By Jim Vannucchi, Director
Sadly, the Civil Service Commission has assumed a distasteful posture as it pertains to promotions within the SFFD. After months of negotiating, the Commission is firm in its’ stance that a concept termed the “Rule of the List” be utilized to appoint individuals to a higher rank. Basically, this permits the selection of any candidate at any time regardless of their ranking on the list. In other words, given the opportunity to right past wrongs, the Commission has turned back the clock and has chosen special rights over equal rights.

LOCAL 798 is opposed to this concept in its’ entirety and is adamant that the “Rule of Three” be the governing language on all future examinations. The “Rule of Three” recognizes the one trait we always held most dear in an individual who received rank; merit.

Additionally, EVERY other City department utilizes the “Rule of Three”. Why are we being singled out?

Until this debacle is adjudicated, Chief Trevino will be enacting CCSF Charter Sections, which allows for various non-permanent appointments in all ranks. My article this month will address this matter only to assist the membership in understanding the various types of appointments and their rights within these ranks.

I offer the following Civil Service language:


An appointment made as a result of a certification/referral from an eligible list to a permanent position or to a position declared permanent. Employees appointed permanent civil service are required to serve a probationary period. Permanent employees who have completed the probationary period acquire certain rights under the merit system including but not limited to rights described in Civil Service Commission Rules on status, employment and separations.


Probationary describes the status of civil service employees during a trial performance period following permanent appointment. This is the final and most important phase of the selection process. The probationary period for permanent civil service employees commences when the person selected from an eligible list starts work on the patrol as permanent civil service. Employees serving a probationary period are considered “at-will” and serve at the discretion of the Appointing Officer.


An appointment made as a result of a certification from an eligible list to a temporary funded position. Temporary appointments are of a limited duration. Temporary civil service employees may have some rights to “just cause” and seniority for layoff purposes. Temporary appointees may be eligible for selective certification as addressed in Civil Service Adviser No. 11/2000.


Provisional is the term used when an appointment is made to a permanent, declared permanent or temporary position in the absence of an available eligible or eligible list or in an emergency which in either case, is time limited to a Charter maximum of three (3) years unless otherwise approved by the Board of Supervisors. With the exception of several critical classifications at the Municipal Transportation Agency, the Human Resources Director approves all provisional appointments. In accordance with Civil Service Commission Rules, provisional appointments are made on a combination of merit factors, equal employment opportunity and, if promotive, consideration of performance appraisal ratings and experience. Provisional employees may have some rights to “just cause” and seniority for layoff purposes, BUT DO NOT ACQUIRE ANY PREFERENCE OR RIGHT TO PERMANENT EMPLOYMENT.


The Charter provides for provisions and appointments excluded from civil service appointment and removal procedures. These positions and appointments are defined “exempt”. Exempt employees are considered “at-will” and serve at the discretion of the Appointing Officer. Department Heads may but are not required to use merit system criteria as guidelines in exempt selection, appointment and employment. However, Federal, State and Local anti-discrimination laws continue to apply to exempt selection, employment, and removal decisions.

Hopefully, the above will help any member who is contemplating submitting a PPQF for non-permanent appointment to a higher rank. If you require further detailed information, call the Union Hall for assistance.


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