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Eligible Lists

A key part of the Civil Service system is the evaluation of a candidate’s merit and fitness through the use of examination and appointment from a certification of eligibles. It is important this procedure be done properly and in a timely manner in order to have legal appointments and avoid potential liability.


  • 845-486-2169
  • 845-486-2186
  • Human Resources
    Dutchess County Office Building
    22 Market Street, 5th Floor
    Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

Examination Hotline 845-486-2167
Contact Emails

Specification and Examination Scope Checks

As part of the examination process, our department sends out requests for appointing authorities to review both the class specification (job description) and the scope of the proposed examination. This is an important step in the exam process. The state uses the class specification to create the examination. While we try to keep specifications fairly broad to facilitate use in a variety of agencies, it is still important that they reflect the key aspects of the job. It is critical, therefore, that agencies review these documents and give careful consideration as to their relevance to the work being performed by the employee.

Canvassing the Eligible List

The process of canvassing the eligible list for a competitive class vacancy can be time consuming and somewhat confusing. Please remember it is essential that it be done correctly. Improper canvassing of the eligible list and making unauthorized appointments can be costly to your agency and can cause harm to candidates who may leave their current employment, only to learn they were appointed illegally by the agency. Please follow the procedures listed below, complete forms properly, submit all documentation in a timely manner, and call for assistance when you are unsure.

General Procedures

  • Agency verifies they have a competitive class vacancy  (if a new position, complete a New Position Duties Statement (MSD-222) (.pdf)  Form and submit to Human Resources for classification). 
  • Agency completes a Request for Certification of Eligible List (.pdf) and sends to the Examinations Unit of the Dutchess County  Department of Human Resources.
  • Human Resources compiles and sends the appropriate Certification of Eligibles to the agency for canvassing, for a period not to exceed 60 days (90 days for Police Officer). 
  • Agency sends appropriate Canvass Letter (.pdf) to candidates, giving them 7 business days to respond. 
  • Candidates complete and return Canvass Response Letter (.pdf) to the agency.
  • Agency reviews the returned materials, interviews interested candidates, and makes a selection using the Rule of Three – the appointing authority must select one of the top 3 scoring candidates willing to accept the position, or anyone tied with the score of the 3rd candidate.
  • Agency sends a Not Selected Letter (.pdf) to those candidates who indicated an interest but were not appointed to the position.
  • Agency completes the Certification of Eligibles by writing in under the Report of Action column how each candidate responded, including those who did not respond, using the codes listed on the back of the form.
  • Agency indicates the selected candidate, lists the starting salary and the effective date of appointment under the appropriate columns of the Certification of Eligibles.
  • Agency returns the following items to Human Resources (it is critical this step be taken before a commitment to start employment in order to verify it is a legal appointment):
    • Certification of Eligibles, with appropriate information filled in and signed by the appointing authority. 
    • Copies of all Canvass Letters sent to candidates.
    • Copies of all Canvass Response Letters returned by candidates.
    • Copies of Not Selected letters sent to interested candidates not appointed. 
    • Report of Personnel Change Form appointing the reachable candidate.
  • Human Resources reviews the documentation for conformance to Civil Service Law and Rules, notifies the agency of approval, and processes the appointment.

Canvassing for a Temporary Appointment

A position encumbered by another employee may be filled on a temporary basis, in accordance with Section 64 of Civil Service Law. Such appointments are regulated by the expected length of the temporary appointment as follows:

Time Period Requirement
Not exceeding 3 months Candidate only needs to meet minimum qualifications for position
Exceeding 3 months but not to exceed 6 months Candidate must be selected from an appropriate eligible list without regard to standing on eligible list
Exceeding 6 months or of an unknown duration Candidate must be selected from the appropriate eligible list after canvassing and using the Rule of Three


Making a Provisional Appointment

A provisional appointment may be made only after it has been confirmed there is no appropriate eligible list. Agencies cannot make this decision based on their prior canvassing experience since candidates have the right to request to be restored to the eligible list. The procedures below should be followed:

  • Agency completes a Request for Certification of Eligible List (.pdf) and submits it to Human Resources.
  • If a list is not available or is non-mandatory, Human Resources will give written permission for the agency to make a provisional appointment (if a non-mandatory list is available, it will be sent to the agency for consideration of any remaining candidates in order to avoid the possibility of a provisional appointment).
  • If a list is not available or the list is non-mandatory, but an exam has just been given, Human Resources will give written permission for the agency to make a provisional appointment and will send a list of qualified applicants who attended the exam (in such a case it is strongly recommended the agency select one of these candidates or face terminating an employee when the list is established).
  • Agency recruits for the position and nominates a candidate who meets the established minimum qualifications; application should be submitted to Human Resources for review of qualifications prior to offer of employment is given.
  • Agency notifies the candidate that it is their responsibility to apply for the civil service examination once it is announced. They may either monitor the County's Human Resources webpage or subscribe to receive notifications of postings.
  • Agency submits a Report of Personnel Change (.pdf) Form with effective date of employment.
  • Human Resources approves and processes the provisional appointment and the examination is ordered. 
  • Once the list is established, the agency has 2 months to canvass the eligible list for a permanent appointment and to either appoint or terminate the provisional.

Canvassing for a Contingent Permanent Appointment

A position left temporarily vacant by the leave of absence of a permanent incumbent may be filled as a contingent permanent appointment, if the agency so chooses. Any candidate appointed on a contingent permanent basis shall have or will earn certain rights, as outlined in Rule XV, Section 5 of the Rules for the Classified Service of Dutchess County. If the agency is interested in making such an appointment, they should indicate so on the Request for Certification of Eligible List (.pdf), and use the appropriate Canvass Letter for Contingent Permanent Appointment (.pdf).  The process is basically the same as regular canvassing, however, candidates should be provided a copy of the rule (.pdf) regarding contingent permanent appointments.