This Personnel Management Regulation (PMR) establishes the creation, organization, duties, authority, and meeting rules for the County of Marin Personnel Commission, pursuant to County Code and State law.


3.1 Creation and Organization of the Personnel Commission
3.2 Duties and Authority of the Personnel Commission
A. General
B. Investigations
C. Hearings
3.3 Commission Meetings
3.4 Affirmative Action Advisory Committee


Not applicable.

3.1 Creation and Organization of the Personnel Commission

A. Composition. The Personnel Commission will consist of five members, to be appointed by a four-fifths vote of the Board of Supervisors, from among the qualified voters of the County. Insofar as possible at least two members of the Personnel Commission will be current practitioners in Personnel work or labor relations, and the membership will also include persons experienced in corporate executive management, as well as lay persons dedicated to improvement of the public service.

B. Term. Commission members are appointed for four-year terms on a staggered schedule.

C. Temporary Commissioner(s). When by reason of recusal, disqualification, or any other temporary inability of a commissioner to serve, the Board of Supervisors, by a four-fifths vote, may appoint such additional commissioners to temporarily serve in lieu of the affected commissioner(s) for the duration of a specific matter or limited period of time in order to preserve the composition of the Commission as set forth in Section 3.1-A of the County of Marin Personnel Management Regulations, or to assure the Commission’s ability to take any action as set forth in Section 3.3-E of the County of Marin Personnel Management Regulations.

D. Vacancies. Vacancies on the Commission will be filled by appointment by the Board of Supervisors for the unexpired term. Each member will serve until his or her successor is appointed.

E. Removal. A member of the Commission may be removed from office, prior to the expiration of his or her term, by a four-fifths vote of the Board of Supervisors.

F. Chair. Each January, the Personnel Commission will select from their own membership one member to serve as the Chair. The Chair will preside at all meetings of the Commission and act as the spokesperson for the Commission.

G. Vice Chair. The Commission will also elect one of its members as Vice Chair to act in the absence of the Chair and who will have all of the powers of the Chair.

H. Executive Secretary to the Commission. The County Director of Human Resources or designee will act as Executive Secretary to the Commission. Duties will include:

1. Staff services to the Commission.

2. Liaison and communication between the Personnel Commission, County Administrator, and County Board of Supervisors.

3. Preparation and safekeeping of the minutes and other pertinent records of the Commission and certification of same when required.

4. The execution of Personnel Commission policy and establishment of such administration controls as may be necessary to effectuate the provisions of these rules.

5. Recommendations relative to matters of Commission policy and necessary amendments to these rules.

6. Reports to the Commission on actions taken to implement Commission decisions and directions at each Personnel Commission meeting.

7. Reports to the Commission on actions taken by the Board of Supervisors relating to actions taken by the Personnel Commission by the next following Commission meeting.

8. Reports to the Commission from time to time concerning the details of the work of the Human Resources Department.

I. Compensation. Members of the Personnel Commission will receive such compensation, if any, as may be established by the Board of Supervisors.

Members will be entitled to reimbursement of expenses necessitated by their official duties.

3.2 Duties and Authority of the Personnel Commission

A. General. The Personnel Commission provides planning and policy advice to the Board of Supervisors, County Administrator, and Director of Human Resources on all phases of the County's Personnel Program, including the Merit System. The Commission may conduct hearings and investigations. Hearings may include: appeals of examination, selection or classification; grievances; and discipline more severe than five-day suspensions. They may hear appeals of lesser discipline for peace officers as set forth under the Public Safety Officers’ Procedural Bill of Rights.

B. Investigations. When approved by a majority of the Commission, the Commission may investigate any aspect of personnel administration in the County service and make recommendations for improving the quality of administration of the Merit System.

C. Hearings. The Personnel Commission will hear appeals of:

  • Examination, pursuant to PMR 31;
  • Selection, pursuant to PMR 33;
  • Classification, pursuant to PMR 40;
  • Layoffs not based on seniority, pursuant to PMR 48;
  • Disciplinary actions of severity of more than five days suspension, pursuant to PMR 47. They may hear appeals of lesser discipline for public safety officers as set forth under the Public Safety Officers’ Procedural Bill of Rights; and
  • Grievances pursuant to PMR 24.

