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About Government Operations Agency

The Government Operations Agency was created on July 1, 2013, as part of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s government reorganization plan No. 2, and was approved by the Little Hoover Commission in May 2012 and the Legislature in June 2012. 

GovOps now consists of 12 departments, boards and offices, up from 9 in 2013:

  • California Complete Count Office
  • Office of Administrative Law
  • Department of General Services
  • Department of Human Resources
  • Department of Fi$Cal
  • Franchise Tax Board
  • Department of Tax and Fee Administration
  • Department of Technology
  • Public Employees’ Retirement System
  • State Personnel Board
  • State Teachers’ Retirement System
  • Victim Compensation Board

GovOps’ mission is to improve management and accountability of government programs, increase effectiveness, and promote better and more coordinated operational decisions. Over the past five years, GovOps has worked with its departments and across state government on initiatives that modernize government processes to improve effectiveness and make the state an employer of choice.

Our Accomplishments

GovOps’ projects have included using open data to drive innovation and improve performance, revitalizing management training, focusing on user-centered design, increasing sustainability and updating our civil service system. Together, all of these efforts have created a California state government that strives to work for its employees and those it serves.

Civil Service Improvement (CSI)

The goal of the Civil Service Improvement initiative is to produce a modern human resource system that will allow state departments to find and quickly hire the best candidates through a fair and merit-based process. Departments will be able to systematically determine their workforce needs and will be equipped to train and develop their employees to maximize their individual potential to better serve their departments’ mission.

An improved civil service system will produce a capable and engaged state workforce that is able to adapt to new challenges in serving the people of California, and will reflect the diversity of the population it serves. This improved civil service system will make California an employer of choice, not only for people who want to make a career of public service but also for those who want to make public service a chapter of a broader career. Essential to creating this environment is cultivating a leadership culture committed to developing and inspiring employees to achieve great results.

Managers will be supported in this effort with modern online tools and programs to recruit, track and develop employees throughout their careers in state service. Potential employees will be able to use modern tools to submit applications to all positions for which they qualify. Applicants seeking state jobs will be able to easily assess what careers exist in state government, what positions match their skills and interests, and what available openings fit that profile.

These changes will allow departments to be more efficient and responsive in the hiring process. Once hired, employees will be properly on-boarded, and taught critical information about their departments and job duties, so that they are positioned for success and can contribute immediately. Employees will have opportunities to learn new skills and will earn recognition for doing good work. As opportunities and new technologies emerge, employees will have clear paths for upward mobility and continued professional development. Ensuring that employees bring value to their work and that their work adds value to the lives of Californians supports employee engagement and attracts motivated candidates. The test of the system’s success will be in its ability to get the right people in the right jobs at the right time, and ensuring they have the tools and work processes to complete high quality work.

The Civil Service Improvement initiative has achieved successes through both legislation and the regulatory process. Some of the key accomplishments include:

Reduction in Number of Civil Services Classes

The state has reduced 1,063 classes by abolishing 901 classifications that had been vacant for two years and eliminating 162 as result of class consolidation. The CSI effort to eliminate unused classes began in June 2014 prior to SPB implementing the regulation in 2016.

Changed Regulation: CCR Title 2, Division 1, Chapter 1, Article 2, Section 90

List of Abolished Classes:

Major IT class consolidation was approved by the State Personnel Board and consolidated 36 current state IT classifications into nine new classes, affecting more than 10,000 state employees.

This establishment of a much needed and new data analyst classification was accomplished by absorbing dozens of research analyst classes. This new class should help departments hire and develop employees with the skills to analyze data from program operations for improved decision making and better outcomes. This new class provides a career path in state service for those with data analytic skills.

Career Executive Assignment (CEA) Rules Changed

Laws governing career executive assignments were modified to allow the appointment of external job applicants and streamline the process for employees returning to state service after separation. This change benefits job seekers who are new to state service as well as those who are returning from other employment.

Changed Law: SB 99, Chapter 322, Statutes of 2015

Implementation: PML 2015-031

Limited Examination and Appointment Program (LEAP)

LEAP is an alternate examination and appointment process for the recruitment and hiring of individuals with disabilities into state service. Effective June 2016, the law was modified to: eliminate the probation period and merge LEAP and non-LEAP lists to eliminate pre- identification of LEAP candidates, with the goal of reducing discrimination against persons with disabilities in the hiring process while at the same time increasing job opportunities and the number of LEAP hires.

