Report 2015-132 All Recommendation Responses

Report 2015-132: County Pay Practices: Although the Counties We Visited Have Rules in Place to Ensure Fairness, Data Show That a Gender Wage Gap Still Exists (Release Date: May 2016)

Recommendation for Legislative Action

To ensure that counties consistently monitor pay disparities between male employees and female employees, and to ensure that counties perform these reviews and publicly report their findings, the Legislature should amend state law to require counties to periodically compare, by specific classification, the differences in total average compensation between male and female employees.

Recommendation for Legislative Action

To ensure that counties consistently monitor pay disparities between male employees and female employees, and to ensure that counties perform these reviews and publicly report their findings, the Legislature should amend state law to require counties to publicly report to local decision makers those classifications for which the differences in total compensation is significant, further indicating which county pay policy or policies contributed to the variance and whether any modifications are needed to reduce the disparity.

Recommendation for Legislative Action

To ensure that counties consistently monitor pay disparities between male employees and female employees, and to ensure that counties perform these reviews and publicly report their findings, the Legislature should amend state law to require that the California Department of Human Resources ensure that counties perform these periodic gender-based pay equity reviews during its audits of each county's compliance with state-mandated civil service rules.

Recommendation for Legislative Action

If the Legislature desires that counties be able to demonstrate that their hiring decisions for civil service positions are based on objective and job-related criteria, it should amend the state law to require that each county document the reasons why it chose the selected candidate over others from the certified eligibility list.

Recommendation for Legislative Action

To ensure that the general public and legislative decision makers have readily available data on male and female employees' compensation, by specific classification and public employer, the Legislature should direct the State Controller's Office to obtain information on the sex of each public employee reported on the Government Compensation in California website.

Recommendation #6 To: Fresno, County of

To ensure that they consistently demonstrate that candidates are hired for permanent civil service positions based on valid and job-related criteria, regardless of their sex, each county should develop policies requiring hiring managers to document the reasons why they chose the selected candidate over others from the certified eligibility list.

1-Year Agency Response

Since the last update, further changes were made to the Personnel Rules to implement recommendations. There was a delay in moving this forward primarily due to some staff turnover in the department. The County has since filled vacant positions, including our Labor Relations Manager. Making changes to any of our Personnel Rules will require meeting and conferring with eighteen (18) different Bargaining Unit Groups, and taking the item before the Board of Supervisors for final approval before addition to the rules can be implemented.

A meeting with Bargaining groups will be scheduled to discuss proposed changes to the Personnel Rules. Human Resources plans to take the changes to Board of Supervisors for approval before the end of the calendar year.

Human Resources is also working on a Personnel Resources Manual and training to provide direction on how to implement the new proposed language in Personnel Rule (PR) 4211 and (PR) 4221.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 12/31/17
  • Response Date: June 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Pending


6-Month Agency Response

Since the last update, several meetings were held with our County Counsel to obtain legal recommendations for the usage of appropriate and valid job related comments relative to the qualifications of each eligible candidate's interview. This will allow the County to balance the concerns referenced in our response.

Upon further review, some of the proposed changes impact our Personnel Rules. Making changes to any of our Personnel Rules will require meeting and conferring with eighteen (18) different Bargaining Unit Groups, and taking the item before the Board of Supervisors for final approval before addition to the rules can be implemented.

A meeting with Bargaining groups will be scheduled to discuss proposed changes to the Personnel Rules. Human Resources plans to take the changes to Board of Supervisors for approval no later than April 1, 2017.

Human Resources is also working on a Personnel Resources Manual and training to provide direction on how to implement the new proposed language in Personnel Rule (PR) 4211 and (PR) 4221.

