FAQ - Class & Comp

Learn more about frequently asked questions regarding Classification & Compensation. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.

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Classification is a process by which jobs of a common nature with similar duties and responsibilities are grouped together for the purposes of assignment to an appropriate pay range. Classification is based upon the objective elements of a position that include the nature, scope, and level of duties and responsibilities; the relationship of the position to other positions in the department; supervision given/received; and the exercise of independent judgment.  The class description is the foundation of the classification process because it is the primary tool used to accurately define and describe examples of the current duties and responsibilities of a position. A classification plan provides the cornerstone for building strong selection and compensation programs and aids in budget and organizational planning and analysis.  Most importantly, the classification plan is the basic tool for making pay decisions that are reasonable in comparison to similar work being carried out in all areas of County government.

Compensation is a systematic approach to providing monetary value to employees in exchange for work performed. Compensation achieves several purposes, such as assisting in recruitment, job performance, and job satisfaction. In order to have consistent pay across equivalent positions, it is necessary to first know what the work of each position is and then decide which work is, in fact, equal. This is accomplished in the course of preparing and maintaining a position classification plan. The County’s classification plan is meaningless if not implemented with appropriate pay policies; therefore, the County’s pay policies must be based on the classification plan.

A class specification contains a formalized summary of the duties and responsibilities of a position in the class followed by examples of work performed and an enumeration of the desirable education and experience requirements. The 440 Salary Ordinance has authorized the Human Resources Director to administratively amend a class specification or inactivate a classification through the utilization of the Amendment to Classification Plan form. Additionally, this form grants the Human Resources Director the authority to change the title of a class as listed within the Class and Salary Listing, without changing the job code or salary, when an occupational title change is warranted because of technical or programmatic developments. In addition, the Human Resources Director may administratively duplicate (clone) an existing class for a separate program or district position when necessary to preserve benefits that have been lawfully afforded to an employee group, using a variation on the title according to the program area, and a distinguishing job code. The salary of the duplicated class must be equivalent to the existing class, allowing, however, for a different salary plan and grade appropriate to the representation unit. Each new or inactivated classification, or revised class specification is approved by the Human Resources Director.

Any employee appointed to a classification authorized by the Riverside County Salary Ordinance No. 440 and listed within Appendix II of such Ordinance, shall serve at the pleasure of either the Board of Supervisors, individual Board of Supervisor member or appropriately designated agency/department head (i.e. At-Will). He/she may be terminated from service at any time without notice, cause, or rights of appeal. Prior to the appointment to any of these classifications the Human Resources Director shall obtain a written agreement from the prospective appointee acknowledging his/her understanding of such At-Will status.

A Classification Transaction Request (CTR) form allows Human Resources, with the Executive Office’s approval, to either add, delete or exchange regular vacant positions within an agency, department or district, exchange regular vacant positions from one cost center to another within the same agency, department or district, and/or add temporary or per diem positions, provided sufficient funds are available within the department's, agency, or district's budget.

The Difficult To Recruit (DTR) designation premium ensures that the County and its departments maintain a competitive position within the job market to fill vacancies vital to County operations and to retain vital employees who are susceptible to recruitment by other employers. The DTR designation is issued for each job class, series or location identified as being difficult to recruit or retain employees. The DTR designation is not meant to be an end in and of itself, but rather an interim step to deal with an immediate and clearly demonstrated recruiting or retention problem within a department, operating unit, or location. Contact Human Resources for details and guidance prior to initiating a DTR designation.

The DTR general policy is set forth in Section 10.b.(iii) of the current County Salary Ordinance 440 and applies County-wide. In some cases it is also set forth in the individual Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with County Unions or the County Management Resolution. Difficult to Recruit classifications are assigned specific Salary Plans beginning with the letters "DT", enabling those designated classifications to be easily identified within our Class & Salary Listing. A complete and comprehensive listing of the County's currently designated Difficult to Recruit classifications is also maintained as a quick reference guide.

An existing position may be studied through the Classification Study process because of department reorganization, changes in work processes or equipment used, or gradual accretion of additional duties and responsibilities. A classification study may also compare a classification's salary range to equivalent classes in other jurisdictions, or to the local job market. Any recommendation to re-allocate a classification's assignment to a different salary plan/grade or to adjust its salary plan/grade based on the findings of such a study must be submitted to the Board of Supervisors for approval through the Form 11 process.

