A Look Back in History: The SFPUC and Civil Service

Since its establishment by the 1932 City Charter, the SFPUC has enjoyed a national reputation among public utilities for the professionalism of its staff, and as a leading enterprise agency of the City and County of San Francisco. It has often led the way in expanding equal employment opportunities for women and minorities within San Francisco’s Civil Service system.

Applicants taking a July 1951 Civil Service Exam for positions with the SFPUC.

In recent years a major focus of its work has been the creation of innovative model programs, with an emphasis on development of employment and career path opportunities for local residents, especially for youth and members of underserved communities.

A fundamental strength that sustains the vitality and prosperity of a city is the creative energy, hard work, and skill of its employees. Since its creation in the Reform City Charter of 1899 the San Francisco Civil Service Commission has overseen the development of an expansive merit system for the City and County of San Francisco. Its first meeting was on January 5, 1900 and the first competitive examination was held on January 8, 1900. San Francisco has the oldest civil service system west of the Mississippi.

The Civil Service Commission establishes rules and interprets policies, reviews and audits merit system operations, approves contracting-out based on the scope of services, and conducts training and outreach on the merit system. It hears appeals on examinations, eligible lists, minimum qualifications, discrimination complaints, and other merit system matters.