Additionally, the Personnel Commission will decide issues of unit determination and certification, pursuant to PMR 4, and will conduct hearings whenever requested by the Board of Supervisors regarding any matters of personnel administration.

1. Authority of Commission at Hearings. The Commission will have the power to examine witnesses under oath, compel their attendance, compel production of evidence, issue subpoenas in the name of the County and attested by the Executive Secretary and to deliver subpoenas of current employees at the direction of the Executive Secretary to the Commission. The refusal of a person to attend or to testify in answer to a subpoena will subject the person to prosecution in the same manner as set forth by law for failure to appear before the Board of Supervisors in response to a subpoena issued by the Board of Supervisors and/or be subject to disciplinary action.

2. Commission Deliberations and Determinations. Where the Commission makes determinations after required notice and hearing, and a County department or management is on one side of the issue, and an employee, group of employees, or an employee organization is on the other side of the issue, the Commission will have the following powers:

a. To deliberate in closed session, pursuant to the Brown Act.

b. Upon reaching agreement with respect to a determination requiring findings and conclusions, the Chair or a person designated by the Commission may direct the party determined as prevailing on a majority of the findings and conclusions to prepare a draft of proposed findings and conclusions on the issue.

c. The party directed to prepare a draft of proposed findings and conclusions on the issue will do so within fourteen calendar days of such direction, and will mail a copy of said findings to all parties affected by the decision or their counsel. Any party affected by the decision may, within seven calendar days after the proposed findings and conclusions have been served upon them, serve and file objections to the proposed statement of findings and conclusions.

d. Upon review of the proposed findings and conclusions, the Commission will accept, modify, or adopt them as are satisfactory to the Commission.

3. General Hearing Procedures

a. Authority. Marin County Personnel Commission hearings are convened pursuant to Part 2, Division 4, of Title 3 of the Government Code of the State of California, and section 2.56 of the Marin County Code and other applicable authorities. They are conducted in accordance with the following Commission procedures and guidelines. All parties to Commission appeals are hereby given notice of these procedures.

b. Rules of Evidence. Personnel Commission hearings are administrative hearings governed by rules promulgated by the Commission. Strict rules of evidence attendant to judicial proceedings or to more formal administrative hearings are not binding on Personnel Commission hearings. The sole test for admissibility of evidence, both oral and documentary, at Commission hearings is relevance and materiality. Sustainable objections to offered evidence must therefore be based exclusively on relevance and materiality. The Commission will consider the nature and quality of all admitted evidence and assign due weight in its deliberations.

c. Preliminary and Pre-hearing Conferences. At a meeting prior to the date of the formal hearing, or immediately prior to opening the record on the date of the hearing, the Commission will conduct, as it deems appropriate, a preliminary conference and/or a pre-hearing conference. At these times the Commission will rule as necessary on preliminary or jurisdictional motions, on the parties’ lists of requested witnesses previously submitted in response to the Commission’s notice of hearing, on any and all documents anticipated to be given at the hearing, and on any outstanding subpoena issues.

d. Representation. At hearing, each party has the right to one participating representative as well as one non-participating technical representative, at their own expense. The Commission, at its sole discretion, may have its own counsel present to assist it as the Commission deems appropriate.

e. Open Hearing. The on the record sessions of hearings will be open to all members of the public and media unless in a disciplinary appeal the employee requests a closed hearing. All approved witnesses, except parties to the case, however, will be excluded from the hearing until they have completed their testimony. The Personnel Commission retains the right to close appropriate sessions of the hearing either upon its own motion or upon application from the employee if the Commission determines the circumstances of the case demand a private hearing.

f. Order of Presentation. At Personnel Commission hearings, the party with the burden of proof will proceed first with all aspects of its case in chief to be then followed by the opposing party. There will be an opportunity for a rebuttal presentation by each side upon a ruling by the Commission that to deny such presentations would not be in the interests of justice.

g. Witnesses. Only those witnesses who have been approved for testimony by the Commission at the preliminary or pre-hearing conference will testify. Witnesses, except parties to the case, will be asked to leave the room until their turn to testify. Witnesses may then remain in the hearing room after their testimony is completed, or be asked to return to work in the case of a County employee during working hours. Witnesses testifying will do so under oath or affirmation. Witnesses will take the stand only once at the hearing and will not be subject to recall unless the Commission makes an exception. All questions from both parties will be put while the witness is making that sole appearance. The Commission may, at its sole discretion, examine approved witnesses or call additional witnesses to testify.