  • Estimated Completion Date: April 1, 2017
  • Response Date: December 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending


60-Day Agency Response

As referenced in the response letter from the County of Fresno dated May 6, 2016, concern was expressed with the practical application of this recommendation as it related to balancing the benefit of hiring managers documenting why they hired certain individuals and did not hire others compared to the potential increased liability of adverse comments concerning unsuccessful candidates. At the time of the draft report, the County of Fresno did not have the benefit of reviewing the other County's referenced in the audit. It was noted in the final report that the County of Santa Clara was the only County who instructed its hiring managers to document why individuals who were interviewed were or were not selected for employment. County of Fresno staff have now had the opportunity to review the County of Santa Clara's instructions as documented in the Santa Clara HR Procedures Manual (pages 10-16). The County is in the process of reviewing and drafting clearer guidelines for hiring managers and training to address this issue. It is expected that this will result in the creation of guidelines and forms to help hiring managers. Additionally, the County will be working closely with Counsel to navigate concerns already noted but to address the recommendation specifically. It is anticipated that, pending Counsel's opinion, the County will respond to partially or fully implement the recommendation. Anticipated Completion Date: October 31st

  • Estimated Completion Date: 10/31/16
  • Response Date: July 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


Recommendation #7 To: Los Angeles County

To ensure that they consistently demonstrate that candidates are hired for permanent civil service positions based on valid and job-related criteria, regardless of their sex, each county should develop policies requiring hiring managers to document the reasons why they chose the selected candidate over others from the certified eligibility list.

1-Year Agency Response

Los Angeles County disagrees with the recommendation to require hiring managers to document final hiring decisions. In consideration of adopting this recommendation, we reviewed the practices of many other counties in California and found that most do not require documentation of final hiring decisions. Los Angeles County does not intend to implement this practice.

The County believes that the documents and process currently required in hiring decisions provide sufficient evidence that selections are based on valid and job-related criteria and collectively, they provide our appointing authorities with sufficient information to articulate the reason for the selection of a particular candidate.

Additionally, the County affords candidates with an appeal process to ensure that the hiring selections are fair and merit-based.

  • Response Date: June 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Will Not Implement

We disagree with the County's response and stand by our recommendation. As we stated on page 35 of our report, the Los Angeles County's merit system rules do not require that hiring managers document their rationale for selecting a particular individual over other eligible candidates from a certified eligibility list and thus, we could not evaluate 41 of the 51 hiring decisions we reviewed at the county. As we stated on the same page, understanding each county's hiring rationale is critical to evaluating whether county employers are treating men and women equally based on objective and job-related criteria.


6-Month Agency Response

Los Angeles County disagrees with the recommendation to require hiring managers to document final hiring decisions. In consideration of adopting this recommendation, we reviewed the practices of many other counties in California and found that most do not require documentation of final hiring decisions. Los Angeles County does not intend to implement this practice.

The County believes that the documents and process currently required in hiring decisions provide sufficient evidence that selections are based on valid and job-related criteria and collectively, they provide our appointing authorities with sufficient information to articulate the reason for the selection of a particular candidate.

Additionally, the County affords candidates with an appeal process to ensure that the hiring selections are fair and merit-based.

  • Response Date: November 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Will Not Implement

We disagree with the County's response and stand by our recommendation. As we stated on page 35 of our report, the Los Angeles County's merit system rules do not require that hiring managers document their rationale for selecting a particular individual over other eligible candidates from a certified eligibility list and thus, we could not evaluate 41 of the 51 hiring decisions we reviewed at the county. As we stated on the same page, understanding each county's hiring rationale is critical to evaluating whether county employers are treating men and women equally based on objective and job-related criteria.


60-Day Agency Response

Los Angeles County disagrees with the recommendation to require hiring managers to document final hiring decisions. In consideration of adopting this recommendation, the Department of Human Resources reviewed the practices of many other counties in California and found that most do not require documentation of final hiring decisions. Los Angeles County will not implement this practice at this time.

