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Overview and Reporting Procedures

This information is intended to acquaint employing agencies and candidates with a summary of selected aspects of Civil Service Laws and Rules. The information does not supersede Civil Service Law, Suffolk County Civil Service Rules or the policies of the Suffolk County Department of Human Resources, Personnel and Civil Service, but rather is written to reflect the substance and nature of these other sources at the time of this writing.


Most public service jobs, i.e. any job in which the incumbent is regularly and directly paid from public funds, must be either civil service or military service. Thus, unless an employee wears the uniform of the state militia, he/she is a civil service employee. Teachers, clerks, judges, and elected officials, as well as librarians, other than those who work in association libraries, are all civil servants.

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The Civil Service Law recognizes two broad classes of jobs: those in the unclassified service and those in the classified service.

The unclassified service consists largely of elected positions, heads of government agencies, teachers, employees of the legislature and a few others. While these employees are civil servants, their employment does not fall under the authority of the Department of Human Resources, Personnel and Civil Service.

The classified service is divided into four categories of jobs known as jurisdictional classes. These classes are the competitive class, non-competitive class, exempt class and labor class. All employment within Suffolk County in any of these four jurisdictional classes is under the auspices of the Suffolk County Department of Human Resources, Personnel and Civil Service.

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Placement of titles within one of the four jurisdictional classes is based upon practicability of testing. The New York State Constitution mandates that employment be based upon merit and fitness and, wherever possible, be made through competitive testing. Titles placed in anything other than the Competitive Class are exceptions made in accordance with specific definitions in the Civil Service Law.

COMPETITIVE CLASS- Titles in this class are those for which it is practicable to not only evaluate candidates, but also to rank them. This is done either through written examinations or, in some cases, rated evaluations of training and experience. In either case, a list is generated giving the candidates' scores on the examination. Any employee hired must be among the top three candidates on the list willing to accept an appointment. Special consideration may be given to candidates who are residents of a jurisdiction.

To secure appointment to competitive class positions, a candidate must:

  1. meet the minimum qualifications prescribed for the position,
  2. compete in the examination for that position,
  3. obtain a passing score and be reachable on the eligible list which is established from the examination,
  4. be officially appointed from the eligible list.

NON-COMPETITIVE CLASS- Titles in this class are those for which it is not practicable to evaluate candidates in a way which would generate a ranking of the candidates. Determination of a candidate's merit and fitness is made based upon a review of the candidate's training and/or experience simply to see that he/she meets any minimum standards that may exist. This is done through a review, by this department, of an application (CS 205) completed by the candidate. No comparisons are made between candidates and no list is generated. If the candidate meets any qualifications that exist, he/she may be appointed.

Note: Certain positions, which are normally in the competitive class, may be filled on a non-competitive basis if specific part-time restrictions are adhered to. (see Part-Time Rule)

LABOR CLASS - Positions are generally those involving unskilled or semiskilled physical or manual labor. No review of qualifications is done by this department.

EXEMPT CLASS - These are a limited number of positions for which no type of evaluation is practicable for reasons other than the specific duties. For example a deputy (specifically defined in the Law) is exempt because of the unique relationship required with the department head or elected official. These employees are hired at the pleasure of the appointing authority. We do not review any qualifications, but employees in the Exempt Class, like those in the other three jurisdictional classes, must still be reported to the Department of Human Resources, Personnel and Civil Service.

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There are two broad classes of examinations - open-competitive and promotional.

Open-competitive examinations are open to anyone meeting the education and experience qualifications that are required for the position. Candidates need not be currently employed by a jurisdiction to compete in such examinations.

Promotional examinations are offered only to current employees of a jurisdiction who have permanent competitive status in the cited lower title within the jurisdiction for the specified period of time. Employees who are hired on a part-time, non-competitive basis, as described above, are not eligible to compete in promotional examinations.

Examinations are often offered both open-competitively and promotionally. In such cases, the promotional list must be used first to fill vacancies. If the promotional list has fewer than three names, or if there is no promotional list for the jurisdiction (because no one in the jurisdiction competed in- or passed- the promotional examination) then the open-competitive list is used to fill vacancies. For this reason, when an examination is offered both open-competitively and promotionally, applicants may find it advantageous to file for the examination both ways, provided that they meet both sets of minimum qualifications. Such individuals only have to take one test, but must file two application forms and pay separate fees.

