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3.1 Principal Administrative Appointments

Manual: Exemption Procedures

Subsection: Principal Administrative Appointments

Principal Administrative Appointments (PAA) are considered exempt from civil service guidelines in accordance with section 36e(3) of the Act. A PAA is defined as an employee who is charged with high level administrative responsibilities, whose decisions are based on administrative polices and who exercises discretion and independent judgment. A PAA performs these duties with only general administrative supervision or direction, e.g. Director, Associate or Assistant Director. In addition, a PAA can be defined as an employee who is in a position requiring knowledge of an advanced type in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction and study (as distinguished from a general academic education) and which requires the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment, e.g., physician, attorney, engineer, architect.

The Act specifically provides that the Merit Board has the authority to determine PAAs at each institution or agency. Section 250.30(a) of the Code further defines the Merit Board’s responsibility in this regard, which provides, in part, “Exemptions under Section 36e(3) of the Statute shall be by position. When approved by the Merit Board, a position shall remain exempt until such exemption is terminated by the Merit Board. The Director shall publish guidelines for such exemptions, as approved by the Merit Board.”

Accordingly, position standards have been developed for a number of frequently used general titles assigned to these PAAs. These position standards function in a similar manner to civil service classification specifications. Job duties and responsibilities, as contained in the PAA position description, are analyzed and assigned to a general PAA title if they match the primary functions and major duties and responsibilities identified in the position standards.

When the position standards for these general PAA titles were developed, great care was taken to insure that they accurately described the types of work and responsibility assigned to each general PAA title previously, while at the same time, remaining broad enough to encompass future positions that may be appropriate under each general PAA title. As in any classification plan, there may be some overlap between current civil service classification specifications and the position standards under certain general PAA titles. It is important to remember that there was never any intent to permit or condone the conversion of traditional civil service jobs to exempt status merely by virtue of the fact that the position duties and responsibilities may appear to correspond to the general function statement of any PAA title. The prominence of position duties and responsibilities must directly correspond to the position standards contained in the general PAA title used in order to validate the exemption.

Any position to be exempted from civil service under section 36e(3) of the Act that may be appropriately assigned to one of these general PAA titles may be exempted without prior approval from the University System office. However, all PAA positions are subject to audit by the Audit and Advisory Services of the University System office and possible Merit Board review.

Employers must categorize each PAA under one of the available general PAA titles. Likewise, the use of a working title for each PAA position, to further compliment the general PAA title, is encouraged and may assist in more detailed position identification and distinction.

See 3.1a for examples of approved 36e(3) titles and corresponding position standards.

Following are the approved 36e(3) position titles:

Assistant Director
Assistant To
Associate Director
Executive Assistant to President/Chancellor
Executive Director
Physician, Attorney, Engineer, Architect

(Reference section 36e(3) of the Act (110 ILCS 70/36e(3))
Issued 6/1/2009