The County believes that the documents and process currently required in hiring decisions provide sufficient evidence that selections are based on valid and job-related criteria and collectively, they provide our appointing authorities with sufficient information to articulate the reason for the selection of a particular candidate. Additionally, the County affords candidates with an appeal process to ensure that the hiring selections are fair and merit-based.

  • Response Date: July 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Will Not Implement

We disagree with the County's response and stand by our recommendation. As we stated on page 35 of our report, the Los Angeles County's merit system rules do not require that hiring managers document their rationale for selecting a particular individual over other eligible candidates from a certified eligibility list and thus we could not evaluate 41 of the 51 hiring decisions we reviewed at the county. As we stated on the same page, understanding each county's hiring rationale is critical to evaluating whether county employers are treating men and women equally based on objective and job-related criteria.


Recommendation #8 To: Orange County

To ensure that they consistently demonstrate that candidates are hired for permanent civil service positions based on valid and job-related criteria, regardless of their sex, each county should develop policies requiring hiring managers to document the reasons why they chose the selected candidate over others from the certified eligibility list.

1-Year Agency Response

The Recruiting Team and HR Managers were trained on the new requirements in January 2017. The recruiting team meets with each hiring authority to review the required documentation (i.e. valid job related criteria) required for candidate selection. The recruiting team will not accept an incomplete selection form and/or move forward with a formal job offer until the proper documentation is received.

The supporting documentation (revised form) was submitted with the six-month response.

  • Completion Date: February 2017
  • Response Date: June 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented

Orange County's Selection Interview packet includes a disposition/interview selection sheet and space for the interviewer to provide their comments regarding the candidate and whether they recommend (or not recommend) selecting the candidate. The packet also provides the interviewer with example language to include in the selection sheet (including a list of 'appropriate' and 'inappropriate' job-related responses that the interviewer should consider including when evaluating the candidate). Further, in January 2017, the county recruiting team and HR managers received training on the new hiring requirements at their monthly staffing meeting.


6-Month Agency Response

The County has revised the requirement of the disposition/interview selection sheet to include comments supporting the outcome of each candidate, selected and not selected, prior to a job offer. Recruiters will review the criteria with the hiring authorities at the time the referral packet is distributed. Example verbiage has been added to the referral packet for guidance as specific comments will now be required. Recruiters will be trained on the updated process by January 31, 2017.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 02/01/17
  • Response Date: December 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending


60-Day Agency Response

The County has hiring standards for all of its positions. Each job bulletin sets forth the qualifications for the position and the selection process incorporates a formal referral/interview process. This process includes the dissemination and explanation of the Selection Interview Packet (submitted by email) which includes the EEO/DFEH Guidelines. The County will revise the requirement of the disposition/interview selection sheet to include comments supporting the outcome of each candidate, selected and not selected, prior to a job offer. Recruiters will review the criteria with the hiring authorities at the time the referral packet is distributed. Example verbiage will be included in the referral packet for guidance.

  • Estimated Completion Date: December 31, 2016.
  • Response Date: September 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


Recommendation #9 To: Santa Clara County

To ensure that they consistently demonstrate that candidates are hired for permanent civil service positions based on valid and job-related criteria, regardless of their sex, each county should develop policies requiring hiring managers to document the reasons why they chose the selected candidate over others from the certified eligibility list.

60-Day Agency Response

The County of Santa Clara already requires hiring managers to provide the reasons why one candidate is selected over others from the certified eligibility list. In fact, the report cites Santa Clara County's policies in this regard as establishing a best practice to limit counties' risk against discriminatory employment practices. As this policy has already been implemented, no further action is necessary.

The County of Santa Clara follows the Merit System Rule A25-184(d), which requires, "The appointing authority or designated interviewers shall interview all eligible candidates who have responded to notice of certification prior to appointment, and shall send to the Personnel Director a written record of each interview." This rule is also stated in the Human Resources Practices Manuel, page 104, with the response to the following question, "Must reasons for selecting or not selecting a candidate on the list be indicated? Yes. Appropriate, job-related reasons for hiring decisions must be indicated. If an applicant who was not hired contests the selection, there must be very specific reasons listed for that decision. Limit all comments to job-related, reference-related reasons. (A25-184(d))" As this policy is already in place, no further implementation is necessary.