Under the Department of Human Resources, Personnel and Civil Service's "open filing" policy, applications for other than law enforcement titles may be filed at any time; candidates need not wait until an examination is announced. Applications are kept on file until the examination announcement is issued for that title. Candidates will be notified of the place and time of the examination shortly before the test date. Candidates should notify Civil Service of any address changes to assure notification of the examination.

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When a jurisdiction wishes to fill a vacancy in a competitive class position, the agency so advises the Suffolk County Department of Human Resources, Personnel and Civil Service with a Request for Certification of Eligibles form. The Department of Human Resources, Personnel and Civil Service prepares a list called a Certification of Eligibles, with passing candidates shown in rank order, from highest to lowest. The Certification is sent out to the jurisdiction where the vacancy exists. The employing agency has a period of sixty days from the Certification's issue date to make an appointment from this certification. The employing agency may request a 30-day extension of the Certification of Eligibles to be granted by the County Personnel Director.

According to the Civil Service Law, an appointing authority seeking to make an open-competitive appointment may give preference to legal residents of the jurisdiction. If the appointing authority chooses to exercise this option, a residents list will be sent first. When an employee is hired as a resident, he/she will be required to complete a Resident Eligibility Verification Form and provide supporting documentation. The form, along with the supporting documentation must be submitted to this department by the appointing authority, along with the returned Certification of Eligibles and Report of Personnel Changes.

If the eligible list contains no legal residents of the jurisdiction, the countywide list must be used.

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The rule of one of three, or simply the "rule of three" as it is often called, plays an important part in the appointment process. The rule of three states that an appointing authority may choose to appoint any one of the three highest-scoring candidates who are willing to accept the appointment. To fully understand the "rule of three", it is necessary to understand Zone Scoring. When eligible lists are established, grades will be presented in zones. Final scores will be round numbers such as 100, 95, 90, 85, etc. This scoring method creates a significant number of tie scores. Every candidate within the same zone has equal standing on the eligible list. Zone Scoring in no way alters the Rule of Three; appointing authorities must still select from among the three highest scoring candidates, and not the three highest scores. In other words, if there are three or more candidates with any given score, or combination of scores, who are willing to accept a position, selection must be made from among these candidates. Only if there are fewer than three candidates in a zone, or combination of zones, may the appointing authority consider candidates in the next lowest zone.

In exercising the rule of three, an appointing authority may use any legal selection criteria. The interview is the most frequent tool used by appointing authorities in making their one of three selection. For this reason, candidates should regard the interview as an important part of the selection process.

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A permanent appointment is made when the jurisdiction has a vacant position, which it expects will be funded in each succeeding budget year. Since economic conditions change, no one can guarantee that funds will always be available for a permanent position. No one has a guaranteed job. Most permanent appointments from an open-competitive eligible list are for a 26-week probationary period. Most permanent appointments from a promotional eligible list are for a twelve-week probationary period. The name of the candidate who accepts a permanent appointment is permanently removed from the eligible list from which she/he was appointed.


This type of appointment is made when another employee has re-employment rights to a vacant job. An employee who encumbers a job may be on maternity or other leave or may have accepted a different non-permanent appointment (such as a provisional promotion) elsewhere in the jurisdiction. Contingent appointments are subject to the same probationary period specified for permanent appointments. However, once the probationary period is completed, the contingent permanent appointee could still be displaced from the position by the return of the encumbering employee. The name of an employee who accepts a contingent appointment is removed from the eligible list, but would be reinstated to the list in the event of displacement by the return of the permanent employee.

A vacancy of the same title in the agency automatically turns a contingent permanent appointment into a permanent appointment because the contingency becomes attached to the new vacancy.


A provisional appointment is made when there is no eligible list for a competitive class title, or there are fewer than three willing acceptors on such a list. Provisional appointments are intended to be a temporary measure to fill the position only until the next eligible list is established. The employing agency must receive approval from the Department of Human Resources, Personnel and Civil Service for every provisional appointment. Provisional appointees may be dismissed at any time during the provisional term. If the employee holds permanent competitive status in another title in the same jurisdiction, he/she holds contingent rights to the permanent title and would revert to that title upon dismissal from the provisional position.


