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Difference Between Civil and None Civil Departments


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  • Difference Between Civil and None Civil Departments

    So I am graduating from a four-year college in about a year and starting to look at different departments. One thing that they don't teach in college is the difference between Civil and no Civil departments. Any insight on the two would be much appreciated.

    Thanks beforehand!

  • #2
    I assume you mean civil service.

    In theory, civil service jobs (initial hiring and promotion) are awarded to the best qualified candidate. Salaries and benefits are regulated by law or if you are in a union, collective bargaining. Once you pass your probationary period you achieve a "liberty interest" in your job, which is much like owning a piece of property. You may not be reprimanded, reduced in pay, suspended, demoted or fired without just cause and without being afforded a hearing to defend your rights. There are many other rights that come with the job that are too many to list here. They key is, it to protects you from political influence or interference in the performance of your duties, to prevent cronyism and prevent corruption.

    In a non civil service or "At will" agency, you serve solely at the pleasure of the appointing authority. You may be hired, demoted or fired for any reason or for no reason. This allows for undue influence on officers who may comply with unethical request in order to keep their jobs. It also allows for cronyism. I remember working with a Lieutenant with a Sheriff's Department on a matter, but after the local election and a new Sheriff was in office, he was demoted to Detective. Some newly elected officials throw everyone out and hire their own new staff. Almost 100 years ago, my grandfather went from Fire Department Captain, to Police Sergeant, to graveyard watchman because there was no civil service service in his town and as new people were elected to city positions, he moved from one level of political favor to another.

    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere


    • stevenehlert
      stevenehlert commented
      Editing a comment
      yes thank you! I appreciate you taking the time to explain.

  • #3
    One last thing I forgot to mention.

    One of the duties of civil servants is to carry out legal mandates (follow the law). Sometimes doing this is contrary to public opinion and individuals, segments of the community or once in a while entire communities will want your job (and your head) for carrying out the very task they are paying you to do. This is something we are seeing more frequently. An officer will arrest someone for an act that is clearly a serious violation of the law, or engage in a use of force that, within the law, is clearly justified. Nonetheless, large segments of the community disagree philosophically with his actions and want him fired.

    One of the basic purposes of civil service is to protect government employees from such abuses by the public, as you can only be disciplined if it is shown your conduct violated the law, a department policy, or an order of a supervisor. .However, under an "At Will" system, your job could be offer up as a sacrifice to please an angry public, just to ensure a politician will be reelected during the next cycle.

    Your best protection is to stay with a civil service agency.
    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere


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