h. Documents. Parties must furnish 10 copies of each document they intend to offer at hearings. Admission of any documentary evidence will be subject to Commission rules of admissibility as set forth in 3.2.C.3.b, above.

i. Closing the Hearing. The hearing will be officially closed upon receipt of the parties’ closing arguments, either oral or written. The Commission’s findings and decision will then be issued no later than 15 calendar days after concluding the hearing.

j. Requests to Reschedule. Where a party to the Personnel Commission hearing (department manager, employee, or union) believes a continuance or rescheduling of a scheduled Personnel Commission meeting is necessary, the following procedure applies: The party who desires the continuance or to reschedule the hearing shall contact the other party to the hearing at the earliest practicable opportunity in advance of the scheduled hearing and request that party’s agreement to the continuance.

The party who desires the continuance or to reschedule the hearing shall make such request of the Personnel Commission in writing. Such request shall include the reasons why the party wishes to reschedule, as well as whether the opposing party agrees to the continuance. The request shall be delivered to the Executive Secretary of the Commission (Director of Human Resources) at least 72 hours in advance of the scheduled hearing unless the situation is an emergency. The Executive Secretary of the Commission shall contact the Chair of the Commission for a decision as to whether the continuance is approved.

The party who desires the continuance shall be prepared to proceed on the scheduled date for the hearing notwithstanding the request for continuance unless that party is informed that the Personnel Commission has granted the request for continuance prior to the hearing.

The Chair of the Commission may require the parties to attend the next regularly scheduled meeting or the hearing as scheduled to explain their request to the Personnel Commission and/or to reschedule the hearing.

3.3 Commission Meetings

A. The Personnel Commission will meet at least once each calendar quarter and on the call of the Chair or of three members of the Commission.

B. All meetings will be held in the Administration Building of the Frank Lloyd Wright Civic Center, San Rafael, California, or such other place as may be determined by the Commission.

C. All meetings of the Commission will be open and public except and unless an executive session is legally authorized or as otherwise set forth herein. All persons will be permitted to attend any open public meeting of the Commission.

D. Except as otherwise provided herein, Robert’s Rules of Order will guide the Commission in its proceedings.

E. Three members of the Commission will constitute a quorum and the concurrence of three members present at the meeting will be necessary to take any action.

F. An Agenda with accompanying materials pertinent to items to be brought before the Commission will be in the hands of individual Commissioners at least seventy-two hours in advance of the meeting date.

G. The deadline for communications to the Personnel Commission is established at the close of business seven days in advance of the meeting date. Communications and requests to the Commission, insofar as practicable, shall be in writing. Communications and requests to the Commission should be directed to the Executive Secretary, Marin County Personnel Commission, Human Resources Department, Civic Center, San Rafael, California, 94903. Individuals may personally request time or consideration of any item not on the agenda by the Commission at any meeting during the period designated as Open Time on the agenda or by the Chairperson.

H. The Executive Secretary, or designee, shall record in the minutes, the time and place of each meeting, the names of the Commissioners present, all official acts of the Commission and the vote of the Commissioners. The minutes shall be written and presented for correction and approval at a regular meeting of the Commission as soon as possible. The minutes are public records and shall be open to public inspection.

3.4 Affirmative Action Advisory Committee

A. Establishment. By direction of the Board of Supervisors and action of the Personnel Commission, an Affirmative Action Advisory Committee will be appointed by the Personnel Commission for the purpose of continuous monitoring of the County’s affirmative action program and efforts, the consideration and development of recommendations to the Personnel Commission for policy improvements or specific areas of improvement to enhance the affirmative action program, and to carry out such other responsibilities as the Personnel Commission may assign to the Committee.

B. Term. Committee members will serve two-year terms, and may apply to the Personnel Commission for re-appointment at the end of the term.

C. Quorum. The presence of a majority of the members occupying seats on the committee shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.


Effective Date: January 2005
Revision. No.: 0
Prepared By: Laura Armor

Approved: ss/President, Board of Supervisors