Section 52: Election of Civil Service Commissioners – Organization and Employees – Finances – Payroll Approval – Personnel Administration

  1. There is created a civil service commission, which shall be composed of five members, hereinafter referred to as the “commission.” The commission members shall be appointed as follows: biennially, one member shall be appointed by the city council and one member shall be appointed by a joint committee composed of the police and fire officers unions and the employee members of the Spokane employees' retirement board, each for a term of four years, and every four years a fifth member shall be appointed by the other four commissioners for a term of four years, all to serve until their successors have been appointed and qualified.

    Any person other than an elective official, officer, or employee of the City of Spokane shall be eligible to the office of civil service commissioner if the person is a citizen of the United States and a resident of the City of Spokane. All appointments to the commission shall be filed with the city clerk of the City of Spokane and before any commissioner shall take office the person shall take and file an oath of office with the city clerk.

    The civil service commissioners shall receive such compensation as shall be fixed by the city council by ordinance. Vacancies shall be filled by appointment as in the case of original appointments.

    The incumbent members of the civil service commission or their successors appointed by the city council shall serve as commissioners until the appointment and qualification of the new commission members hereunder.

  2. Immediately after their appointments, and each two years thereafter, the commission shall organize by electing a chairman and vice chairman from its members. It shall adopt rules for the conduct of its meetings and hearings, and shall hold regular meetings at least once a month and such additional meetings as may be required for the proper discharge of its duties. Three members shall constitute a quorum. All meetings and hearings of the commission shall be open to the public.
  3. The commission shall employ a chief examiner and such civil service assistants and employees as may be necessary, who shall be under civil service. The chief examiner shall also act as secretary for the commission. The chief examiner shall keep minutes of its proceedings, which shall be public, and preserve all reports made to it. He or she shall keep a record of all examinations held and perform such other duties as the commission may prescribe.
  4. The city council shall provide in the City budget for each fiscal year a sum of not less than one-half of one percent, nor more than one percent, of the last completed fiscal year's total payroll of the classified city employees included within the scope of this article. The funds so provided shall be used for the support of the commission, and be under the control of the commission. Any unexpended funds at the end of the fiscal year shall revert to the general fund of the City.
  5. Neither the head of any department nor the city auditor shall approve or pay any salary, wage, or compensation for services of any employee within the scope of this article unless a payroll, estimate, or account for such salary, wage, or other compensation contains the names of persons to be paid, the amount to be paid the position, and such other information which, in the judgment of the commission, should be furnished on the payroll; and such payroll, estimate, or account bears the certificate of the commission, or of its chief examiner or other authorized agent, that the persons therein named have been appointed or employed in compliance with the terms of this article and the civil service rules; and that the payroll, estimate, or account, is, insofar as known to the commission, a true and accurate statement. The commission shall refuse to certify the salary or wages of any such employee whom it finds to be illegally or improperly appointed or employed. The refusal to so certify shall not affect the remainder of a payroll.
  6. The mayor and the commission, acting jointly, shall have authority to adopt rules consistent with this article setting forth the principles and procedures to be followed in the adoption of any personnel program.
  7. Employees within the scope of this article who have served a period of time equivalent to the required probationary period in any position classified prior to March 8, 1955, shall retain their positions, unless removed for cause. Employees within the scope of this article who have served a period of two years prior to the effective date of this amendment in any position which is hereafter classified shall retain their positions, unless removed for cause, provided such classification is made by the commission prior to March 1, 1961.

Effective Date: March 25, 2009
Ordinance C34385 Section 34

Section 53: Powers and Duties of Commission

The commission shall be required to advise the city council and administrative officers on all matters relating to civil service in the city service and shall have the power and duty:

