Local government positions are divided into two categories, the classified and unclassified service. The unclassified service is defined in Section 35 of the Civil Service Law and includes positions such as elected officers, certain department heads, teachers and their supervisors in public schools and employees of boards of elections. The classified service includes all positions assigned to the exempt, competitive, non-competitive and labor classes. These specific classes are further described below.
The Personnel Officer has the responsibility (under both state law and local rules) to determine the proper title for all positions under his/her jurisdiction. A written description, or job specification, is maintained for each position in the classified service, with the exception of those in the Exempt class. These specifications define the job by describing typical work activities, knowledge, skills and abilities that are necessary for full performance of the job, and they set minimum qualifications.
The underlying principle is that all positions when first created are competitive unless it can be demonstrated that it is not practicable to conduct a competitive examination, or unless there is a specific statutory reason for assigning the title outside the competitive class.
All titles in other than the competitive class are listed in the appendices to the local civil service rules.
The Exempt class includes deputies authorized by law to act for department heads and other positions for which examination is not practicable. Generally, there are no minimum qualifications for the position.
Some jobs fall within the Non-Competitive class of civil service, where determining the merit and fitness of applicants by competitive examination has been found to be not practicable; the applicant must, however, meet the minimum qualifications for the position. Appointments consist of a review of the candidates’ training and experience to ensure they meet the established minimum qualifications for the position.
The Labor class consists of unskilled laboring positions. These positions generally have no minimum qualifications.
Other jobs fall within the Competitive class, which is characterized by examination to ascertain the relative merit and fitness of candidates. These examinations are either open competitive, that is, open to all applicants meeting the minimum qualifications for the position; or, promotional, for those individuals already serving in a lower level position. Provisional appointments may be made to positions in the competitive class only if no list of eligible candidates exists. All provisional appointees are subject to passing a competitive examination and being reachable on a list. All candidates must meet the minimum qualifications at the time of appointment. This class includes a wide variety of clerical, technical, administrative and professional positions.