A Review of the Governor’s Reorganization Plan to Unify and Streamline the California State Personnel System

Report #206, June 2011


The Little Hoover Commission on Thursday recommended that the Legislature allow the Governor’s Reorganization Plan to go into effect that would unify state personnel functions under a new California Department of Human Resources (CalHR).

The Governor’s proposal would move several functions of the State Personnel Board and the Department of Personnel Administration to the new department. Among the changes:

  • The Department of Personnel Administration would be folded into CalHR, with the expectation that the State Personnel Board would transfer staff involved in day-to-day transactions and document review into the new department.
  • The agencies’ joint effort to modernize the state’s human resources efforts, HR Mod, would become a central mission of the new department.
  • The function of hearing employee complaints related to gender and racial discrimination would shift to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing from the Personnel Board.

The Personnel Board would continue to exercise its Constitutional authority related to changes in probation periods and classifications, disciplinary actions and merit-system disputes over hiring and promotions.

The Commission’s recommendation is based on testimony given at its June 2, 2011, public hearing as well as past Commission studies that examined the state’s civil service system. The Commission long has called for eliminating the overlapping roles of the Department of Personnel Administration and the State Personnel Board.

Though the reorganization plan does not fully consolidate the state’s personnel system, the Commission recognized the potential of CalHR. “The plan is a good first step,” Little Hoover Commission Chairman Daniel Hancock said. “It lays the foundation for a more unified human resources strategy to improve the state’s hiring practices and training programs as a significant portion of the workforce begins turning over.”

By statute, the reorganization process calls for the Little Hoover Commission to review each Governor’s Reorganization Plan and make an advisory recommendation to the Legislature. If the Legislature takes no action, the reorganization goes into effect. The plan can be rejected by a majority vote in either house. Barring a resolution against the proposal, the plan would take effect July 1, 2012.
The Little Hoover Commission is a bipartisan and independent state agency charged with recommending ways to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of state programs. To obtain a copy of the Commission’s report on Governor’s Reorganization Plan #1, contact the Commission or visit its Web site: www.lhc.ca.gov.

Proposed by: Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.

Objective: Consolidate functions of the Department of Personnel Administration and State Personnel Board into a new California Department of Human Resources.

Commission recommendation: Allow plan to take effect.

Legislative Action: Under implementation, SB 1308.