation of this chapter and shall be punishable as such.

(Ord. 2248 §17, 1935).

2.44.170 Accommodations and clerical assistance

The city shall provide the commission with suitable and convenient rooms and accommodations and cause the same to be furnished, heated and lighted and supplied with all office supplies and equipment necessary to carry on the business of the commission and with such clerical assistance as may be necessary, all of which is to be commensurate with the number of persons in the city coming within the purview of this chapter; and the failure upon the part of the duly constituted authorities to do so shall be considered a violation of this chapter, and shall be punishable as such.

(Ord. 2248 §16, 1935).

2.44.180 Appropriation

For the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this chapter, the city is authorized to appropriate from the general fund not to exceed four-tenths of one percent of the total payroll of those included under the jurisdiction and scope of the chapter; provided, however, that if the city council makes an appropriation for the support of the commission equal to or more than the continuing appropriation in any year, this section shall not be operative for said year, but otherwise shall be in full force and effect.

(Ord. 6886 §1, 2013; Ord. 2248 §18, 1935).

2.44.190 Violation –Penalty

Any person who willfully violates any of the provisions of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars and by imprisonment in the county jail for not longer than thirty days, or by both such fine and imprisonment. The court of original and unlimited jurisdiction in civil suits shall have jurisdiction of all such offenses defined by this chapter.

(Ord. 2248 §19, 1935).