Report 2011-131 Recommendation 1 Responses

Report 2011-131: City of Vernon: Although Reform Is Ongoing, Past Poor Decision Making Threatens Its Financial Stability (Release Date: June 2012)

Recommendation #1 To: Vernon, City of

To increase accountability and transparency in its governance, the city should ensure that specific reforms are appropriately implemented. Specifically, it should develop an implementation plan containing sufficient detail to establish the activities and coordination required to successfully implement an alternative new employment system so that its nonunion employees are no longer at-will employees of the city council.

1-Year Agency Response

On March 5, 2013 (effective April 4, 2013), the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 1202, which established a Personnel Merit System to replace the previous at-will system. The Personnel Merit System centralizes hiring and other personnel administration authority with the City Administrator and requires the development of a Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual. Under the Personnel Merit System, appointments and promotions are made on the basis of merit demonstrated through appropriate examination or other evidence of competence, with due regard for equal opportunity in employment. Resolution No. 2012-231 (11/20/12) adopted a Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual that included the following policies: Requesting and Recruiting for Personnel (I-2); Testing, Certification, and Eligibility Lists (I-3); and Acting/Interim Appointments (I-4). Resolution No. 2013-42 (3/19/13) added the following policies to the Manual: Terms of Employment (I-1); Probation and Training Periods (I-6); Secondary Employment or Business Activity (I-7); and Employee Separation (I-8). All policies are posted on the Human Resources Department page of the City's website ( The Director of Human Resources and City staff are currently meeting with all six recognized bargaining units in the City on additional policies that are proposed to be included in the Manual.

  • Completion Date: March 2013
  • Response Date: July 2013

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

6-Month Agency Response

The city council approved a resolution in November 2012 adopting the use of a citywide Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual—which was only partially complete—for use with the planned personnel system ordinance. The city indicated that it planned to seek approval of its proposed personnel system ordinance in February 2013. The city also indicated that its human resources director would continue to develop personnel policies and procedures for incorporation into the manual after city council approval.

  • Response Date: January 2013

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

The city did not provide a timeframe for completing this recommendation.

60-Day Agency Response

The city indicated that its human resources director and city attorney, who were both recently appointed, will review and recommend civil service procedures, but it has not provided detail on the steps it intends to take to develop these procedures. (See 2013-406, p. 190)

  • Response Date: August 2012

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

All Recommendations in 2011-131

Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.