The Commission provides for classification of over 500 civil service employees and for open and competitive examinations at both entry and promotional levels. The Commission may also review the suspension, removal, or discharge of civil service employees and will investigate such actions, hold public hearings, and reinstate employees, if justified. The Commission is staffed by the Human Resources Department of the City of Bellingham in its role as the administrator of the City's Civil Service System.
The Commission oversees and approves the Civil Service examination and eligibility processes for City employment. It also reviews hiring practices and conducts formal and informal hearings related to employee discipline. The Commission's decisions are guided by a fairly complex system of written regulations under State law mandate. Some of the work of the Commission is highly confidential.
Meetings are typically held on the second Wednesday of each month at 1:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall. Time required for meetings each month may be anywhere from a one and one-half hour regular meeting to a two day disciplinary hearing. Meetings average approximately three hours. About one hour is needed outside of meetings to study the agenda. See Meetings and Events for currently scheduled meetings.
The Commission consists of five members. Terms of office are five years and no compensation is paid to members of this Commission. Members are appointed by the Mayor with majority approval of the Council. Two must be appointed from the uniformed and non-uniformed union's recommendations. No Commissioner shall be an officer or employee of the City. Individuals with expertise in personnel management and employee relations are particularly well suited for Commission work. Experience working in a Civil Service, governmental system is also beneficial. Every member of the Civil Service Commission shall be a citizen of the United States, a resident of the State of Washington for at least 3 years and Whatcom County for at least 2 years previous to their appointment.