This definition applies to certain positions that are normally competitive. If this part-time restriction is met, employees may be hired without their having to be appointed from an eligible list. Their employment must be maintained within these limitations for their employment to be legal.

Employees must meet one of the following two criteria:

  1. Hour limitation - any employment or combination of employments, other than a seasonal Police Officer* in which the employee works fifty percent or less of the normal work week, or;
  2. Earnings limitation - Any employment or combination of employments in which the employee earns no more than $5000 for the year or 25% of the official annual full-time salary for the title, whichever is greater.

Employment of seasonal Police Officers includes employment during the period commencing two weeks preceding memorial day and terminating two weeks after Labor Day to meet extraordinary or peak demands. Wages earned as a Seasonal Police Officer shall not be used in computing the maximum allowable earnings as a part- time employee.

Part-time appointment which "averages out" to 17 hours a week (i.e. 35 hours for one week and 0 the next) would not meet the Hour Limitation described above. Such employment could meet the part time rule only by virtue of the Earnings Limitation.

Also, beware of switching back and forth between 1 and 2! The Department of Human Resources, Personnel and Civil Service looks closely at any appointment or change in hours that indicates that the jurisdiction is employing a full-time employee without using the list.


Jurisdictions occasionally have the need to make temporary appointments. As the term implies, temporary appointments are for a specific limited duration, such as day, week, month, six months, etc. There are three categories of temporary appointments for Competitive Class positions:

  1. Appointments for up to 3 months. The individual is not appointed from the list, but the appointment is subject to Civil Service approval and an appointee must meet the minimum qualifications established for the position. Only one such appointment may be made per individual per calendar or fiscal year and it is meant to address an emergency situation.
  2. Appointments for up to six months. The individual must be appointed from among candidates on the eligible list, but the candidate's rank on the list may be disregarded. Such appointments are also subject to Civil Service approval. Again, only one such appointment may be made per person per year to address an emergency situation.
  3. Appointments for more than six months. Appointments must be made from the list as they are made for permanent appointments.

Temporary appointments never mature into permanent appointments, and time served as a temporary appointee does not count toward meeting the minimum qualifications for competing in a promotional exam. For these reasons, the names of the candidates who accept temporary appointments remain on the eligible list, so they may be considered for any permanent appointments that arise while they are temporarily employed.

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  1. The term "transfer" means a move from a position under one appointing authority to a position under a different appointing authority. The position to which the employee is transferring must be in the same title, a comparable title, lower title in the direct line of promotion, or a title to which the employee is eligible for voluntary demotion or reinstatement. Moves between positions under the same appointing authority are "reassignments" and not transfers. The power to reassign is vested solely with the appointing authority.
  2. All transfers are subject to the provisions of the Civil Service Law and the Suffolk County Civil Service Rules, and require the approval of the Suffolk County Personnel Director. Transfers are not "automatic" in any sense.
  3. Individuals seeking transfer must first locate an appropriate vacancy. The Department of Human Resources, Personnel and Civil Service does not provide listings of vacancies. The best way for an individual to locate a vacant position is to contact the appointing authority in the agency or agencies where he or she would like to work. We suggest that he/she send each agency a résumé and a letter stating his/her desire to transfer into the agency and indicate the title in which he/she holds status. Remember, transfer into a higher level title is not possible. A listing of Suffolk County offices can be found in the telephone directory under "Suffolk County Government." The telephone directory can be used in the same way to locate other governmental offices. Bear in mind that no agency is obliged to accept any individual on a transfer.
  4. Once a candidate has located an agency interested in allowing a transfer, he/she must ask the appointing authority in that agency to write a letter to the Suffolk County Personnel Director stating that he/she may transfer into his/her agency. This letter must include title, and the effective date of the transfer.
  5. The Suffolk County Personnel Director must also receive a letter from the transfer candidate indicating his/her desire to transfer. This letter may be submitted by the candidate directly to the Suffolk County Personnel Director or through the personnel office of the agency to which he or she wishes to transfer.
  6. The releasing agency must also agree to the transfer and submit a letter to the County Personnel Director indicating such approval. Transfers are subject to an twelve-week probationary term. If the releasing agency agrees to the transfer, they are agreeing to hold the position "contingent" until the completion of the probationary period.

