Number: IX.9. 
Date Issued: Dec. 21, 1990
Date Revised:


To identify regulations and policies with respect to placement of current employee at a different salary step to correct an "inequity."


Middle Management Representation Unit - Article 11.3, which provides that if a new employee is placed at step 4 or higher upon ORIGINAL APPOINTMENT, current employees at lower steps in the same job class will be placed at the same step if the Personnel Director determines that such current employees have equal or higher qualifications. (The Personnel Director's determination is final.)

Section 161.g.1.h. of the Personnel Regulations provides that "In the event that a change in statute or other regulations, or some other unusual occurrence shall result in an imbalance between classes or among employees in a class resulting in a hardship to those employees in a particular class, the Board of Supervisors may authorize advances in salary steps....."


  1. It has been the policy of the County Administrative Office and the Board of Supervisors that any requests for advanced step placements in accordance with Section 161 G.1.h. be reviewed and recommended by the Personnel Director. The Personnel Director is to prepare the Board letter for any exception that is recommended.

  2. Any actions taken pursuant to Article 11.3 of the Middle Management Representation Unit MOU or Section 161.G.1.h. of the Personnel Regulations must be prospective; such actions cannot be retroactive.

  3. Inequity or hardship step placement actions pursuant to Section 161.G.1.h. are intended for exceptional circumstances. Implicit in this section is that the basis for the action is some external event beyond the control of a department. While each request will be reviewed on its own merits, this provision is NOT intended to apply in the following cases:

    1. To reverse a conscious decision (e.g., a department hires an exceptionally qualified applicant at step 1 for budgetary reasons, and then later requests placement of the employee at an advanced step for "hardship").

    2. To endorse or ratify a promise made by a manager who had no authority to make such a promise (e.g. a management employee tells an employee that s/he will be promoted to a step which is contrary to a MOU or the Personnel Regulations). In other words, this provision can not be used to endorse the action or commitment by a person who usurped authority not vested in his/her role.

  4. Departments are responsible for weighing any applicant's request for an advanced step upon original appointment in terms of that applicant's experience and qualifications versus those of current employees in the class and the step placement of current employees. It is expected that departments, when requesting advanced step appointments, will take into account the step placement of current employees with like or higher qualifications so that a balance is maintained. Section 161.G.1.h. is not intended to be used to "correct" the effect of action by a department regarding step placement of new employees.

  5. It is not possible to identify all situations where the application of Section 161.G.1.h. would be appropriate. However, one example might be where a change in the salary relationship between two alternately staffed classes (e.g. Typist Clerk I and II) has been implemented, which results in persons who promote after the change being placed at a higher step than persons who promoted before the change.


  1. When the department identifies a case that falls under either of these provisions other than for Mid-Management classes, they will prepare documentation and a memo to the Personnel Director for consideration of application of these provisions.

  2. The Personnel Director will review the request and make a decision regarding the appropriateness of the request.

  3. For Mid-Management classes, the Personnel Director will review the effect of advance step on other positions in that job class.

  4. If appropriate, the Personnel Director will prepare a Board letter requesting correction of the situation, citing the appropriate regulation.

  5. Upon approval by the Board, the department will prepare appropriate personnel transactions to effect the change.