Special Consultant is a non-testing classification used almost exclusively to make temporary appointments (TAUs) to meet short-term needs for highly specialized services that cannot be accommodated within the regular civil service classification and examining structure.

In rare instances and with the approval of both the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) and the State Personnel Board (SPB), it may also be used to make a temporary appointment pending the filling of an exempt position.

It is the policy of the Department of General Services (DGS) that a Special Consultant may be used for nonrecurring expert service, if all the following criteria are justified on the Request for Personnel Action (RPA):

  1. The duration of the work is less than nine months (or 194 working days) within a 12-month period.
  2. The work is of a professional or technical character.
    • Professional is defined as engaged in an occupation.
    • Technical is defined as characterizing or showing skill in or specialized knowledge of applied arts and sciences.
  3. Specialized skills and knowledge are required, which are not available within existing classifications in State service. While there may be classifications that include the general background needed, they lack the very specialized expertise to meet the particular need.

Note: Careful judgement is required in determining whether criteria “3” is met. Special Consultant should be authorized only to obtain bona fide expertise or specialized consultation not obtainable by using existing classifications and eligible lists. In some cases it should be possible for departments to obtain specialized services from other State agencies under interagency agreements rather than through use of Special Consultants. Finally, any individual hired as a Special Consultant must have a background that matches the justification for the use of the classification.

DGS has delegation from CalHR to make appointments to the Special Consultant classification based on the standards and guidelines outlined in the Classification and Pay (C&P) Manual section 340. However, DGS must provide a copy of the salary analysis to CalHR prior to authorizing an appointment to this classification. Concurrently, SPB must review a “package” from DGS to verify that the proposed consultants background and experience are appropriate for the described assignment and to ensure that appropriate affirmative action considerations have been made. The package shall include:

  • Position justification, which includes:
    • Background – description of the situation which led to the request for a Special Consultant
    • Objective – what is to be accomplished by the Special Consultant (scope of work)
    • Needed expertise – description of the specific expertise needed to meet the DGS’ need and indicate why it cannot be obtained from permanent staff or through an interagency agreement
    • Affirmative action – summary of the affirmative action efforts made in the selection process
    • Appointment information – specify the recommended time base salary rate (including justification), and duration of appointment (including the anticipated ate of termination and verification that the DGS; need will not exceed the nine-month limit
  • Organization chart
  • Duty statement
  • Standard application, completed by the individual to be appointed, including salary history information
  • Form 215 (TAU authorization)


Requesting Office
Prepares and submits a Request for Personnel Action (RPA), which shall include:

  • A justification supporting the use of the Special Consultant classification, including:
    • what services are to be accomplished by the Special Consultant;
    • a description of the specialized skills and knowledge needed which are not available within State service or through an interagency agreement; and
    • verification that the need for the Special Consultant will not exceed nine months
  • The duration of the appointment (may not exceed 9 months in a 12-month period)
  • The recommended time base
  • The salary rate (including justification for the proposed salary)
  • A standard application (Form 678) completed by the individual to be appointed, including salary history information (selection should follow a minimum of an application review and an oral interview)
  • A summary of the recruitment efforts made during the selection process
  • An essential functions duty statement
  • A current and proposed organization chart

Classification and Pay (C&P) Unit
Analyst reviews the RPA package and processes in accordance with CalHR/SPB and RPA procedures.

Salary Range

While there is no salary range for Special Consultant, following are the established maximum salary guidelines. When the factors below do not give adequate guidance, consider the rates paid for similar work by other employers.



Certified Medical Specialist Physician and Surgeon, Range D
Licensed Physician Physician and Surgeon, Range D
Attorney Deputy Attorney General IV
Other Research Specialist IV, Range A




The timebase of a Special Consultant depends on DGS’ needs and must be included in the RPA package. The options are:

  • Full-time – the Special Consultant is anticipated to work at least 40 hours per week for a maximum of nine months in a 12-month period
  • Intermittent* – the Special Consultant is anticipated to work less than full-time and is compensated as follows:
    • At a monthly rate proportionate to the amount of time worked
    • At a daily rate that is the daily equivalent of the recommended monthly salary
    • At an hourly rate based of the approved monthly salary, when the need is sporadic, and for extremely brief periods.

*An intermittent TAU is limited to the total of 194 days of work. Each day worked is counted regardless of the actual number of hours per day.


Responsible Control Agencies

  • California Department of Human Resources
  • State Personnel Board

Laws and Regulations

  • Government Code section 18529, 19058, 19059
  • SPB Rule 265

Classification and Pay Guide

  • Section 340


Classification and Pay Unit

Department of General Services
Office of Human Resources

707 3rd Street, 7th Floor
West Sacramento, CA 95605
Contact your assigned Classification and Pay Analyst.