In some cases there are other requirements having to do with the existence of preferred lists and promotional lists. These are best approached case-by-case, and the would-be employer should call Civil Service for the specific requirements applicable to each.

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  1. Section 75 of the Civil Service Law provides protection to every post-probationary permanent or contingent permanent employee in a competitive class job. It also protects labor and non-competitive employees with at least five years of continuous service, other than those employees in positions which the Department of Human Resources, Personnel and Civil Service has designated as "confidential" or that "require the performance of functions influencing policy," pursuant to Section 42(2-a). Veterans and exempt volunteer firefighters (as defined by Section 85 of Civil Service Law and General Municipal Law, respectively) regardless of their titles, are protected by Section 75. An employee who has Section 75 protection can be removed from his/her job only after a hearing at which the employee must be proved guilty of misconduct or incompetence.
  2. Sections 72 and 73 set forth an employee's rights to medical examinations, hearings and reinstatement when the employee has been or may be placed on involuntary leave of absence due to mental or physical inability to perform his/her duties.

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All full-time Civil Service librarian positions are in the competitive class.

The Civil Service examination for librarian positions may consist of several test techniques. Generally, multiple choice written tests are used for entry-level positions. For higher level positions, a training and experience evaluation may be used. This technique consists of a systematic evaluation of the education and work experience of each applicant against a pre-determined scale, which is developed according to the needs of the job to be filled. The important point to remember, when competing in a training and experience evaluation, is to provide a detailed résumé, which includes an explicit description of all previous jobs and the inclusive dates of each job. Vagueness on an application or résumé for a training and experience evaluation may cause some element of an applicant's background to be rated lower than it would actually be worth if it were described in detail. In some instances, a vague job description may receive no credit.

It is the responsibility of the candidate to fill out forms completely, file for examinations on time and make sure that he/she has done what is required to meet the qualifications. Candidates must be certain to read the published announcements for the test he/she plans to take, since the announcement issued by the Suffolk County Department of Human Resources, Personnel and Civil Service will describe the examination scope and test techniques being used.

Probationary period for a Librarian Trainee is up to four years. Trainees are given this time to complete the course of study for an MLS degree. The Librarian Trainee remains on probation until he or she completes MLS studies and achieves permanent competitive status as a Librarian I.

Some libraries may employ part-time librarians. Positions in competitive titles may be filled on a part-time non-competitive basis if the employee meets the part time rule.

If the library district desires to convert a part-time non-competitive position to a full-time position, that position must be filled competitively, i.e. by someone who is reachable on the appropriate eligible list. This may or may not be the same person who held the position when it was part-time.

For other than entry-level positions of Librarian Trainee or Librarian I, there may be promotional examinations offered, which are open only to employees of public libraries who meet the qualifications for the promotional examination. Since the civil service system is based upon a policy of promotions from within based upon permanent competitive status, it may be extremely difficult for non-competitive part-time librarians to advance to more responsible positions within their job ladder.

Regarding canvassing of eligible lists, a candidate may decline a position for the reasons listed on the canvass letter or other valid reasons without penalty. An applicant may also decline without penalty after being interviewed. However, an applicant will be taken off the list for failure to show up for more than two scheduled interviews.

There are two exempt class positions applicable to libraries and these are Library Attorney and Library Treasurer.

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Duties Statement (CS 500)- This is a form used to describe to us the duties to be performed by an employee. We must have a Duties Statement for every Classified position in the jurisdiction. When we receive the Duties Statement, we determine the proper title to describe the position. This establishes a position, which may then be filled in accordance with Civil Service Law.

Duties Statements must be submitted in the following situations:

  1. Creation of a new position,
  2. Any significant change in the duties of an existing position,
  3. If a Duties Statement is old (more than 5 years), when the position is to be refilled, we may request a new Duties Statement to assure that the title is still correct.
  4. For Exempt class positions, a new Duties Statement must be submitted each time the position is refilled.


The appointing authority completes the form through #7 on the back and submits 2 copies to us. We determine the correct title and complete #8 on the form. We then send the form back to the employing agency for signature of the appointing authority.

