Civil Service Commission

The Civil Service Commission manages a merit-based system for jobs within city government. This system focuses on:   

  • Recruiting applicants
  • Employing qualified applicants
  • Promoting employees
  • Retaining those employees

The commission considers equal opportunity employment. The commission is also responsible for sound labor-management relations   

Civil Service Commission Members   

Cynthia N. McCormick - President
Luca Murphy Giorgi - Commissioner
Linda Johnson-Wasler - Commissioner

Authority, Power and Duties 

The Civil Service Commission has the authority to amend and enforce the culture of merit employment for the CIty of Pittsburgh. Many changes have occurred since the General Civil Service Act in 1907 in public employment. This includes the passage of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, and the Pennsylvania Public Employee Relations Act of 1970.  

Application & Selection Process

1. Submitted applications are reviewed by Personnel Analysts when the application period ends to determine the eligibility of each applicant. An applicant determined not to be eligible can appeal the decision to the Civil Service Commission.  

2. Some positions require a Civil Service exam  

  • Applicants who meet the minimum requirements will be scheduled for the examination.  
  • Those who pass the examination will have their name added to the Civil Service Eligibility List for the position. 

3. Those who are determined eligible for a position that does not require a Civil Service exam will have their names added to the Eligibility List.

  • Hiring managers use both eligibility lists to select candidates to interview and/or hire.  
  • Many City of Pittsburgh positions are covered under union collective bargaining agreements and therefore union employees may be given first consideration to some positions and/or be contractually obligated to some positions.  

Application Tips

  • Carefully review the recruitment information to see if you are qualified and eligible to apply for a desired position.   
  • Check the application deadline for the position.   
  • Don't wait until the last minute to request, complete or submit your application.    
  • Review the application first.   
  • Carefully and thoroughly complete it.   
  • An incomplete application may not be processed.   
  • A resume may supplement but is not a replacement for the required employment application.   
  • If the position requires City of Pittsburgh residency at the time of filing an application, you will need to affirm your residency within the City of Pittsburgh when you submit the application.   
  • If hired, verify your City of Pittsburgh residency prior to your start date. 

Civil Service Test Tips  

Not all City of Pittsburgh positions require a Civil Service examination. Review our current jobs at the Online Employment Center. If a position requires a Civil Service examination it will be specified and a candidate preparation guide for the exam will be supplied online. Be sure to print out the candidate preparation guide after you apply for the position.  

  • Make sure that you are well rested.  
  • Leave early to go to the testing site.  
  • Give yourself at least 30 extra minutes to arrive at the testing site to ensure that you arrive on time, calm and unhurried.  
  • Please note that if you arrive late at the testing site, you will not be permitted to take the examination.  
  • Listen carefully to all testing instructions.  
  • The computer will not be able to assign your examination score to you if you fill in your identification number incorrectly on your answer sheet.  
  • The computer may have difficulty reading your answers if you do not complete your answer sheet according to the directions. 
  • Listen for instructions about how much time you will be given to complete the examination and what to do when you are finished with it. 
  • Ask your proctor if you have any questions about the exam.  
  • Pace yourself during the examination.  
  • Try to save some time at the end of the examination to review your responses and to check your answer sheet to be sure that you have not missed any questions.  

Good luck on your next Civil Service examination!  

Residency Requirement and Verification 

Employment with the City of Pittsburgh requires that employees live within the boundaries of the city. The Department of Personnel & Civil Service Commission will accept the following documents to verify legal residence:  

  • Current executed Lease Agreement (Include a canceled check for one month's payment or the security deposit).  
  • Month-to-month leases require employees to verify with the Department of Personnel monthly that the lease has been maintained or when new residence is established. 
  • Mortgage payment booklet (document identifying homeowner name and property address).
  • Title to property  

Two of the following documents, showing the city address, must also be presented:  

  • Vehicle registration card  
  • Vehicle insurance card  
  • Current gas bill  
  • Current electric bill  
  • Current telephone bill  
  • Current cell phone bill  
  • Current cable bill  

*a letter from the representative company confirming it is establishing service for the new resident is acceptable.  

Prior to purchasing or renting a place of residence, applicants and employees may call to verify that the property is located within the City of Pittsburgh:  

Department of Personnel and Civil Service Commission  


CSC Appeal Process

The Eligibility Appeal Process

The City of Pittsburgh's Civil Service system is charged with ensuring that all Civil Service jobs are filled with qualified and able employees. The cornerstone of the system is due process. All applicants for Civil Service jobs have the right to be considered for employment, and have the right to a formal eligibility appeal if the City finds that they do not meet the minimum requirements for the job. This eligibility appeal process, called a public hearing, requires the City to explain why an applicant was not considered for Civil Service employment and provides applicants with the opportunity to prove why they should be reconsidered for employment.

Eligibility public hearings are firmly rooted in City of Pittsburgh employment policies. The State legislature declared in the 1907 General Civil Service Act that any applicant who is not permitted to take a Civil Service examination or who is deemed ineligible for a Civil Service job has a right to a public hearing. This provision was adopted in Chapter 180 of the City's Code of Ordinances.

The appeal process is not complicated but it does require applicants to follow the procedures outlined below.

Who is eligible for an eligibility public hearing?

Any Civil Service job applicant who receives an ineligible letter.  Ineligible applicants are those who the Civil Service Commission determines have not met the advertised job's experience and/or education requirements. 

In addition, specific disqualified applicants are those who may meet the experience and education requirements but will not be considered because of criminal history, deception, or other applicant acts. These disqualified applicants are also eligible to appeal to the Commission. 

