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Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS)

Policy Making Appointees and Legal Advisors

Reference Number: MTAS-913
Reviewed Date: 09/11/2023

Also classified as non-covered under the act are policy-making appointees. When a publicly elected official appoints an individual to serve on a policymaking level, such an appointed individual is not covered by the act. To fall within the policy-making appointee exception, the staff member must be appointed by and serve solely at the pleasure or discretion of the elected official and must formulate policy rather than simply implement or apply the policy to others. In Elrod v. Burns, 427 U.S. 347, 1976, the courts ruled that “in determining whether an employee occupies a policymaking position, consideration must be given to whether the employee acts as an advisor or formulates plans for the implementation of broad goals.”

Immediate legal advisors to elected officials also are not covered by the act. “Immediate advisors are defined as ‘staff who serve as advisors on constitutional matters or legal matters and who are not subject to the civil service rules of the employing agency’.” 29 C.F.R. § 553.11(d). City attorneys are clearly outside the coverage of the act because they advise on legal matters and generally are not subject to the civil service rules of the organization.