SANTA CRUZ COUNTY
PERSONNEL ADMINISTRATIVE MANUAL
COMPARABLE CLASS GUIDELINES
Nov. 15, 1990
The purpose of these guideline are to define the criteria for evaluating a comparable class for the purpose of determining Alternate Eligible Lists; classes for Transfer and Reinstatement; and other personnel actions where comparisons among or between classes are required.
CIVIL SERVICE RULES:
Section 130.V.R. Alternate Eligible Lists
Section 130.VII. Transfers
Section 130.XIII.B Requirements for Reinstatement
- To determine a comparable classification the following four criteria must be met:
- Is the class at the same salary as the comparison class?
- The 5th step of the salary range must be equal in amount.
- For the purposes of transfer - 5th step, or no more than 5% above the 5th step, constitutes equal class for comparison purposes.
- Is the class in the same broad occupational group?
- The class schematic listing "Classes by Occupational Group" is a first, rough indicator as to whether two classes are in the same broad occupational group. It is a rough indication for two reasons:
- its primary purpose is for salary administration (which classes should be adjusted together for pay purposes.)
- some "occupational categories" in the listing are so broadly defined that they encompass several occupational areas. An example of this is the Social Services and Related Group, which encompasses social work and employment counseling.
- To determine whether or not two classes are in the same broad occupational group, the primary criteria is whether or not the same kind of work is performed. (Is it engineering, accounting, clerical etc.)
- Secondary criteria in helping to define the kind of work are:
Do the classes require the same type of training? (Do both classes require formal training in engineering, in accounting,
Do the classes require similar experience? (Do both classes require case work experience, engineering design experience, etc.)
By applying these criteria, it will help clarify whether two classes which are at the same salary level are in the same broad occupational group. For example, Eligibility Supervisor and Social Service Worker II are at the same salary level but are clearly not in the same broad occupational group for purposes of reinstatement, transfer or alternate eligible list.
- Is the class related to the comparison class?
- The determination as to whether or not two classes in the same broad occupational group are comparable or not is based on the specific nature and level of the work. On one hand, it is a more specific determination of the same factors which were considered in relationship to occupational group. On the other hand, it entails consideration of a new factor, the level of the work. The examples below are intended to clarify these factors.
Attorney III-DA and Attorney III-County Counsel are within the same broad occupational area because they both entail the performance of professional legal services. They are related because:
- They require the same training;
- They both require the demonstration of grasp of the same basic knowledges through admission to the Bar;
- They both require experience in the practice of law;
- They both entail performing all but the most complex legal issues and cases with only occasional guidance.
Clerk III and Account Clerk III are in the same broad occupational group (i.e., clerical), and are at the same level (i.e., super journey). However, they are not related. While many Clerk III positions perform recordkeeping, it is not financial recordkeeping, and does not require formal training and/or experience in bookkeeping or maintaining accounting or financial records. A Clerk III is not comparable to an Account Clerk III.
Does the class require comparable qualifications?
- A review of specific knowledges and abilities is necessary to determine whether two classes have comparable qualifications. The two classes must require the same knowledges, and the same depth or level of knowledge. For example, two classes may require a knowledge of the theory and operation of internal combustion gasoline engines, but one requires a working knowledge and the other a thorough knowledge. These would not be comparable qualifications because a working knowledge entails a comprehension of standard situations and problems and the most significant aspects on the subject, while a thorough knowledge entails a wide coverage of the subject, the solving of unusual problems, and being able to advise others on technical problems. Similarly, classes would not be comparable if one requires "some" and the other a "working" knowledge of the same subject. "Some Knowledge entails sufficient familiarity with the subject to know elementary principles and terminology and to solve simple problems; it does not entail solving standard or average problems or grasp of most significant aspects of the subject matter.
- Two classes may be in the same broad occupation group and be related, but not have comparable qualifications. The classes of Attorney III-DA and Attorney III-County Counsel, discussed above, are illustrative of this concept. While they perform the same kind and level of work, the one requires a working knowledge of criminal law, while the other requires a working knowledge of civil, constitutional and administrative law.
The classes of Clerk II and Typist Clerk II are also illustrative of two related classes in the same broad occupational group, but with non-comparable qualifications. While positions in both classes may perform identical general clerical duties at the same level 75% of the time and both perform typing 25% of the time, a Typist Clerk II performs production typing which requires a working knowledge of standard typewriter set-ups and formats and a specified production speed, and some Clerk II positions type listings, form letters and the like at a significantly lower speed.
- Another factor to be considered in determining whether or not classes have comparable qualifications is the exam process for each class. This is especially true when knowledges and abilities are stated in general terms. When there are broad classes and/or statements of knowledge and ability in general terms, the exam content typically adds specificity to the general requirements.
If the knowledges and abilities are stated in general terms which are the same for two classes, but the exam process and content are significantly different, then the classes do not possess comparable qualifications because different behaviors/subject matter is being tested for in each case. For example, two classes may require the "ability to identify and analyze problem areas, however, the problems dealt with by one may be financial and a written test may be used to measure this. The other class may deal with organization problems, and an oral exam is used to measure this ability.
Refer to the specific policy for Reinstatement, Transfer and Alternate Eligible List for the methods in processing these personnel actions.