A civil servant, also known as a public servant, is a person who provides non-military service to the government and its citizenry. Both a police officer and a fireman can be considered an example of a civil servant. There are almost two million civil servants in the United States.
The Civil Service Commission, or CSC, is an agency that deals with issues concerning civil servants, their employment, and the nature of their work. It is the job of the CSC to regulate hiring and promotions for civil servants. A good analogy would be as follows: if a private corporation or business entity has a human resources department, the City of New York has a civil service commission.
The Civil Service Commission has “quasi-legislative” authority, making and enacting executive decisions and executive acts that affect civil servants. Chapter 35, Section 813 of the New York City Charter, authorizes the Civil Service Commission to hear and decide appeals on cases that fall under Section 50 and Section 76 of the New York State Civil Service Law. In disciplinary cases, the CSC is authorized to hear appeals to cases involving civil servants.
The Civil Service Commission functions like an appellate court for administrative cases, roughly analogous to a court of appeals. Like courts, the Civil Service Commission has the authority to receive evidence, examine witnesses, and hold appropriate hearings.
The CSC is also the entity responsible for administering civil service examinations, and all issues related to them. It has the authority to rule on appeals by individuals who have been disqualified from civil service eligibility lists after participating in civil service exams. Candidates who fall under one or more of the following categories may be disqualified from civil service:
- applicants who have been convicted of a crime
- applicants who have wilfully misrepresented themselves in their application
- applicants who do not meet the established requirements that are a prerequisite for admission to a civil service examination
- applicants who do not meet the established requirements for the position they are applying for
- applicants who have been fired by employers in the private sector due to poor job performance
- applicants who have performed, or attempted to perform, any manner of falsification, deception, or fraud throughout their application process
- applicants who have held civil service positions in the past, that have since resigned, or been dismissed or terminated, due to misconduct or incompetence
- applicants who suffer from a medical condition or disability, which renders them unfit or unable to perform the duties and responsibilities required for the position in question
An applicant may not file an appeal with the CSC if they have been disqualified for a position in civil service that does not require a civil service examination.
Applicants who do not belong to any of the categories above, and believe that the City Personnel Director of the City of New York has wrongfully disqualified them, can file an appeal with the CSC. All appeals must be filed within thirty days of the issuance of the disqualification.