Classified Civil Service

Classified positions are divided into four jurisdictional classifications:

  • Competitive: consists of those positions in which competitive examinations are held, lists established and appointments are made from certifications of the lists
  • Non-competitive: includes positions that are not practical to fill by competitive examinations, but rather by the candidate’s qualifications compared to the qualifications established for the positions in the specification standard; these positions are typically filled through internal promotions of current employees
  • Labor: positions in this class are filled by nomination of the appointing agency
  • Exempt: class of policy making, confidential positions for which filling positions by competitive or non-competitive examination is not practical

Competitive positions at SUNY Oneonta require candidates to take an exam for that specific job title. Jobs are then filled from the list of candidates who have successfully taken an exam for that specific job title. The minimum passing score is 70, and results are usually available in 90-120 days. Visit the Glossary of Titles Inquiry Tool for a glossary of New York State job titles, including information about jobs in specific state agencies and jobs in specific geographic locations.

Exam Announcements


A transfer is the movement of a permanent competitive class employee from a position in one title to a position in a different title, or from a position in one agency to a position in another agency. Both positions must be within the competitive class, and can be to the same or lower salary grade, but cannot be to a title that is more than two (2) salary grades higher than the current title. Transfers between agencies are voluntary and occur with the consent of the employee after nomination by the appointing agency and the approval of the Department of Civil Service. Approval by the agency from which the employee is transferring is not required in order for the transfer to occur, except in the case of transfers within SUNY Oneonta. There are three different kinds of transfers: Sections 70.1, 70.4, and 52.6. Review the requirements and determine your eligibility.

Helpful New York State Civil Service Links

Guide for new SUNY Oneonta Classified Employees:

Acceptor: individual on eligible list willing to accept appointment

Appointment: act of naming a person to fill a position

ASU: Administrative Services Unit; includes titles such as Office Assistant, Secretary, Program Aide

Band Scoring: groups raw scores into a limited number of ranges within which all candidates are assigned the same final score and deemed equally reachable (developed and executed by Civil Service)

Canvass: inquiry to learn whether those who appear on an eligible list are interested in appointment

Certification/Certified List: names of candidates interested/eligible for an appointment to specific positions in a title class

Classify: to group positions according to the similarity of duties and responsibilities and assign a class title; reclassify is to change the title of an existing position based on a change of duties and/or responsibilities

Eligible: candidate who has passed an exam and whose name appears on a certified list

Open Competitive (exams): open to all individuals regardless of state employment status

OSU: Operational Services Unit; includes titles such as Cleaner, Laborer, Maintenance Assistant, Plant Utilities Engineer

Promotional/Transition (Exams): open to state employees only

Provisional Appointment: non permanent appointment to a competitive class position when there is no viable eligible list

Reachable: The status of an individual on an eligible list who ranks high enough to be legally appointed; one of the three top scorers willing to accept appointment

Rule of Three: legal provision that appointments must be made from among the 3 highest ranking candidates willing to accept the position

The Department of Civil Service classifies all titles into four jurisdictional classes:

Non Competitive: includes positions for which it is not practical to ascertain merit and fitness by competitive exam
Ex: General Mechanic, Painter, Motor Vehicle Operator

Competitive: includes positions for which it is practical to determine merit and fitness by way of competitive exam
Ex: Office Assistant, Secretary, Supervising Janitor

Labor Class: includes positions for which competitive tests are not practical because of the unskilled nature of duties
Ex: Cleaner, Laborer, Maintenance Helper

Exempt Class: positions that are not practical to fill by tests of any kind; no minimum training or experience is required for these positions; only a small percent of the State workforce is in this class

Be sure to sign up for electronic exam announcements

Read each notice carefully to determine the minimum requirements to take the test, and to be considered eligible for appointment from that list

  • Notices also include the scope of the exam

Sign up for all relevant sections

  • Ex: Office Assistant 1 is one exam, with different sections. Each Section is used to create a different list (ex; Office Assistant 1 (Stores/Mail), Office Assistant 1 (Keyboarding), etc.

