Rule 4: Position Classification

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(a) The classified service will include all positions in the Harris County Sheriff’s Department except those specifically exempted by law.

(b) The unclassified service will consist of the Sheriff of Harris County and any of the following positions that the Sheriff may designate:

  1. the position of Chief Deputy;
  2. one or more positions in the office of departmental legal counsel; and
  3. additional positions in the department; not to exceed twenty-five (25) in number, that have been determined by the Civil Service Commission to be administrative or supervisory positions; provided, however, that the sheriff may not designate as exempt any position in the deputy classifications of captain or below. The designation of any such additional exempt position by the sheriff shall not diminish the number of positions within the deputy classifications of captain or below.


(a) The classification plan for classes of positions in the Harris County Sheriff’s Department, with such amendments as may be made thereto from time to time, will constitute the “classification plan” for positions in the department.

(b) The classification plan for the administration of the Civil Service System in the Harris County Sheriff’s Department, including the number of positions of each classification, will be approved by the Sheriff, Harris County Commissioners Court, and the Civil Service Commission. Such classification plan will be on file in the office of the Civil Service Commission.


(a) The Sheriff and his staff will develop and maintain a description or specification for each class in the classified service.

(b) Class specifications describe the positions and the duties, authority, and responsibilities of employees assigned to positions in each class. In determining the class to which any position will be allocated, the class specification will be considered in its entirety in relation to other classes in the classification plan and will be used as a guide to the assignment, direction, and control of the work of any employee; in passing upon the eligibility of candidates for the positions; in evaluating qualifications of applicants; and in determining the relation of classes to each other.

(c) A class is a position or a number of positions with duties sufficiently similar that:

  1. The same descriptive title may be used to designate each position in the class.
  2. The same level of education, experience, knowledge, ability, and other qualifications may be required of incumbents.
  3. The same schedule of compensation should apply with equity under substantially the same employment conditions.

(d) Any requirements or special qualifications for the class, including but not limited to license, educational achievement or legal qualifications, will constitute a basis for acceptance or rejection of applications for the class and for the evaluation of the qualifications of applicants. In the event that such qualifications are not specifically stated in the class specifications, but do exist in state or county laws or ordinances, they will have the same effect as if they had been set forth in the specifications.

(e) The class specifications in the classification plan will have the following force and effect:

  1. They are descriptive and explanatory and are not restrictive.
  2. The use of a particular expression or illustration as to duties, qualifications, or other attributes will not be held to exclude others not mentioned, if such others are similar in kind or quality, nor limit the power of the Sheriff to modify or alter the detailed tasks involved in the duties of any positions.
  3. When substantial change of duties is made, except for a temporary period or by the addition of duties that are incidental to the main employment, such change will be reported to the Sheriff with a view to possible reclassification of the position.


(a) The Sheriff, after consulting with the Civil Service Commission, will allocate each position in the classified service to its appropriate class, placing in each class those positions which are substantially similar in difficulty, responsibility, and character of work as to require generally the same kind and amount of training and experience for proper performance and to justify approximately equal pay.

(b) A new class will be established by the Commission upon recommendation of the Sheriff when it has been determined that the duties and responsibilities of a position or positions, assigned by competent authority are unique in terms of character, difficulty, and responsibility and do not meet the specifications for an existing class.

(c) The Civil Service Commission or the Sheriff has the right to initiate and conduct investigations of positions in the classified service and to propose change in classification when the facts are considered to warrant such action. The Civil Service Commission will submit to Commissioners Court a report with its recommendations on any proposed amendment to the classification plan.


Any employee adversely affected by any classification action may request the Civil Service Commission to review such action. Such request for review will be made in writing within thirty (30) days of notification of such action and will specify the basis for the request. The Civil Service Commission may either amend the classification action or provide the employee with reasons for not doing so. The decision of the Civil Service Commission is final.


(a) Whenever a position is reclassified from one class to a higher class, the incumbent will not continue in the position, except temporarily, unless the incumbent gains eligibility for the new class and receives an appointment thereto in accordance with these guidelines.

(b) Whenever a position is reclassified from one class to a lower class, the incumbent may elect to retain the position in the lower class. If the incumbent declines to remain in the position in the lower class, he may move to a position in that classification under the provisions of Rule 16 relating to reduction in force.

(c) Whenever the title of a class is changed without a change in duties or responsibilities, the incumbent will have the same status in the new class as was held in the old class.

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