Civil Service


​Civil Service - Dallas City Charter Chapter XVI

​Civil Service and Personnel​

​(Renumbered by Amend. of 6-12-73, Prop. No. 43)


SEC. 1. ORGANIZATION OF CIVIL SERVICE.

There is hereby created and established a civil service board to be composed of seven members who shall be qualified taxpaying citizens of the City of Dallas and a number of adjunct members equal to the number of members on the city council who shall have qualifications established by the city council. Biennially in August of each odd-numbered year, the city council shall appoint the members and adjunct members to serve for two years and until their successors have been appointed and qualified, and the mayor shall designate one member as chair subject to confirmation by a majority of the city council. The adjunct members shall not have voting privileges on matters to be determined by the civil service board but shall perform such duties as prescribed for them by this Charter. The members and adjunct members of the civil service board shall not hold any other position under the city, county, or state government. The city council may remove any member or adjunct member of the board upon stating in writing the reasons for removal and allowing the member or adjunct member an opportunity to present a defense. Any vacancies on the board must be filled by the city council for the unexpired term. (Amend. of 4-2-83, Prop. No. 7; Amend. of 4-6-85, Prop. No. 4; Amend. of 8-12-89, Prop. No. 1; Amend. of 5-1-93, Prop. No. 8)

SEC. 2. OFFICERS OF CIVIL SERVICE BOARD; DIRECTOR OF CIVIL SERVICE DEPARTMENT.

(a) Immediately after appointment, the board shall organize by electing one of the members vice chair. The board shall also appoint a secretary, who shall not be a member or adjunct member of the board. The secretary shall serve as director of the civil service department of the city and employ such assistants and employees to positions as the city council may establish.

(b) The secretary of the board shall serve for a period of two years from the date of appointment or until a successor is appointed and qualified, unless sooner discharged by the board. The secretary shall be appointed by a majority of all of the members of the board and may not be discharged during the term of office except by a two-thirds vote of all of the board members. The secretary shall receive such compensation as is fixed by the board. (Amend. of 4-2-83, Prop. No. 7; Amend. of 5-3-97, Prop. No. 8)

SEC. 3. CIVIL SERVICE DIVIDED INTO CLASSIFIED AND UNCLASSIFIED SERVICE.

The civil service of the city is hereby divided into the "unclassified" and "classified" service, to wit:

(l) The unclassified service shall include:

    (a) the directors of departments, assistant directors of departments, and other managerial personnel as designated by rules of the board;

    (b) city auditor, city secretary, municipal court clerk, secretary of the civil service board;

    (c) labor class which shall include all ordinary unskilled labor.

(2) The classified service shall include all positions not exempted or otherwise designated according to the Charter. There shall be in the classified service two classes to be known as the "competitive class" and the "noncompetitive class," to wit:

    (a) The competitive class shall include all positions and employment for which it is practical to determine the merit and fitness of the applicant by competitive examination.

    (b) The noncompetitive class shall consist of all positions designated to respond to special needs identified by directors of departments and approved by the board or positions requiring peculiar and exceptional qualifications or management accountability as may be determined by the rules of the board. (Amend. of 4-2-83, Prop. No. 7)

SEC. 4. CIVIL SERVICE BOARD TO ADOPT RULES AND REGULATIONS, SUBJECT TO THE APPROVAL OF THE CITY COUNCIL.

The civil service board, subject to the approval of the city council, shall adopt, amend and enforce a code of rules and regulations providing for appointment and employment in all positions in the classified service, which shall have the force and effect of law; also rules regulating reduction of force of employees and in what order they shall be dismissed and reinstated; shall make investigation concerning the enforcement and effect of this section of the Charter and of the rules adopted under the powers herein granted. The rules as adopted shall provide for the following:

(a) Notice of no less than seven days of any public meeting of the board.

(b) A lapse of 15 days between a recommended change in the rules by the board and action by the city council.

(c) Notification to all department heads and through them to their employees regarding any recommended changes.

(d) No changes in the rules shall become effective without complying with the notice provisions as herein stated. It shall make an annual report to the city council at the end of each fiscal year, giving a complete statement of the board's activities and containing such recommendations with regard to improving the efficiency of the civil service as it may deem advisable. (Amend. of 6-12-73, Prop. No. 29)

SEC. 5. LISTS OF ELIGIBLES TO BE PROVIDED AND MAINTAINED BY BOARD.

The board shall provide for examination in accordance with its code of rules and regulations, and maintain lists of eligibles to each class of the service of those meeting the requirements of said regulations. Positions in the classified service shall be filled from such eligible lists upon requisition of the city manager.