Changed Law: SB 848, Chapter 35, Statutes of 2016

Implementation: PML 2016-028

Eliminated the six-month Vacant Position Rule

Originally, Department of Finance eliminated positions that had been vacant for six consecutive months. Managing this process contributed to an onerous number of staff hours throughout all departments. CSI eliminated this law, recognizing that it did not contribute to effective workforce planning, drove unnecessary use of resources, and provided no value to Californians.

Changed Law: SB 99, Chapter 322, Statutes of 2015

Implementation: Budget Letter 15-22

Created the Human Resources (HR) Credentialing Program

This program was created to recognize seasoned HR professionals (available to HR and Equal Employment Opportunity practitioners with more than three years of experience) and is a vehicle for professional growth for HR professionals. The program provides professional recognition, career advancement, continuous learning, and development of future HR professionals. So far more than 175 individuals have received one or more credential, including one who received all eight. In addition, over 500 credentialing exams were held with another round scheduled for December 2018.

Implementation: PML 2016-019

Created New Employee Orientation Information and Onboarding website

A new employee website was created to provide new state employees’ information about employer benefits, forms to complete, and union information and employee rights. A new onboarding manual was completed in November 2016 and posted to CalHR’s website to offer a consistent approach and help departments’ effectively onboard new staff. Employer onboarding programs have a positive impact on engagement, productivity, job satisfaction and retention.  

Human Resources Roundtables

GovOps has hosted two human resources roundtables, bringing together HR leaders from private sector entities to talk about pressing issues for both the private and public sectors. The audiences for these events were selected state government HR leaders who are helping to reshape California’s civil service system. The roundtables resulted in collaborations and initiatives to help the state in its civil service improvement efforts.

Employee Engagement Survey

GovOps conducted the first-ever statewide Employee Engagement Survey with the goal of discovering more about state employees’ level engagement with their jobs. Results showed that employees most agreed with the statement “I believe my work makes a difference in the lives of Californians” and least agreed with the statement “I receive recognition for doing good work.” Identifying these strengths and weaknesses has been a critical and necessary step in guiding the work of our Civil Service Improvement teams.

CalHR has since developed a broader survey tool and has started administering the surveys for departments. Engagement measures commitment and can be a proxy for resilience and willingness to engage change. We encourage the continuation of regular surveys so CalHR can aggregate results for agencies and departments to develop action plans for leaders to implement.

Survey Results:


Implementation: PML 2016-013

IT Apprenticeship Program

GovOps, in partnership with the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, the U.S. Department of Labor, Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Apprenticeship Standards, the Department of Technology, Community Colleges, CalHR and SEIU Local 1000, developed the first IT Public Sector Apprenticeship Program in the country in July 2017. Three pilot cohorts are underway; the most recent has added the use of digital badges. New partnerships are developing with higher education to enable the apprentices to earn industry-recognized IT certifications. There is high demand for the program; hundreds apply for each cohort. This program incorporates the CSI objectives to provide other upward mobility opportunities, increase the use of training and development assignments, improve gender pay equity, develop apprenticeship programs, and partnerships with higher education. The apprenticeship program will provide the state with a talent pipeline to fill IT vacancies and provides employees with upward mobility opportunities as it prepares them for higher level positions. The apprentices receive on-the-job training, free training at a local college, boot camp sessions, and industry-recognized IT certifications. 

Prison to Employment

GovOps is working with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Prison Industry Agency, CalHR, Caltrans, DGS, and other state departments on a pilot that provides opportunities for inmates to find a job with a living wage before they are released. Civil service training and testing is being delivered as a pilot for men, women, younger inmates that are part of the youthful offender program, and those who are part of community re-entry programs. Having a job waiting for parolees provides a salary and an incentive to transition into a civil service career while helping the state recruit for hard-to-fill jobs.

LinkedIn Pilot Program

GovOps worked with 14 departments to launch a pilot with LinkedIn to innovate statewide recruitment by using social media. The Office of System Integration at Health and Human Resources Agency is one of the participating departments and used LinkedIn to market its first ever job fair with more than 250 participants. The departments are receiving more interest from qualified applicants. So far, this pilot has generated thirty state hires for hard-to-fill vacancies.


GovOps and CalHR partnered with Marine Corps Installations West (MCI West) and multiple state departments to identify recruitment barriers for members of the armed services transitioning out of active duty through Camp Pendleton in San Diego, CA. To increase the number of veterans hired into state jobs, CalHR updated its website to provide active duty members and veterans a Military Skills Translator to help them better match their military occupations to state classifications.  CalHR has also worked with CalVet to incorporate state hiring content into their Transitional Assistance Program, which is available to all branches of Military. The California Department of Water Resources has provided on-site apprentice exams for the hydroelectric plant (operator, electrician, and mechanic) and utility craftsworker, and both the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and California Prison Industry Authority have conducted rapid hiring events that also involve the administration of hiring assessments onsite.  The Veterans Preference Waiver Form was developed to allow active duty members participating in the MCI West Transitional Assistance Program (TAP) to receive veterans’ preference on state examinations prior to being discharged from the Military.  Once successfully piloted with MCI West, these new programs will be expanded to additional locations.

