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Career Executive Assignment Delegation

Career Executive Assignment Delegation

The California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) is actively working on a variety of streamlining efforts, one of which is the Career Executive Assignment (CEA) delegated process. In cooperation with both internal and external stakeholders, CalHR has developed new procedures that allow departments to manage more of their own CEA programs. These new procedures provide departments greater flexibility while improving efficiency and maintaining accountability.


Delegation is granted through a CEA Delegation Agreement between the department's executive management and CalHR. This CEA Delegation Agreement defines the reporting requirements, responsibilities, obligations, and expectations of the department. As part of streamlining efforts, CalHR is assuming a more consultative role with departments, which replaces the position-by-position control that CalHR has historically exercised over departments.


Departments that have signed a formal CEA Delegation Agreement with CalHR will have the authority to:


  • Establish new CEA's through the new CEA Action Proposal process

  • Make major/minor revisions to existing CEA concepts

  • Determine appropriate levels for existing CEAs

  • Set existing CEA salaries within an established salary cap


New CEAs

The establishment of new CEA positions was delegated to departments on January 1, 2016. PML 2015-038 provides details regarding changes to the new process for establishing and significantly revising Career Executive Assignment (CEA) allocations.


In line with Civil Service Improvement efforts, effective January 1, 2016, California Code of Regulations, title 2, Section 548.5(a), departments that want to establish a new Career Executive Assignment (CEA) position or significantly revise the concept of an existing CEA position must submit to the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) a CEA Action Proposal to be posted on CalHR's website for public notice for 30 calendar days. If no opposition is filed during the 30-day period, the proposed CEA concept will be established without a hearing by the five-member State Personnel Board (SPB). If a valid opposition is submitted timely, then the CEA Action Proposal will be calendared for hearing by SPB, which will determine whether th proposal meets the criteria for inclusion in the CEA category as defined by Government Code Section 18547:

"Career executive assignment" means an appointment ot a high administrative and policy influencing position within the state civil service in which the incumbent's primary responsibility is the managing of a major function or the rendering of management advice to top-level administrative authority. Such a position can be established only in the top managerial levels of state service and is typified by board responsibility for policy implementation and extensive participation in policy evolvement.


Please note that CalHR will review all new CEA proposals during the 30-day period and if it is determined that the concept does not meet the criteria, CalHR will contact the department to discuss next steps. This typically includes some type of revision to the proposal.


To streamline the process for establishing new CEAs, CalHR has developed a new CEA Position Request - CalHR 881 form, which assists departments in providing all information necessary for CalHR review and public comment period.


Department human resources staff must use the new CEA Position Request form when working with their programs to develop a new CEA position proposal. This new form helps human resources staff to ensure new CEA proposals meet the policy influencing concept of a CEA as required by Government Code Section 18547.


CEA Leveling

Newly established CEA levels must be approved by CalHR. Changes to existing CEA levels are delegated to departments. When making changes to the level of an existing CEA as well as when establishing the level of a new CEA, departments are responsible for using the CEA Position Request - CalHR 881 form. The level of the CEA is determined by the size of the department and the reporting relationship of the CEA.


Effective July 31, 2013, PML 2013-027 | PML 2013-027 - Text Only (RTF). Effective July 1, 2014, CEAs received a General Salary Increase. The CEA salary levels have a minimum monthly salary of $6,453 and a maximum monthly salary of $11,329 for all positions except a few high-level positions requiring licensure as a physician, attorney, or engineer. The salary level is extended to $14,409 for these high-level licensed positions, which occupy the "restricted zone."


Salary Range by CEA Level
Salary Range
Level A
Level B
Level C
Restricted zone
$11,330 – $14,409


Salary Setting and the Salary Cap

CEA salary determinations are delegated to departments. Delegated departments have been given a salary cap based on their existing CEA salaries and projected departmental priorities. Generally the salary cap will not be increased unless there is a general salary increase for CEAs, a new program is added that supports increasing the level of a CEA position, or a new CEA position is established. If a new CEA position is established, CalHR will determine the level,  and the department’s salary cap will be increased by CalHR to accommodate the new CEA position. The salary cap will be reduced if a CEA position is converted to an exempt or civil service position, or if the CEA is abolished.