  • Completion Date: May 2016
  • Response Date: July 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #10 To: Fresno, County of

To ensure that they can readily monitor gender-based pay equity complaints and reliably evaluate how often such complaints are filed by its employees, each county should develop tracking mechanisms that allow management to reliably determine how often these complaints occur and whether there are patterns of complaints that pertain to specific county departments or classifications.

1-Year Agency Response

The County acknowledged and agreed with the recommendation regarding the development of better tracking mechanisms for monitoring gender-based pay equity complaints and have initiated exploration of the most efficient method to accomplish the desired outcome. The framework of a centralized database of complaints was built as part of the response to this audit. The process of responding also reinforced the County's agreement with having these complaints centralized in one place.

The County created a central log that is sortable and can be filtered to show only specific types of complaints (e.g. gender-based wage equity) thereby allowing the user to identify the nature/type of complaints, patterns in a department, etc. The Discrimination Complaint Form has been revised to include the categories suggested in the Audit. A memo was sent to all County departments April 13, 2017 announcing the new central tracking mechanism along with a revised standard internal discrimination complaint form.

  • Completion Date: May 2017
  • Response Date: June 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented

In April 2017, Fresno County issued an inter office memo to all department heads announcing its new central tracking mechanism and a copy of the revised standard internal discrimination complaint form. The discrimination complaint form provides instructions regarding how to file a discrimination complaint and the nature of the complaint—including basis of the complaint (for example, 'Sex/Gender', among others) and the type of adverse action (for example, 'Denial of Promotion' and 'Wages', among others). The County also provided an example of its discrimination complaint tracking log.


6-Month Agency Response

We propose the following:

Require all Departments to submit a copy of all Discrimination Complaints received to Department of Human Resources, Labor Relations division, so that centralized tracking may occur

o Departments will be encouraged to model their internal discrimination complaint forms after the newly revised, County Counsel-approved standard form (sent under separate cover) to ensure uniformity in reporting

o Labor Relations will utilize newly revised, County Counsel-approved, confidential tracking log (attached) to record relevant complaint information obtained from the discrimination complaint form. This will help to identify quantity of complaints, nature/type of complaint, patterns, etc.

o Departments will be responsible for submitting a copy of complaint results to Human Resources, Labor Relations division

o Labor Relations division will follow up on outstanding results of complaints

o In order to implement the above proposal, the following would need to occur:

o Establish communication with departments that process is being revised to include the following department requirements.

o Labor Relations Division will need to do the following:

- Update Discrimination Complaint Tracking log when copies of complaints are received from Departments or County Counsel

- Review log on a regular basis and follow up with departments to ensure that results of complaints (award letters, resolutions, etc.) are submitted to Human Resources

- Update Discrimination Complaint Tracking log with complaint results (award letters, resolutions, etc.)

- Monitor log for patterns, trends, etc. in complaints

We feel that the above process addresses and complies with the recommendations set forth by the State Auditor. Data gathered by other Counties further supports the proposed approach of utilizing a universal claim form for reporting, and a confidential tracking log maintained in Human Resources.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 01/31/2017
  • Response Date: December 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending


60-Day Agency Response

The County acknowledged and agreed with the recommendation regarding the development of better tracking mechanisms for monitoring gender-based pay equity complaints and have initiated exploration of the most efficient method to accomplish the desired outcome. The framework of a centralized database of complaints was built as part of the response to this audit. The process of responding also reinforced the County's agreement with having these complaints centralized in one place. The County has discussed conceptual models as to the best way to accomplish this recommendation. This process has included consideration as to who should have access to the database and exactly how it should be used. It is expected that this will result in recommendations to change some policies and increase coordination between County Counsel and Human Resources. Anticipated Completion Date: December 31st

  • Estimated Completion Date: 12/31/16
  • Response Date: July 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


Recommendation #11 To: Los Angeles County

To ensure that they can readily monitor gender-based pay equity complaints and reliably evaluate how often such complaints are filed by its employees, each county should develop tracking mechanisms that allow management to reliably determine how often these complaints occur and whether there are patterns of complaints that pertain to specific county departments or classifications.

