What is the Merit System?
simply, the merit system is a method of personnel management designed
to promote the efficiency and economy of the service and the good of
the public by providing for the selection and retention of employees,
in-service promotional opportunities and other related matters on the
basis of merit and fitness.
Who started the Merit System?
The merit (civil service) system is not new. Early in the 1800's, "spoils" patronage
was well established as a method of filling government jobs. It took
the tragedy of the shooting of President Garfield by a disgruntled
office seeker in 1881 to focus enough attention on the practice to
spark legislative reform. Two years later, Congress passed the Civil
Service Act of 1883 (the Pendleton Act), which set up the first civil
service system for federal employees to guard against patronage
In the following years, state and local civil service
systems flourished, but it was not until 1936 that the first merit
system law for school districts was established. California was the
leader when, as a result of a disgraceful patronage system in one of
our largest school districts, more than 700 employees were fired on the
day after an election to make room for political "spoilsmen".
Who uses the Merit System?
are about 100 merit school districts in California which employ almost
60% of the Classified (non-Certificated) school employees in the state.
A merit system may be voted into a school district by local Board of
Education action, by a majority vote of the district's classified
employees, or by a majority vote of voting electors of the school
district. The Charter Oak Unified School District has operated under
the merit system since 1966.
Who administers the Merit System?
Personnel Commission is the mainstay of the merit system. It is an
independent body composed of three persons appointed for three-year
staggered terms. Commissioners are laypersons who must be known
adherents of the merit principle. The Personnel Commission is
responsible for maintaining a merit system for classified employees of
the school system and fostering the advancement of a career service for
such employees. To execute the responsibilities, the State Education
Code provides that Personnel Commissioners shall classify positions,
hear appeals and prescribe rules related to a variety of personnel
practices. Authority for Personnel Commission functions is provided by
Sections 45220 to 45320 and 88060 to 88139, inclusive, of the State
With the advent of collective bargaining in the
public education field, functions performed by Personnel Commissions
take on added significance. The necessity for objective information and
classification decisions unaltered by labor or management pressures,
protection of the right of non-represented employees and an independent
body which can hear employee appeals in an impartial manner are all
vital to the efficient and economic operations of a school district and
to the benefit of the general public.
addressed to or intended for the Commissioners should be directed to
the Secretary of the Commission in time for scheduled distribution and
should specify whether the matter is intended for formal consideration
or general information. Sensitive personnel issues may be discussed in
closed session in accordance with the Brown Act. The Secretary, who is
the Director of Classified Personnel, may convey informal
Meetings and Information Contact
Our Personnel Commission has regular and special meetings. Routinely the Commission meets the first Wednesday of each month at the District office, 20240 Cienega Avenue, Covina.
Commission meetings normally start at 4:30 p.m. in the Board Room.
Everyone is invited to join the Commissioners at the monthly meetings
for general information. If you have an item that you would like to
discuss with the Personnel Commission, this would be the appropriate
time. The Personnel Commission would like to take this opportunity to
extend an invitation to everyone to join them at a future meeting.