  1. to classify all positions of the City and of the park board, except seasonal positions and the appointive officers mentioned in the Charter. Classifications shall be made so as to place each type of service in a separate group and by dividing each group into grades on the basis of equivalent functions and responsibilities. Positions heretofore or hereafter classified shall constitute the classified service and no appointments or promotions shall be made to any such positions except in the manner provided by this article and the rules of the commission. A seasonal position shall be construed to mean one which occurs, terminates and recurs periodically;
  2. to provide for open free and competitive examinations to test the relative fitness of applicants for all positions classified and for publication of notice of all examinations;
  3. to provide general qualifications for applicants for positions in the classified service;
  4. to create eligible lists upon which shall be entered the names of successful candidates in the order of their standing on the examination and for certification of those on the appropriate list to department heads for appointment to fill vacancies and for the manner in which appointments shall be made from such list; provided that, on original appointments in the classified service honorably discharged veterans shall be given such preference as is provided by state law;
  5. to give practical tests which shall consist only of subjects which will fairly determine the capacity of persons examined to perform the duties of the position to which appointment is to be made. Such tests may include tests of physical fitness or manual skills or both;
  6. to provide for a period of probation not to exceed one year both on original and promotional appointments, before the appointment is made permanent, during which time, in the case of an original appointment, the probationer may be discharged, or, in the case of a promotion, returned to a position in his or her former classification by the head of the department, board, or office in which employed;
  7. to hold sufficient examinations so that an eligibility list and promotional list shall exist at all times. Examinations shall be held for any position at least thirty days prior to the expiration date of the eligibility list for such position;
  8. to prevent the stoppage of public business, or to meet extraordinary exigencies, the mayor may, with the approval of the commission, make temporary appointments and only until regular appointments under the provision of this article can be made, provided such appointments shall not exceed thirty days;
  9. to provide procedures for lay-offs for lack of work or funds, reinstatement after such lay-off or upon return to work after disability retirement;
  10. to investigate any and all matters relating to conditions of civil service employment in the city service, either in response to employees' complaints, or their duly authorized representatives, or on its own initiative;
  11. to investigate and pass upon the claim of any person whose name appears upon an eligible list, or who has a civil service classification that he or she has been deprived of or separated from a position to which he or she is entitled under the provisions of this article and the rules of the commission, in which case, the commission shall by rule provide the procedure for hearing such claims. The decision of the commission on any such claim shall be binding upon the appointing authority; providing that, such person shall not be entitled to any claim for salary from the City for the period prior to the time of filing such claim with the commission;
  12. to make and promulgate all civil service rules not inconsistent with this article, and any amendments thereto, and to carry out and enforce the purpose of this article; provided that, the existing rules, insofar as the same may be consistent with the provisions of this article, shall remain in full force and effect. Any rule or amendments hereafter adopted shall be in writing and filed with the secretary of the commission, at least one week prior to action thereon, shall only be acted upon at a regular meeting of the commission, and shall not become effective until ten days after publication thereof in the Official Gazette;
  13. the commission or any of its members, or any of its authorized agents, shall have the authority in the course of any investigation or hearing to administer oaths and to require the attendance of any officer or employee or other person, and to require the production of books and papers relevant to such investigation or hearing.

Effective Date: November 2000
Ordinance C32716 Section 2

Section 55: Suspension, Reduction in Rank and Discharge – Appeals

An employee may be suspended, reduced in rank, or discharged only by the mayor as follows:

  1. Any employee may be suspended for a period of not more than five days for disciplinary purposes with loss of salary and without right of appeal by filing a copy of such order of suspension with the commission, provided that no employee may be given more than one such suspension in any calendar year.
  2. Any employee may be suspended for a period of not more than sixty days for cause and with loss of salary.
  3. Any employee may be reduced in rank for cause.
  4. Any employee may be permanently discharged from city service for cause. The person making an order of suspension, reduction in rank, or permanent discharge under subsections (B), (C), or (D) hereof shall forthwith file with the commission a statement of such order which shall contain the reasons therefor, and serve a copy of the order on the employee. Within ten days after filing and service of said order, the employee may file a written appeal with the commission who shall hold a hearing thereon within ten days after filing the appeal. The commission shall render its decision in writing within ten days after the hearing. The commission may sustain the order of suspension, reduction in rank or permanent discharge or may order the employee reinstated to his or her employment. Any reinstatement shall carry back salary from the date of the order of suspension, reduction in rank or permanent discharge to date of re-employment. Requiring an employee to work more than his or her regular workweek or during his or her vacation, except in an emergency, shall be equivalent to a suspension, and the employee shall have a right of appeal direct to the commission within ten days after termination of such occurrence. A hearing shall be held as herein provided, and if a violation of this article or the rules is found to exist, the commission shall order proper salary adjustments, which order shall be served upon the city auditor and honored by him or her. No employee may be suspended twice for the same act. The decision of the commission shall be final.

Effective Date: November 2000
Ordinance C32716 Section 3

Section 56: Commission – Rules and Regulations

The commission shall have power to make proper rules and regulations for the conduct of its business.

Effective Date: 1910