SEC. 6. BOARD TO PROVIDE FOR PROMOTIONS AND REASSIGNMENT IN THE CLASSIFIED SERVICE.

(a) The board shall provide for promotion to all positions in the classified service on the basis of merit and fitness demonstrated by examination or other appropriate evidences of competition and by records of merit, efficiency, character, conduct, and seniority.

(b) The board shall also provide for incumbents of ranks or grades that have been eliminated by departmental reorganization:

    (1) to be reassigned to other positions; and

    (2) to receive no reduction in compensation for a period not to exceed two years.

(c) The board may, but is not required to, provide for reassignment in the case of:

    (1) reduction in force; or

    (2) removal or reduction for cause under standard civil service hearing and appeal procedures.

(d) Subsection (b)(2) does not apply to a reassignment made under Subsection (c). (Amend. of 6-12-73, Prop. No. 30; Amend. of 4-6-85, Prop. No. 3; Amend. of 5-1-93, Prop. No. 8)

SEC. 7. BOARD TO ESTABLISH RULES GOVERNING CONDUCT.

It shall be the duty of the board, in the code of rules and regulations approved by the council, to establish rules governing evaluation of conduct and performance and requiring remedies for nonperformance for positions in the civil service. (Amend. of 4-2-83, Prop. No. 7)

SEC. 8. INVESTIGATIONS; POWER TO REQUIRE ATTENDANCE OF WITNESSES, ETC.

In any investigations conducted by the board, it shall have the power to subpoena and require the attendance of witnesses and the production thereby of books and papers pertinent to the investigation and to administer oaths to such witnesses.

SEC. 9. DEPARTMENTS EXEMPTED FROM CIVIL SERVICE.

The legal department, the city manager's office, the library department, the park and recreation department, the radio department, corporation [municipal] court judges, and the city council office staff are exempted from the provisions applicable to the civil service. (Amend. of 5-3-97, Prop. No. 8)

SEC. 10. PROBATIONARY PERIOD.

(a) Appointments or promotions of city officers and employees in the classified and unclassified service shall not be deemed complete until a period of six months shall have elapsed. A probationer may be discharged, suspended or reduced within said period by the city manager, or the head of the department in which said probationer is employed without right of appeal.

(b) Probationary periods may be extended under civil service rules or personnel rules to allow six months on-the-job work performance or completion of any written prerequisites to employment. (Amend. of 4-2-83, Prop. No. 7)

SEC. II. EMPLOYEE ACTIONS AFTER PROBATION PERIOD.

(a) Any classified or unclassified officer or employee may be removed, laid off, or reduced in grade by the city manager, or the head of the department in which the officer or employee is employed after the six months' probationary period has expired. The officer taking the action shall, upon request, furnish the discharged or reduced officer or employee with a written statement of the reasons for the action. The discharged or reduced officer or employee shall have the right to demand a public hearing upon the charges, within a reasonable time after notice of the action, before the trial board as provided by this Charter. This right of appeal does not apply to department directors, assistant department directors, and other managerial personnel designated by the city council.

(b) An officer or employee who has been disciplined by the head of any department under the city manager shall have five days from receipt of notice of such action within which to demand, in writing, a hearing before the city manager. At the hearing, the city manager shall inquire into the cause of the disciplinary action and render a decision either affirming the action of the department head, setting aside the action of the department head, or directing the department head to enter a new order that the city manager determines is just and equitable. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Charter, the city manager is not limited in determining the extent of any discipline ordered. The decision of the city manager is final unless the disciplined officer or employee exercises any right to a public hearing before the trial board as provided by this Charter. (Amend. of 4-2-83, Prop. No. 7; Amend. of 5-1-93, Prop. No. 8)

SEC. 12. TRIAL BOARD.

(a) There is hereby created for the purpose of hearing and determining charges made against any officer or employee of the city, classified or unclassified, who has been discharged or reduced in grade, a board to be known as the trial board, which shall be composed of one member of the civil service board as designated by the chair and two adjunct members of the civil service board as designated by the chair. The city council shall designate a secretary to the trial board.

(b) The trial board has final jurisdiction to hear and decide all appeals made to it by any discharged or reduced officer or employee. The judgment or decision of a majority of the trial board is final, unless the decision is appealed by either party within one year to the district court of the State of Texas, in which hearing the matter must be decided based upon the review of the record of the trial board hearing. An appeal by the city of a trial board decision to district court must be approved by the city manager and city attorney. An appeal by either party to district court does not suspend the execution of the trial board order being appealed. The prevailing party in an appeal to district court is entitled to reasonable attorney's fees incurred from the date the trial board order is issued.