60-Day Agency Response

Los Angeles County agrees with this recommendation and in May 2016 completed the necessary system enhancements to begin tracking gender-related pay and promotional complaints. The County's Policy of Equity Program includes a complaint intake unit as well as an investigations unit, where each unit has a separate database for tracking complaints and investigations. New categories were added to each of these databases to reliably track complaints that fall into the categories of gender-related pay and promotional disparities.

Reports from each of these databases covering the period between May 2016, when the enhancements were implemented, and July 2016, have been sent to Ralph Flynn at ralphf@auditor.ca.gov, as supporting documentation for this update.

  • Completion Date: May 2016
  • Response Date: July 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #12 To: Orange County

To ensure that they can readily monitor gender-based pay equity complaints and reliably evaluate how often such complaints are filed by its employees, each county should develop tracking mechanisms that allow management to reliably determine how often these complaints occur and whether there are patterns of complaints that pertain to specific county departments or classifications.

6-Month Agency Response

The attached form was developed to specifically track gender-based pay equity complaints as well as allowing better tracking of all other types if discrimination complaints. The form allows the County the capability of tracking each of the fields in the form to produce the require reports at regular intervals, monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc. Any existing forms have been removed from access to employees and replaced by the attached. Employees will be required to use the attached form when filing a complaint.

  • Completion Date: December 2016
  • Response Date: December 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Fully Implemented

Orange County revised its Equal Employment Opportunity discrimination/retaliation complaint form to address our recommendation and track gender-based pay equity complaints. This form now includes 'Gender Discrimination/Sex' as one of the basis for the alleged discrimination and also includes a section to indicate if the discrimination includes 'Pay', 'Promotion' or both 'Pay and Promotion' as a basis for the alleged discrimination.


60-Day Agency Response

The current EEO compliant form will be revised to provide an option for a complainant to make a specific allegation regarding wage/gender discrimination. A tracking system will be designed to track such complaints by position, agency and/or department. We anticipate the revised EEO complaint form will be made available on line to employees in the next 30 days.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 10/31/16
  • Response Date: July 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


Recommendation #13 To: Santa Clara County

To ensure that they can readily monitor gender-based pay equity complaints and reliably evaluate how often such complaints are filed by its employees, each county should develop tracking mechanisms that allow management to reliably determine how often these complaints occur and whether there are patterns of complaints that pertain to specific county departments or classifications.

6-Month Agency Response

The County of Santa Clara Equal Opportunity Department has developed and implemented (as of August 2016) a relational database that tracks gender complaints and specific harms such as compensation, denied promotion, differential treatment and disparate impact, which allows each Equal Opportunity Officer to identify the specific type of gender complaint. A screen shot of the database was forwarded to Ralph Flynn. In addition the database tracks by Department or Classifications to help identify any patterns.

  • Completion Date: August 2016
  • Response Date: December 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Fully Implemented

We reviewed the information provided by Santa Clara and believe the system developed by the county adequately addresses our recommendation.


60-Day Agency Response

The County of Santa Clara Equal Opportunity Division is currently developing a relational database that will track gender complaints and specific harms such as compensation, denied promotion, differential treatment and disparate impact, which will allow each Equal Opportunity Officer to identify the specific type of gender complaint. A screen shot of the database will be forwarded.

  • Estimated Completion Date: November 2016
  • Response Date: July 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


All Recommendations in 2015-132

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.


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