Department of Personnel Administration celebrates 25 years with support of California State Library

In May of 1981, out of the small Employer-Employee Relations office in the Governor’s Office, then Governor Jerry Brown created a new Department of Personnel Administration (DPA) to negotiate collective bargaining contracts with state employees. 

Twenty-five years later, DPA is a state department people recognize and respect because it makes California a great employer. DPA still oversees collective bargaining with state employee unions, but it also creates and administers compensation, benefits, and classification plans, and it advocates for the interests of the state employer.

To prepare for a  25th anniversary celebration and retrospective, DPA staff asked librarians from the California State Library (CSL) to gather the library’s wealth of information on DPA’s history.  In March, the CSL librarians  presented the library’s DPA collection to DPA Director, Michael Navarro, DPA Chief Deputy Director Bill Avritt, Assistant to the Director Teresa Graber,  and Associate Information Systems Analyst Joan Ysunza.

The CSL’s librarians had unearthed an eclectic mix of DPA items.  Lillian Chow from the Witkin State Law Library found codes, statutes, and articles from Legaltrac.  Bill Riddle, scouring the Government Publications Section, found old Little Hoover Commission reports, testimonies, and a publication called “Deliver Us from Evil: a public history of the California Civil Service System.”  California History librarian Kathy Correia located back issues of the “California Journal” and the “California State Employee,” among others.   Michael Bartolic of the State Information and Reference Center culled lists of articles from the library’s newspaper and journal databases.

DPA celebration includes CSL finds

As testimony to DPA’s success, hundreds of guests from California state government attended DPA ‘s 25th anniversary party, an event for which planners made great use of  DPA documents from the CSL.  A DPA timeline, peppered with statistics and anecdotes from CSL research, was at the center of the event.  The timeline began with a statement from director Navarro which read:  “This timeline is dedicated to the hard working men and women of the Department of Personnel Administration.  Without their dedication and commitment, the completion of the past 25 years of accomplishments would not have been possible.”  At the end of the timeline was a display of past reports, many from the CSL. 

From the gales of laughter to the wistful sighs of former employees, it was obvious that the guests were having a wonderful time and truly appreciated the efforts of DPA staff and CSL librarians for making such a special event. 

For more information about the state of California’s Department of Personnel Administration visit




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