Eliminated Outdated Examination Rules

Effective September 2015, three hiring certification rules were eliminated to streamline the civil service certification processes and increase job candidate pools.

  • Rule of 3 Names: Used for clerical classifications’ promotional lists
  • Managerial Rule of 6 Ranks: Management exams had to be 6 ranks
  • Rule of 1 Rank: Used for supervisorial classifications’ promotional lists

Changed Law or Regulation: SB 99, Chapter 322, Statutes of 2015

Implementation: PML 2015-030

Workforce Planning

A key deliverable for the CSI Initiative is ensuring that California has planned for the state workforce of the future. Important progress has been made in several areas but GovOps needs to ensure that training and tools are more broadly adopted throughout government. Workforce development is highlighted due to high vacancy rates in hard-to-fill positions, staff retirements, and the reliance on less experienced staff that need additional training as their work continues to evolve. GovOps has partnered with CalHR to develop a Workforce Planning Program of workshops and consulting sessions. Guided by CalHR, participants build a workforce plan for their organization. As workforce planning aligns staffing with strategic mission and an organization’s anticipated critical needs, GovOps has partnered with the Department of Finance continue to encourage organizations to keep their strategic plan and supporting workforce plan current to mitigate their workforce risk.

Abolished 24 Pay Differentials

A comprehensive review was conducted on the state’s existing pay differentials.  The review found that 24 differentials were unnecessary and were eliminated.

Implementation: Pay Letter 16-21

Expanded Leadership Training

In an effort to further develop supervisors, managers and CEAs in the State of California, leadership training was expanded in June 2016 to include defined competency based training.  In addition, new requirements for leadership are now in law that include:

  • Supervisors: 80 hours of mandatory training within 6 months of initial appointment,
  • Managers: 40 hours within 12 months of initial appointment;
  • CEAs: 20 hours within 12 months of initial appointment.

All supervisors, managers and CEAs are now required to complete 20 hours of leadership and development training every two years as prescribed by CalHR. CSI teams have evaluated and piloted new 80-hour supervisor curriculum and additional leadership training options are being created to meet the new manager and executive leadership development requirements. A new statewide leadership philosophy, values and competency model, with learning objectives associated with each level of leadership, have been created to provide departments with guidance on how to progressively develop leaders from supervisor to executive level positions. SPB began auditing basic supervisor training in August 2016 and will incorporate the changes in law with future audits.

Changed Laws: SB 848, Chapter 35, Statutes of 2016

Implementation: PML 2016-028

Increased Multi-Departmental Exams

Article VII, Section 1 of the California Constitution requires that “permanent appointment and promotion shall be made under a general system based on merit ascertained by competitive examination.” The administration has encouraged departments to collaborate on exams in order to: a) eliminate duplicative testing efforts; b) establish one hiring list for service-wide classifications and c) allow job seekers to compete for vacancies in various departments for the same classification. To date, more than 100 multi-departmental exams are in use.

Implementation: PML 2016-07

Employee Wellness

CalHR continues to build on Healthier U – a collaboration between CalHR, SEIU Local 1000, State Treasurer’s Office, CalPERS, Kaiser Permanente, and Sierra Health Foundation to support a labor-management wellness approach for state employees — by: 1) continued implementation at five pilot sites; 2) promotion of Healthier U Connections – an online wellness service available to all state employees for tracking healthier behaviors and accessing wellness resources; 3) promotion of the Healthier U Playbook, a wellness coordinator toolkit, developed from lessons learned and best practices; 4) collaboration with SEIU Local 1000 to provide wellness coordinator training; and 5) convening a Carrier Council comprised of all health plans and other state benefit programs to develop a coordinated approach to delivering wellness to state departments.

Innovation and Accountability

GovOps’ Innovation and Accountability team was created to bring new ideas to state government and hold departments accountable in an effort to make government more effective. These efforts have centered around ways to bring innovation to state services. Some of the key accomplishments include:

Agile Demonstration Project

GovOps and the CA Health and Human Services Agency jointly embraced a demonstration project that will produce a new Child Welfare Services case management system using agile modular procurement and end-user input. The project will consist of several small contracts that will work together, replacing the severely outdated current system. This is the first effort of its kind in California government and its lessons learned and approach will allow the state to be more flexible and effective when managing technology projects.