An analysis, performed by an HR analyst, is based on a review of duties and responsibilities, interviews with the incumbent and/or their supervisor, and observation and review of work performed. This part of the analysis is known as a job audit, and is conducted by the HR analyst to evaluate the duties that constitute the position, not the performance or qualifications of the incumbent. The first step in completing this analysis is done using a Position Description Questionnaire, which is a statement filled out by the current incumbent of the position, stating the specific duties and responsibilities that make up the position. The position is then evaluated in terms of such general classification factors as knowledge required, supervision exercised, supervision received, responsibility for policies and procedures, guidelines available, complexity of work, contacts, mental demands, physical demands, independence of action, and accountability. Based on the findings of the job analysis, a recommendation is then reported to the HR Director. If the study recommends creation of an entirely new concept of work with a unique set of duties and responsibilities, a class specification and appropriate salary would be drafted and submitted, through the Form 11 process, to the Board of Supervisors for their approval. If the work was found to be similar to that of an existing class, the position(s) could be placed in that classification; however, if the existing class were designed for a specific program, an option would be to “Clone” the classification for generic application or for use within a specialized program that fits with the job analysis conducted. A “cloned" classification may be submitted for administrative review and approval by the HR Director. The new class should represent the same general concept and performance level of work, have the equivalent scope of duties and responsibilities, and require similar minimum qualification components. The salary of the duplicated class must be equivalent to the existing class, step for step, allowing, however, for a different salary plan and grade appropriate to the representation unit. The reclassification process would be utilized with any of the above actions to reclassify the affected incumbent appropriately.

In the simplest of terms, a Reclassification is the reallocation of a position to a different classification by a change of title and position specification, but does not necessarily involve a change in salary. As an outcome of a classification study or review, the Human Resources Director, with the concurrence of the affected agency/department head, may reclassify a position which warrants a change to an existing job class, as long as no additional funding is required, and it has been determined that the recruitment process would be inappropriate. The action shall be sufficient to authorize promotion or demotion through reclassification of the incumbent of the position, on the request of the agency/department head.

The County Salary Ordinance No. 440 is an ordinance designating or enumerating the number of, compensation for, classification, method and requirements of employment with the County of Riverside. Any requested changes to a classification, as it relates to salary or number of positions, must be done by Board action through a 440 Resolution, unless otherwise directed by the Board of Supervisors.

In the past, County Counsel was responsible for establishing 440 Resolution numbers when a department requested changes to the 440 Salary Ordinance affecting classifications and/or positions within their department. That process occurred after the Form 11 had already been approved by the Board of Supervisors, causing delays in establishing the required position control number(s), and in turn, delaying the establishment of positions per the department’s request. In August 2001, Human Resources took over the responsibility of establishing 440 Resolution numbers from County Counsel in order to expedite this necessary function, and by doing so, established specific guidelines and language for departments to follow when completing a Form 11 that requires a change to the 440 Salary Ordinance. The sole purpose for requiring this specific language within your Form 11 is so that the Clerk of the Board can include the assigned 440 Resolution number on the Board Agenda, thus informing Human Resources when the item will be heard by the Board of Supervisors for consideration. Therefore, prior to submitting your Form 11 packet, signed by the requesting department head, with all corresponding attachments to Human Resources for review and approval, both the ‘SUBJECT’ line and ‘RECOMMENDED MOTION’ section must include the following language: “Amend Salary Ordinance No. 440 pursuant to Resolution No. 440-_____ submitted herewith.” Failure to include this language within the specified sections of the Form 11 will result in the delay of your 440 Resolution request and possibly the return of your entire Form 11 packet. The four digit 440 Resolution number will be manually inserted into your Form 11, with the required 440 Resolution document attached, prior to submission for final signatures. Please note that once this process has taken place your Form 11 and all corresponding attachments will not be returned to you for further changes and/or additions prior to Board approval. Human Resources will submit the entire Form 11 packet on your behalf to obtain the appropriate authorizations for placement on the next available Board agenda. All 440 Resolution requests are to be submitted with the original Form 11, signed by the requesting department head, in its entirety, to Kelly Campbell at mail stop 1081.