(c) Any aggrieved officer or employee who desires to appeal to the trial board must do so in writing within 10 days from the date of notification of dismissal or reduction. The aggrieved officer or employee has the right to be represented by counsel, to have an open hearing, and to compel the attendance of witnesses to testify for the aggrieved officer or employee. The appeal to the trial board does not suspend the execution of the order being appealed. The trial board may either sustain or reverse the action of the city manager or the department head, as the case may be, or modify and amend the action as the trial board deems just and equitable under all the facts and circumstances of the particular case. (Amend. of 6-12-73, Prop. No. 31; Amend. of 4-2-83, Prop. No. 7; Amend. of 4-6-85, Prop. No. 4; Amend. of 5-1-93, Prop. No. 8)

SEC. 12.1. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE.

(a) Instead of appealing to a trial board as provided in Section 12 of this chapter, an officer or employee of the city, classified or unclassified, who has been discharged or reduced in grade may appeal to an administrative law judge in accordance with procedures established by ordinance.

(b) A person who appeals to an administrative law judge shall pay one-half of the costs attributed to having the administrative law judge conduct the appeal hearing. (Amend. of 8-12-89, Prop. No. 10)

SEC. 13. MERIT PRINCIPLE.

All appointments and promotions of city officers and employees, including classified and unclassified positions and positions exempt from the civil service, shall be made solely on the basis of merit and fitness.

SEC. 14. ADOPTION OF PERSONNEL SYSTEM.

The city council shall provide a system of personnel rules and regulations for all employees which shall include:

(1) a description of employment positions;

(2) methods of determining merit and fitness;

(3) hours of work, attendance regulations, provisions for sick leave and provisions for vacation leave;

(4) a plan of equitable pay scales;

(5) policies regarding in-service training programs;

(6) grievance procedures; and

(7) other conditions of employment.

SEC. 15. RESERVED.

(Repealed by Amend. of 4-3-76, Prop. No. 6)

*SEC. 16 NO DISCRIMINATION BASED ON RACE, SEX, RELIGIOUS OR POLITICAL OPINIONS; PROHIBITING CERTAIN POLITICAL ACTIVITY ON THE PART OF EMPLOYEES.

(a) No person shall be appointed, reduced, removed, or in any way favored or discriminated against because of race, sex, political or religious opinions or affiliations. No officer or employee of the city shall directly or indirectly, in any way be required to contribute to any political campaign, political party, organization which supports candidates for public office, or for any partisan political purpose whatsoever.

* See Wachsman v. City of Dallas, 704 F.2d 160 (5th Cir. 1983) for judicial interpretation of this section.

(b) To avoid undue influence of city employees on the outcome of city council elections and to avoid undue influence of city council members or candidates for city council on city employees, the following restrictions are imposed:

    (1) No employee of the city or association of such employees may publicly endorse or actively support candidates for the city council or any political organization or association organized to support candidates for the city council.

    (2) No employee of the city may circulate petitions for city council candidates, although an employee may sign such a petition.

    (3) No employee of the city may contribute, directly or indirectly or through an organization or association to such a campaign nor solicit or receive contributions for a city council candidate.

    (4) No employee of the city may wear city council campaign buttons nor distribute campaign literature at work or in a city uniform or in the offices or buildings of the City of Dallas.

(c) In elections other than for city council of the City of Dallas, an employee of the city may not:

    (1) use the prestige of the employee's position with the city for any partisan candidate;

    (2) manage a partisan political campaign;

    (3) solicit or receive contributions for such a campaign;

    (4) actively support a candidate except on the employee's own time while not in a city uniform nor in an office or building of the City of Dallas.

(d) Notwithstanding any conflict with Subsections (b) and (c) of this section, a sworn employee of the fire department or the police department may engage in political activities to the extent permitted by state law. (Amend. of 6-12-73, Prop. No. 32; Amend. of 8-12-89, Prop. No. 11)

SEC. 17. FALSIFICATION OR PAYMENT FOR OFFICE PROHIBITED.

No person shall willfully make any false statement, certificate, mark, rating or report in regard to any test, certification or appointment under the personnel system or civil service provisions of this Charter or the rules and regulations made thereunder, or in any manner commit or attempt to commit any fraud preventing the impartial execution of such provisions, rules and regulations. No person who seeks appointment or promotion with respect to any city position shall directly or indirectly give, render or pay any money, service or other valuable thing to any person for or in connection with his test, appointment, proposed appointment, promotion or proposed promotion.