The appointing authority signs and completes #9 and returns the original to us. The employing jurisdiction should keep a copy.

REPORT OF PERSONNEL CHANGES (CS-150) This form is used by employing agencies to report all personnel changes to us. Changes include appointments, terminations, salary increases or changes, etc.


Complete the form and submit the white and yellow copies to us. Keep the pink copy as an interim record. We will process the change and return the yellow copy noting the approval or, if necessary, disapproval of the change. You can then discard the pink copy and keep the yellow for your records. For any appointments from an eligible list, the appointment must be noted on the list (Certification of Eligibles) and the Certification of Eligibles must be returned to us along with the CS 150. (See Request for Certification of Eligibles CS-21).

APPLICATION FOR EMPLOYMENT (CS-205 A & B or CS 203 for promotional examinations). Any candidates for non-competitive, temporary or provisional employment must complete an application so that we can determine whether he/she is qualified for appointment. Applications are also used for candidates to apply to take examinations administered by this department.


To apply for an examination the candidate completes the CS 205 (part A and B) for an open competitive examination, or CS 203 for a promotional examination, and submits the application directly to us along with a $25 application fee.

For Non-Competitive (CS 205A), temporary (CS 205A) and provisional appointments (CS 205A and B or CS 203 if promotional), candidate completes the application and signs on the back. It is necessary that the name of the employing jurisdiction be written on the front of the application in the space toward the bottom labeled "Department or Jurisdiction". The application should be submitted to us by the jurisdiction for our review. This should be done before the employee is appointed to avoid problems if the candidate doesn't meet the qualifications for the job.

REQUEST FOR CERTIFICATION OF ELIGIBLES (CS-21) Positions in the competitive class require that appointing authorities obtain a list of tested and certified candidates from this department. This request is made using the CS-21 form. Any appointment that is made from an eligible list must be from among the top three willing acceptors on the list.


Complete the entire form and submit the form to us. If a list exists, it will be sent. Requests should include an exact salary- ranges are not acceptable. If any employee will be working less than a normal workweek, the salary indicated should be prorated. Note any special hours or working conditions.

When an appointment is made, it should be noted on the Certification. The Certification should then be signed and returned to this office.

If there is no list or if there are fewer than 3 names on the list, the jurisdiction may appoint a provisional employee who can remain in the position as a provisional until a new list is established. A provisional is an employee who has not yet taken the examination but who meets the minimum qualifications. It is up to the appointing authority to recruit such an employee. Since the employee will ultimately have to take the test (and score among the top three to be permanently appointed), he or she must complete a CS-205 Parts A & B or CS 203 for a promotional examination. The name of the employing jurisdiction must be noted on the front of the application. We will review any qualifications and file the application so the employee will be able to take a future examination. The employee must meet any qualifications for the job.

RESIDENCY ELIGIBILITY VERIFICATION FORM If an appointment is made from an open-competitive list and the appointee was given residency preference in making the appointment, he/she will be required to complete the verification form and provide supporting documentation. This form and documentation must be submitted to us by the appointing authority, along with the CS150 and signed Certification of Eligibles.

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Type of

Request for Certification of Eligibles


Application for

(CS-205 A, B or CS-203)

Duties Statement


Report of
Personnel Change


Full-Time Competitive Appointments
(includes all clerical titles, Head & Chief Custodian, School Lunch Manager, etc)


Filed for

(CS-205 A & B for Open Competitive, CS-203 for Promotional)



Provisional Appointments - Competitive Class Yes Yes
(same as above)
Yes Yes
Non-Competitive Appointments
(Includes School Teacher Aides, Maintenance Mechs. I-IV, Lead FSW, and *PT clerical titles)


(CS-205 A)



Labor Class Appointments
(Includes Sch.Mon., Cust. Wkr I, FSW, Groundskeeper I etc)


Exempt Class Appointments
(Includes SD Clerk, SD Treasurer, etc)


*Must meet part-time limits as defined in Civil Service Rules

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Suffolk County Government

H. Lee Dennison Bldg

100 Veterans Memorial Hwy
P.O. Box 6100
Hauppauge, NY 11788

Riverhead County Center

County Road 51
Riverhead, NY 11901