At the time of delegation, CalHR will calculate the CEA salary cap for each department by adding the number of CEA positions assigned to each level and multiplying them by the maximum salary rate of that level. If a department has a CEA that has been approved by CalHR to be paid over the maximum salary of their approved level, at the time of delegation CalHR will use the CEA’s approved actual base salary for the calculation.


Example Salary Cap Computation

A department has nine CEA positions; four at Level A, three at Level B, one at Level C, and one in the restricted zone. The salary cap calculations will be as follows:


Max of CEA Level A - $9,277 x 4 = $37,108

Max of CEA Level B - $10,703 x 3 = $32,109

Max of CEA Level C - $11,329 x 1 = $11,329

CEA in the restricted zone - $11,597 x 1 = $11,597 (actual base salary)

Total monthly CEA salary cap = $92,143

Total annual CEA salary cap = $1,105,716 (monthly salary cap x 12 months)


CalHR may increase a department’s salary cap when:


  • A new CEA position is established;

  • A new program is added that supports increasing the level of a CEA position; or

  • A pay program is approved for CEAs. (The salary cap should normally be increased by the percentage amount of the pay program. If a different approach is to be taken, directions will be given prior to implementation of the pay program).


A salary cap will not be increased for any other reason. Specifically, after the salary cap has been established by CalHR at the time of delegation, the salary cap will not be increased by CalHR if a department later wishes to pay an incumbent above the appropriate level of their position. Departments will have to manage their CEA pay within their salary cap.


Once CalHR reconciles a department’s CEA roster and sets their salary cap, the department will receive delegation via the CEA Delegation Agreement to administer their CEA program. Departments must not exceed their salary cap at any time and are expected to exercise sound personnel and fiscal management practices for their CEA program.


Reporting Requirements

Once a department’s CEA salary cap has been established, departments are responsible for notifying CalHR of changes to their CEA allocations by submitting a CEA Reporting Worksheet | Monthly CEA Reporting Worksheet - Text Only (RTF) to their Personnel Management Division Analyst and the inbox by the 10th calendar day of the due date. Departments must renegotiate their salary cap when a new CEA position is established.


The CEA Reporting Worksheet must report the incumbent’s name, primary function, position number, position title, approved CEA level, new CEA level, approved salary cap rate (maximum salary of level), current monthly salary and proposed monthly salary. CalHR will use this report to reconcile each department’s salary cap. Departments must submit a “negative response” report even when no changes have been made.


Departments that perform human resources work for other departments must maintain a separate CEA Reporting Worksheet for each appointing authority.


While reporting will be done initially via spreadsheets and email, CalHR eventually plans to launch an interactive website that will provide a more automated means of reporting and monitoring while increasing transparency in the CEA program statewide. More information will be provided to departments as CalHR progresses on the new automated website.


Record Keeping

Delegated departments will develop and maintain, for audit purposes, adequate justifications and appropriate forms for each CEA level increase, salary change, and new CEA position. The following list will assist departments in ensuring they are maintaining the proper documentation of their CEA program changes.


  • CEA Position Request - CalHR 881 (used by departmental human resources staff for each new or revised CEA)

  • Duty Statement (current and proposed for the CEA’s program or area of responsibility)
  • Organizational Chart (current and proposed for the CEA’s program or area of responsibility)

  • Executive Organizational Chart (high-level chart showing only CEAs and Exempts in relation to each other, with levels)

  • CEA Reporting Worksheet | Monthly CEA Reporting Worksheet - Text Only (RTF)

  • Analysis comparing other CEA positions to the proposed CEA position or level (optional)


Monitoring and Auditing

CalHR will monitor each department’s CEA positions via reports from the State Controller’s Office and rosters on an ongoing basis. Departments will be notified immediately if discrepancies are found.


CalHR and the State Personnel Board (SPB) will also review departmental CEA programs as part of SPB’s Compliance Review and/or CalHR’s HR Review.


Any questions about CEA delegation should be addressed to the department’s assigned Personnel Management Division analyst at CalHR.


  Updated: 6/1/2016
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