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Merit System Services Program

CalHR is responsible for the administration and management of the Merit System Services (MSS) Program for certain local government employees.  Pursuant to California Government Code sections 19800 – 19811, CalHR ensures that counties receiving federal funds for Social Services and Child Support programs use a merit personnel system for program employees that meets the following six merit principles:     

  1. Recruitment, selection and advancement of employees is on the basis of their relative ability, knowledge, and skills, including open consideration of qualified applicants for initial appointment.

  2. Employees are provided equitable and adequate compensation.

  3. Employees are trained, as needed, to assure high quality performance.

  4. Employees are retained on the basis of the adequacy of their performance, inadequate performance is addressed, and employees whose inadequate performance cannot be corrected are separated.

  5. Applicants and employees are assured fair treatment in all aspects of personnel administration without regard to political affiliation, race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, age, or disability and with proper regard for their privacy and constitutional rights as citizens. This "fair treatment" principle includes compliance with the federal equal employment opportunity and nondiscrimination laws.

  6. Employees are protected against coercion for partisan political purposes and are prohibited from using their official authority for purposes of interfering with or affecting the result of an election or a nomination for office.

​Program History

​CalHR assumed responsibility for this program under the Governor's Reorganization Plan Number One of 2011.  Currently CalHR contracts with Cooperative Personnel Services (CPS) HR Consulting to audit and provide services to counties.

The State of California adopted Local Agency Personnel Standards (LAPS) to implement Government Code Sections 19800 -19811. Of the 58 California counties, most are authorized to administer their own personnel systems for program employees based on CalHR's review and approval of their personnel management system. These counties are often referred to as Approved Local Merit Systems (ALMS) counties. These ALMS counties are periodically audited to ensure that they continue to be in compliance with LAPS.

The remaining counties comprise the Interagency Merit Systems (IMS) counties.   Through CalHR, CPS provides technical human resources support and services to these counties to ensure they adhere to LAPS standards. 

​Program Transition Information

​CalHR MSS Contact Information

​If you have any questions regarding MSS appeals or converting to an ALMS county,  contact​
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