Personnel Board of Jefferson County

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The Personnel Board of Jefferson County operates and manages a merit hiring system for most governments in Jefferson County. The board, which has three members, is headquartered in the 2121 Building at 2121 8th Avenue North. The board's civil service system administers approximately 10,000 jobs for 23 municipal governments and county agencies. It also trains and develops employees and manages wages and benefits.

The board was created in 1935 to centralize the evaluation of public service job candidates. The board's three members are appointed by a Citizens Supervisory Commission.

In the 1970s the board was sued by the Ensley branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and other plaintiffs alleging discriminatory hiring practices. By order of a federal judge, the board began operating under consent decree in 1981. The board was found in contempt of the decree in 2002 and placed under complete federal control.

Since September 1, 2004 it has required all applications to be filed electronically.

The current chairman of the personnel board is Buddy Smith. The agency's director is Lorren Oliver.

During its 2008 session the Alabama legislature passed a bill to dissolve the Personnel Board and its supervisory commission and replace them with a 7-member commission comprised of elected officials and representatives of civil service employees. The legislation, proposed by the Jefferson County Mayor's Association passed unanimously in both houses. Critics claim it puts civil workers at the mercy of politics. One group of workers filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging an amendment to the law requiring two of the board members to be African American. The City of Birmingham filed a request to dismiss the suit because of the ongoing need for "race-based remedial measures." In September 2008 U. S. District Court judge Lynwood Smith nullified the law and ordered the 3-member existing board to remain in place.

Member governments and agencies

References

  • Wright, Barnett (December 12, 2007) "Jefferson County Commission support bill to expand personnel board." Birmingham News
  • Wright, Barnett (December 19, 2007) "Jefferson County personnel board wants end to federal court order after 26 years." Birmingham News
  • Stock, Erin (May 9, 2008) "Bill would dissolve Jefferson County Personnel Board." Birmingham News
  • Walton, Val (June 20, 2008) "Birmingham supports new law requiring black members be appointed to new Jefferson County Personnel Board, asks federal judge to deny challenge." Birmingham News
  • Walton, Val (September 12, 2008) "Judge rules new personnel board law unconstitutional." Birmingham News