Please note that a criminal record does not necessarily disqualify an applicant from a Civil Service job.

How is the eligibility public hearing process started?

The Commission will notify applicants of employment ineligibility by mail. If the ineligible applicant desires a Civil Service public hearing to appeal the determination, they must request the public hearing in writing within ten calendar days of the date of the Commission's letter. The Commission will then inform the applicant by mail of the scheduled public hearing date and time.

*Failure to meet the ten day requirement may result in the Commission's denying the request.*

How does the public hearing work?

Civil Service ineligibility and disqualification public hearings are typically scheduled for Thursday mornings in Room 445 of the City-County Building. The atmosphere is judicial. The applicant may bring legal  representation.

The Commission first hears testimony from City officials detailing the reasons for the ineligibility or disqualification, then the applicant presents testimony as to why he or she indeed meets the experience and education requirements. Each party, the City and the applicant, may present witnesses and exhibits, and each party may question the other party.

All of the testimony is transcribed by a court reporter.

How do I learn of the public hearing results?

The Commission will either announce its decision after all of the public hearings that day or will study the case and announce its decision at a later time. In either event, the Commission will inform the applicant of the decision by mail.

Can the Commission's decision be appealed?

Applicants who disagree with the Commission's decisions may appeal to a body beyond the Civil Service Commission. Depending on the nature of the case, the applicant may appeal to one of the following systems: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations, directly to the courts (or potentially another system).

Although the public hearing process may seem complex, you should be aware of at least two things: applicants for Civil Service have a right to a public hearing, and Personnel Department staff will be pleased to assist you with the process.

If you need any help with the appeal process, call us at 412-255-2384.

Position Classifications

According to the General Civil Service Act (Statute) Section 7, there are two “service” types of positions for Cities of the second class in PA.

  1. Unclassified Service
  2. Classified Service

Unclassified Service

  • All officers elected by the people (Mayor, Controller, Council Members)
  • All heads of departments, whose appointment is subject to confirmation by the select council thereof
  • Members of Civil Service Commission
  • All persons appointed by name in any statute

Classified Service – CSC Rules and Regulations apply to this service type

  • All persons not included in the unclassified service
    • Exempt Classification - According to CS Rule XIV Section 2 Exempt positions will include positions where the duties and responsibilities cannot be measured by competitive or non-competitive examinations for reasons including but not limited to the policy making responsibilities of the position, the management level of the position, or personal characteristics such as honesty, integrity, and other attributes not measurable by examination, or the position may be in a program which is funded for a limited time making the term temporary or seasonal.
      • Superintendent of Police, Chief of the Fire Department (All Chiefs – BBI, EMS)
      • One Secretary and one confidential clerk to the Mayor
      • One confidential clerk to the director of each executive department
      •  All other positions, so classified, based on the General Civil Service Act Section 12 and as listed in Rule XIV Section 3.
    • Competitive Classification – All new positions in the classified service are placed into the Competitive Class and the positions may then be reclassified to Exempt or Non-Competitive according to CS XIV or Rule XIII Section 2 respectively.  Competitive positions are ones whereby the duties and responsibilities can be measured adequately by competitive examination.
      • Police Officer Recruit
      • Police Sergeant
      •  Police Lieutenant
      • Firefighter Recruit
      • Fire Lieutenant
      • Fire Captain
      • Fire Battalion Chief
      • Fire Deputy Chief
    • Non-Competitive Classification – According to CS Rule XIII Section 2 Non-Competitive positions will include but are not limited to:  positions that are supervisory, administrative, technical nature of the duties and responsibilities that cannot be measured adequately by competitive examination, other comparable positions previously classified as non-competitive, and a position in the labor agreement which provides for promotion based upon factors including seniority which are not feasible in the competitive classification.
    • Labor Classification – Ordinary labor type positions.
      • Laborers
      • Animal Controllers

NOTE:  The Unclassified Service and Exempt (Classified Service) are both “Non-Career.”

Meetings and Public Hearings

The Civil Service Commission holds regularly scheduled meetings once per week in the Department of Personnel and Civil Service Commission.  Regularly scheduled meetings are typically on Thursdays at 8:00 AM. All meeting dates/times are posted publicly in the Personnel boards in the Department of Personnel and Civil Service Commission.  The Commission’s responsibilities at the meetings are to carry out the prescribed duties, in accordance with the General Civil Service Act (1907, May 23, P.L., 206 as amended). 

On numerous occasions, the Commission hold public hearings with employees, applicants for employment, Department Directors/Bureau Chiefs, union officials, etc.  These hearings include appeals from the actions of the various Department Directors/Bureau Chiefs, appeals regarding applicant eligibility and conferences during which matters relating to the work of the Commission are discussed.

All public meeting and public hearing minutes are public documents and are available by contacting the Commission’s Secretary and Chief Examiner at 412-255-2384.

Documents & Reports

Pursuant to Section 6 of the General Civil Service Act (1907, May 23, P.L., 206 as amended), the Civil Service Commission is required to develop and distribute an annual report to the mayor showing its own actions and rules and regulations.

Hard copies of the report are available to the public from the Department of Personnel and Civil Service Commission.  Please call 412-255-2384 for more information.

Statutes & Rules

The printed Civil Service Statutes and Rules publication is comprised of the following:

  • The General Civil Service Act (1907, May 23, P.L., 206 as amended)
  • The Firemen’s Civil Service Statute, 1939, June 27, P.L., 1207 as amended
  • The Policemen’s Civil Service Statute, 1951, August 10, P.L., 1189, as amended
  • The Rules of the Civil Service Commission – City of Pittsburgh