A board item is a personnel process for establishing and revising classifications. Each position in State civil service is allocated to a classification based on its duties and responsibilities. The classifications provide a uniform structure for the State’s compensation plan and examining process.

Government Code (GC) section 18800 provides that: “The board (State Personnel Board-SPB) shall create and adjust classifications of positions in the state civil service. The classifications adopted by the board, shall be known as the Personnel Classification Plan of the State of California….” GC section 19818.6 provides that: “The California Department of Human Resource (CalHR) shall administer the Personnel Classification Plan, including the allocation of every position to the appropriate classification in the classification plan.”

The Classification Plan is descriptive and not restrictive and can, and should, be revised to reflect new procedures and technology and other management-initiated changes in the assignment and organization of work. At any point, however, all positions within State civil service must be properly allocated and employees should not be assigned duties that are inconsistent with their current classification.

In the interest of efficiency and economy, no classification should be established unnecessarily. However, when analysts are considering establishing a new classification, they should carefully balance the impact of reducing the number of classifications with the need to have job-related examinations.
The use of department or division names in the classification title should be avoided as this will prevent the necessity of changing the classification title should the department or division name be changed.

Classification Modification

All staff calendar classification changes must be submitted through CalHR for processing and union notification (items are not submitted directly to SPB).

Revisions of the classification specifications, with subsequent Board concurrence, is generally the appropriate action when:

  • Changes have occurred in the duties assigned to certain positions in a classification that are significant enough to require formal documentation but not so major as to require a different selection, recruitment or compensation approach for the positions in question;
  • Allocation problems have made it necessary to more clearly define (but not significantly change) existing classification concepts;
  • Changes in licensing or certification requirements have occurred, provided that such changes have a similar impact on all positions in the classification;
  • Minimum qualification changes are needed to improve, broaden, or focus recruitment for the classification, provided that such changes do not require a change in compensation.

It is generally appropriate to revise an existing classification when all of the following circumstances exist. Such revisions must be approved by the five-member Board.

  • Changes are of such a magnitude that the classification in question should now have a different pay and/or examining/promotional relationship to other classifications; and
  • The changes have had a substantially uniform impact throughout the classification (i.e., all of the positions can remain in the same classification); and
  • The job changes do not impact the occupational specialty of the positions in question (e.g., truck driver positions assigned to drive larger trucks would still be within the same occupational specialty; however, the conversion of specialized trades to generalized building maintenance jobs could represent a change of occupational specialty).

Classification Establishment

When the classification need or problem cannot be accommodated under the approaches discussed previously, a new classification is probably necessary. This includes instances when:

  • The basic occupational specialty of one or more positions change and reallocation to another classification is not possible; or
  • It is necessary to divide or combine classifications to recognize increased job specialization/generalization, license requirements or other factors that impact only a portion of a classification, job growth or shrinkage that has occurred in only certain positions, etc.
  • Changes in classification concept require a salary move of two or more steps.

Board Item Review and Processing

The priority order of board Item review and processing is as follows:


  1. Court-ordered mandates
  2. Legislative mandate (by law) involving new program/department:
    • No existing civil service classification or alternative
    • New scope of work        

Important/Not Urgent

  1. Legislative mandate (by law) involving revised Minimum Qualification:
    • New license or registration
    • Education
  2. New/revised classification as a result of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) mandated study
  3. All other proposals
    • Priority is in date order as received by CalHR


Section 100 of the C&P Manual contains forms and documents, in bold type, and is arrayed in the order they are typically presented during the development and approval of classification proposals. Thus, the concept document is presented and discussed first, as it is the first step in presenting a department’s proposal either to CalHR or SPB. Instructions on preparation of the Pay Letter and final copying and distribution of classification specifications are last, as these are the final actions that bring closure to the classification proposal process.

Many other sections of the C&P Manual pertain to other issues which may be relevant to a board item.


Responsible Control Agency

  • California Department of Human Resources
  • State Personnel Board

Laws and Regulations

  • Government Code section 18702, 18800, 19818 et seq. section 3, Article VII, State Constitution

Other Resource Materials

  • Bargaining / Contracts
  • CalHR PML 2007-026, 2002-077
  • Classification and Pay Guide section 100, 115, 145, 160, 170, 171, 200
  • Personnel Management Policy and Procedure Manual section 100, 110