Exams for certain titles are given about every 2-4 years or at the discretion of Civil Service

  • Continuous recruitment exams are conducted more frequently for specific titles, ex: Plant Utilities Engineer.

After the exam select the locations from which you want to receive canvasses by logging in to your Civil Service account.

  • Through your account, you can also manage your contact information and manage your list preferences
  • You will only be canvassed for the locations you have selected (refer to Civil Service Area Definitions)

Failure to respond to a canvass letter will result in your name being removed from the list for that specific title in that specific location

The back side of the canvass letter provides some guidance as to how to respond

  • To remove a declination caused by not responding to a letter, simply email Be sure to include the title and location of the position declined and request that the declination be removed.

“RI” inactivates you for ALL titles filled from list (all agencies, all locations)

“DP” and “LU” are considered declinations (same as not responding at all or late)

“DU,” “PU” and “DS” affect your preferences

Additional information on Canvass Responses on a Canvass Letter

All candidates at the highest score are immediately eligible for consideration for appointment. Those at lower scores can be considered only when there are less than 3 candidates at higher scores willing to accept appointment.

  • Civil Service requires that the highest 3 scores be sent to the hiring manager for consideration. Starting with the highest scorer, count down until there are at least 3 acceptors.
  • Candidates’ eligibility for appointment depends on their ranking (all eligible who are in the same score band are considered equally ranked), but also how many other candidates are ties at that ranking or higher.
Example 1


Number of Candidates at This Score











Since there is only one acceptor at the three highest score bands, all three are considered equally ranked. These would be the only candidates considered for appointment. Should one decline an interview or offer of employment, the next score band could be considered.

Example 2


Number of Candidates at This Score











Since there are at least 3 acceptors at the highest score, lower scores are not considered. All of those within the score band of 100 are considered equally ranked and therefore are all considered eligible for appointment. If less than 3 accept interviews, scores of 95 can be considered. All individuals within that score band would be considered equally ranked, and therefore eligible for appointment.

Employment Opportunities sends the application materials of those who are eligible for appointment to the hiring manager for consideration, and the hiring manager determines which applicants will be invited for interviews. To stand out as an applicant, it is suggested that a cover letter and resume be included when applying for a position.

The Civil Service Career Mobility Office provides a number of helpful tools on their website including:

  • Step by step resume building tools, including templates, worksheets, webinars and sample resumes to help you build a professional resume
  • Tips for interviewing, including sample questions and what to expect during the interview
  • Career Mobility information regarding all Civil Service Titles and which State agencies employ them, and career ladder and merit system information
  • Visit Career Mobility Office’s Understanding the Merit System page to connect with all of these resources, webinars and more!

Vacancies are posted and canvassed typically concurrently

  • Canvasses are applicable to competitive class positions only

Current SUNY Oneonta employees may apply for internal vacancies by:

  • Applying via canvass letter for competitive vacancies or internal promotion/transfer form if eligible
  • Applicants for non competitive and labor class positions should apply using the internal promotion/transfer form
    • Form is available in Employment Opportunities, Rm 236 Netzer Administration Building
  • Applying to the internal job posting:
    • Applicants applying for a 52.6 or 70.4 transfer should apply using the internal promotion/transfer form
      • Section 52.6 transfer: transfer between administrative titles at the same salary grade (SG)
        (ex: Secretary 1 SG-11 in Office A, to Secretary 1 SG-11 in Office B)
      • Section 70.4 transfer (2-step jump): eligible employees in the administrative unit may apply for promotional opportunities within 2 salary grades. Ex: Office Assistant 2 SG-9, to Secretary 1 SG-11
        • Current appointment must be from a canvass letter in order to be eligible
        • This can be done for every other appointment. This means that if a position is achieved with a 2-step, the next promotion must be achieved with appointment from a canvass; the next promotion can then be achieved with a 2-step jump and so on.

When in doubt, you have resources available to help you:

On the SUNY Oneonta Campus:

  • Employment Opportunities, 236 Netzer, (607) 436-2581: The Employment Opportunities team coordinates recruiting for Civil Service positions on campus, including canvasses and postings; this is also the office where canvass letters and applications are obtained and returned.

New York State Department of Civil Service:

*information source:

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