The agile model replaces the large, monolithic projects of the past in many cases and focuses on the end user and short, smaller cycles that can be adapted as needs and technology change.

Innovation Conferences

GovOps has co-hosted multiple conferences to bring new and innovative ideas to state government leaders. In 2014, GovOps co-hosted a Leadership Symposium with Governing on Engaging Government Employees, laying the groundwork for the employee engagement survey and civil service improvement initiatives.

GovOps also co-hosted the Government Transformation Conferences. Representatives from world renowned companies such as Accenture, Deloitte, IBM, Intel, Oracle and Verizon attended and gave presentations on solving current and future issues through collaboration. The agency also hosted Californians Matter, a forum focused on human-centered design and providing online services for the public. Californians Matter showcased digital services at the federal, state, and local level with speakers from US Digital Service, IDEO, the City of Oakland and more.

Open Data

GovOps has been a leader in California’s open data efforts since it launched an open data pilot portal in October 2015. Most recently, GovOps led the adoption of the open data metadata standard and the harvest of more than 1000 datasets into from other existing state portals. As more datasets are added to the portal, departments will have the opportunity to examine their own processes and innovate with data-driven practices. CDT maintains the portal, Additionally, GovOps launched CalData, a forum for state employees and partners interested in building a data-driven culture in government and created the position of a Chief Data Officer at GovOps to ensure that data remains an important part of effective operations. 

Innovation Challenges

GovOps has sponsored and cosponsored open data challenges like the 2015 CA Green Gov Challenge, the 2017 White House Water Data Challenge, and the 2018 California Safe Drinking Water Data Challenge. These civic engagements introduce new approaches to achieving state goals such as greater sustainability, smarter water management and environmental protection and have produced new approaches to water management, fleet management and sustainable product procurement.

Improved state’s ability to hire and retain data analysts

Consolidated three-dozen research analyst classifications into eight statewide classifications focusing on data analytics.  The new classes establish two career paths, one for practitioners, allowing development of greater expertise; the other a management track. The new classifications will help departments attract, develop and retain data analysts and remove disincentives to remaining in program areas where their expertise is most needed.


GovOps spearheaded the effort to redesign California’s state portal,, into a user-centered site that better helps the public access key state services. The site employs geospatial technology to recognize users’ location to provide customized information, including relevant service locations and personalized imagery. The site is mobile-friendly, allowing citizens to access information on any device at any time. was name a finalist for both the Best of Web and State Government Experience Awards.

Domain Name Clean-Up and Policy

In partnership with the Department of Technology, GovOps led an effort to clean up the official registered domain names with the state of California. Users should be able to trust the government website they are on, and the state can better manage the domains. This effort has led to the elimination of more than 250 outdated domain names and establishment of contacts for all current domain names. A process has been established in policy to ensure that we continue to maintain domain names on an annual basis.

Web Standards Policy

GovOps and the Department of Technology created website standards for state entities. The goal is to give state websites a consistent look and feel and give California residents the assurance that they are working with a trusted government site.

Open Source Policy and soft launch of Code California

GovOps and the Department of Technology partnered to release an Open Source Code and Reuse Policy. This policy will be implemented through the soft launch of Code California, a strategic approach to build a community of practitioners and best practices through the use of the policy, a centralized platform and the Code California Playbook.

Web Accessibility and implementing AB 434

GovOps led a task force made up of members from the Department of Rehabilitation and the Department of Technology to help department make their websites accessible to persons with disabilities. Every state department must certify its website by July 1, 2019. The task force created training and online resources for departments.

Eureka Institute

The Government Operations Agency formally organized its performance improvement efforts as the Eureka Institute, a virtual center that hosts GovOps’ performance improvement activities. The goal of the Eureka Institute is to institutionalize tools and training that can drive GovOps’ mission to modernize the processes of government through Lean process improvement, data-driven decision making, leadership and performance improvement. Key achievements include:

Expanded Leadership Training

In an effort to further develop supervisors and managers, leadership training was expanded to include defined competency based training. In addition, new requirements for leadership training are now in law.

Leadership Philosophy

Created a leadership philosophy to serve as the backbone of all training. This philosophy: “Our leaders develop and inspire our workforce to deliver great results for Californians” creates a touchstone for all of our leadership training.

