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New law allows California counties to hire CIOs as at-will employees

Chief investment officers in all California counties could be now appointed outside the civil service system pay scale limits and civil service protections, according to a new California law.

The civil service system delineates salary ranges for each job classification and a process for terminating employees. At-will employees can be terminated at any time without cause or prior notice.

The legislation authorizes county boards of retirement or both the retirement and investment boards to appoint at will chief investment officers and assistant administrators, not subject to county civil service or merit system rules. Before the bill passed in July, the administrator in all California counties and CIOs of only Kern, Marin, Sacramento, San Diego and San Joaquin counties could be appointed at will.

The new law, which becomes effective Jan. 1, applies to any county in which the board of supervisors for that county adopted a resolution by majority vote to make those provisions applicable in the county.