Torrance : Employee Preference Stands

The city can continue to give its employees first crack at job openings in the city.

The City Council this week unanimously voted to table a recommendation by the Civil Service Commission to eliminate the policy, called selective certification.

The commission made its recommendation after the city attorney’s office last month ruled that the policy was in conflict with the city’s Charter. The charter calls for appointments to be made on the basis of merit and fitness determined by competitive examinations when “practicable.”

But City Atty. Stanley Remelmeyer said that opinion did not intend to suggest that the current policy was illegal. Hiring a city employee solely on the basis of being a city employee is in violation of the Charter and of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, he said, but a city employee can still get first shot at job openings if there is other evidence the employee is competent to do the work.


“The use of selective certification is difficult in light of the Charter provision and the ‘equal protection’ limitations,” said William Quale, assistant city attorney. “It is not, however, prohibited and can still be a useful tool under the right circumstances.”

Remelmeyer also said that if selective certification is to be removed from union contracts, it must be done during negotiations with union groups.