Lean Academy

In partnership with CalHR, GovOps has developed a Lean training academy. Lean is a continuous improvement methodology based on five key principles, designed to eliminate waste and increase value by improving processes and quality from the point of view of the customer. To date, more than 5,000 state employees have been trained through this program. Some examples of achievements are:

  • The Department of General Services’ Sustainability Division was able to reduce the time required to process a request for an energy retrofit for a state government building from 508 days to 92 days nearly 90 percent of the time.
  • At CalHR’s Selection Division, the billing process was reduced from 22 to 6 steps, now more than 90 percent of bills are processed within six hours, down from an average of 23 days.
  • The Department of General Services was able to reduce the time its Office of Human Resources needed to process a new hire – from submission of Request for Personnel Action to making a job offer – from an average of 147 days to 33 days.  The goal is to make offers for 95 percent of the requests within 45 days.
  • The Department of Toxic Substances Control, by reducing the steps to process a permit application to seven from 33, was able to complete 90 percent of their permit applications within 13 months, down from 80 percent completed within 38 months.
  • The Department of Transportation streamlined the process of investigating and resolving workplace violence allegations 24 steps to 10 steps.  This allowed them to reduce the time required from an average of 150 days to a point where 60 percent are resolved in five days.

Organizational Performance Dashboards

GovOps is developing organizational performance dashboards using data from the SCO, CalHR and the Department of Finance to provide operational indicators that better inform decision-makers on the overall health and performance of their organizations.


GovOps was tasked by the Governor’s office to lead the state’s efforts on sustainability. To that end, GovOps has worked with the Department of General Services and departments throughout state government to make sure California is leading by example when it comes to sustainability. Specific achievements include:

Sustainable Operations

Through the leadership of GovOps, the state has cut greenhouse gas emissions from state operations by 23 percent since 2010, achieving our 2020 goal four years early. The state has also cut energy use 22 percent since 2003, while expanding building area by 68 percent. Water usage was cut by 38 percent since 2010, with long-lasting savings implemented during the state’s drought. Twenty percent of the state’s electricity use is green power, either generated onsite or purchased from utilities. In 2017, GovOps worked closely with every department that manages properties to create Sustainability Roadmaps, planning documents that detail how each department will meet or exceed the goals of the Executive Order.

Vehicle Fleet

The state now has over 2,600 Zero Emission Vehicles and hybrids in the fleet. The state has 809 238 ZEVs and 2105 hybrids in the state fleet. Twenty-nine percent of new light duty vehicle purchases were zero emission vehicles.  Over the past year, 53 percent of the state’s diesel fuel use was replaced with Renewable Diesel, a clean burning, renewable, low carbon alternative to diesel.  The state used 4.4 million gallons of renewable diesel, cutting GHG and toxic air emissions from state fleet operations.  GovOps launched the Green Fleet website making statistics like these accessible to the public at

Green Buildings Website

GovOps worked with the Department of General Services and the Department of Technology to launch a website showing that state-run facilities – everything from office buildings, to parks, hospitals and prisons – have markedly reduced energy and water use, as well as greenhouse gas emissions compared to baseline years. These figures put the state years ahead of the aggressive reduction targets set forth by the Governor’s 2012 executive order on state buildings. The website is part of and it is routinely updated.

CA GreenGov Challenge Code-A-thon

In 2015, GovOps hosted the first-ever CA GreenGov Challenge Code-A-thon, an innovation contest designed to provide an opportunity for Californians to share ways to improve state government. Using open data, participants were challenged to create visualizations, applications and other tools to better show the work the state is doing to combat climate change. The state took the solutions from the code-a-thon to help improve and other services. The contest both exposed the state to the civic coding community and demonstrated the wide range of innovation that is possible through the use of open data.

Green Lease Leadership

GovOps worked closely with DGS to alter standard office space lease language to include environmentally friendly measures.  As a result of this effort DGS was awarded the Green Lease Leader designation by the US Department of Energy. 

Electric Landscape Equipment Pilot

GovOps coordinated a partnership between the Air Resources Board and Department of General Services to pilot the use of zero emission landscape maintenance equipment at Capitol Park. The pilot provided valuable data to ARB that will be used for formulating future regulations.  And the success of the equipment has prompted DGS to begin transitioning the majority of the equipment used to maintain Capitol Park to quiet, clean electric power.

Additional Efforts:

California Department of Tax and Fee Administration

GovOps was tasked with overseeing the split of the Board of Equalization and the creation of the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration on July 1, 2017. Established in the budget just two weeks’ prior, the creation of a new department with 3,000 employees was a significant effort and achievement.

GovOps also assisted in the start-up of the new Office of Tax Appeals, which began operating on Jan. 1, 2018. This assistance included leading the transition effort, helping with office space and hiring.