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Los Angeles Community College District Personnel Commission

Its Inconsistent Practices and Inadequate Policies Adversely Affect District Employees and Job Candidates, Leading to Concerns About the Fairness of Its Decisions

Report Number: 2020-111

May 6, 2021

The Governor of California
President pro Tempore of the Senate
Speaker of the Assembly
State Capitol
Sacramento, California 95814

Dear Governor and Legislative Leaders:

As directed by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, my office conducted an audit of the Los Angeles Community College District's (District) Personnel Commission (Commission). The Commission establishes and administers the District's merit system for classifying, hiring, and promoting nonacademic employees. The following report details how the Commission's inadequate policies and practices led to inconsistent qualification decisions, inconsistent examination scoring, and delayed compensation for employees performing duties beyond their job classifications (higher-level duties).

The Commission's duties in administering the examination process include screening applicants for minimum qualifications, overseeing raters who score candidates' examinations, and compiling ranked lists of candidates for District interviews. However, the Commission made inconsistent decisions when screening examination applicants because it failed to define or disclose the definition of key terms it used in these decisions and used past applications and outside information sources inconsistently. It also lacks sufficient guidelines for scoring examinations, and some raters did not adequately justify the scores they gave candidates. We identified scoring inconsistencies for nearly one-third of the candidates we reviewed, a pattern that directly affected some candidates' abilities to get job interviews and increased the risk that the District did not interview and hire the most qualified candidates.

We also found that the Commission's practices failed to ensure prompt compensation for employees performing higher-level duties. As a result, in five of the six cases we reviewed, employees did not receive payment until five to 11 months after they began performing those duties.

To help the Commission alleviate District employees' concerns about inconsistent practices and unfair application of its rules, it should alter certain policies and increase transparency. For example, it should provide additional information about why applicants are disqualified, how it defines terms used in minimum qualification requirements, and how employees may request intermittent payments for performing higher-level duties.

Respectfully submitted,

California State Auditor