The Civil Service system was established to insure the maintenance of a merit personnel system to recruit, employ, promote and retain qualified persons for employment with the City of Pittsburgh. Since the passage of the General Civil Service Act in 1907, it has been the responsibility of the Civil Service Commission to prescribe, amend, implement, administer and enforce the philosophy of merit employment as mandated by the Civil Service Statutes. Accordingly, the initial "department" that handled all personnel related matters was called the Civil Service Commission. Pursuant to the Statutory language there were three Commissioners, a Secretary and Chief Examiner, and ancillary staff that handled the Civil Service testing services and other statutory requirements. In 1939 the Firemen's Civil Service Statutes were adopted and in 1951 the Policemen's Civil Service Statutes were adopted.
Many changes have occurred since 1907 in the area of public employment including the passage of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, as amended, and the Pennsylvania Public Employee Relations Act of 1970. The Civil Service Commission, with approval of the Mayor as required by statute, has adopted and revised Civil Service Rules which preserve the principles of the merit system while being responsive to equal opportunity employment and sound labor-management relations.
In 1978 the Pittsburgh Code of Ordinances, Article XI: Personnel, Chapter 180 - Personnel Administration, was established. This Ordinance created the executive department to be known as the Department of Personnel and Civil Service Commission, who is under the charge of a Personnel Director. The Code stipulated that The Personnel Department shall include the Civil Service Commission as provided in Section 2 of the General Civil Service Statute.
Over time, The Department of Personnel and Civil Service Commission expanded its core services with the addition of Payroll & Benefits Administration, Safety, Training & Development, and management of the City of Pittsburgh's Workers' Compensation Program and oversight of the City's Workforce Investment Area providing job training services to city residents. The Department of Personnel and Civil Service Commission currently is the thread that weaves through all City of Pittsburgh departments: from recruitment and selection, payroll and benefits, policies and procedures, training and development, workforce safety initiatives, employee wellness programs, employee retention, and to an eye on future trends in the personnel and human resources arena.