Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter I. Findings; Purpose.


§ 1–601.01. Findings.

The Council of the District of Columbia finds that:

(1) The provisions of § 1-204.22(3) require that the Council of the District of Columbia adopt a comprehensive merit system of personnel management for the government of the District of Columbia before January 2, 1980.

(2) The provisions of §§ 1-202.01(f), 1-202.04(g), 1-204.22(3), 1-207.13(c) and (d), and 1-207.14(c), guarantee certain benefits to incumbent employees of the District of Columbia government and those persons transferred to the District of Columbia government from the formerly independent National Capital Housing Authority, District of Columbia Redevelopment Land Agency and the District of Columbia Department of Manpower including, without limitation, benefits relating to appointments, promotions, discipline, separation, pay, unemployment compensation, health, disability and death benefits, leave, retirement, insurance, and veterans preference.

(3) The present authority for filling positions within the District of Columbia government is fragmented, both between the United States Civil Service Commission and the District of Columbia government, and among various subdivisions of the District government, such as, the District of Columbia Board of Education, the Trustees of the University of the District of Columbia and other independent boards and commissions.


(Mar. 3, 1979, D.C. Law 2-139, § 102, 25 DCR 5740.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-601.1.

1973 Ed., § 1-331.1.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-607.03, § 1-1001.06, § 1-1161.01, § 2-359.10, § 2-1515.08, § 2-1594, § 7-771.01, § 7-771.05, § 34-2202.15, § 34-2202.17, and § 44-951.10.

Cross References

Board of elections and ethics, control over board, see § 1-1001.06.

Water and sewer authority, merit personnel system inapplicable, see § 34-2202.15.

Water and sewer authority, transition provisions, see § 34-2202.17.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) addition of D.C. Law 2-139, Title XX-E, see § 2(a) of the Controlled Substance, Alcohol Testing, Criminal Background Check and Background Investigation Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-277, February 20, 2014, 61 DCR 1576).

For temporary (90 days) addition of D.C. Law 2-139, Title XX-F, see § 2(b) of the Controlled Substance, Alcohol Testing, Criminal Background Check and Background Investigation Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-277, February 20, 2014, 61 DCR 1576).

Editor's Notes

Pub. L. 106-113, Div. A, Title I, § 120, Nov. 29, 1999, 113 Stat. 1515, and Pub. L. 107-96, § 111(a), Dec. 21, 2001, 115 Stat. 948, provided: “Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, the provisions of the District of Columbia Government Comprehensive Merit Personnel Act of 1978 (D.C. Law 2-139; D.C. Code, sec. 1-601.1 et seq.), enacted pursuant to section 422(3) of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act (87 Stat. 790; Public Law 93-198; D.C. Code, sec. 1-242(3)), shall apply with respect to the compensation of District of Columbia employees: Provided, That for pay purposes, employees of the District of Columbia government shall not be subject to the provisions of title 5, United States Code.” Two Percent (2%) Mid-Year Adjustment of Pay Rates for Career & Excepted Service Employees of the D.C. Within the Scope of Collective Bargaining Represented by Compensation Units 1 (DS), 2 (WG) and 14 (LPNs): See Mayor’s Order 90-70, May 7, 1990.

Delegation of Authority

Director of Personnel and Chief of Police, see Mayor’s Order 99-79, May 13, 1999 ( 46 DCR 5436).


§ 1–601.02. Purpose.

(a) The Council of the District of Columbia declares that it is the purpose and policy of this chapter to assure that the District of Columbia government shall have a modern flexible system of public personnel administration, which shall:

(1) Provide for increasingly autonomous control over personnel administration by the District of Columbia government;

(2) Create uniform systems for personnel administration among the executive departments and agencies reporting directly to the Mayor of the District of Columbia and among the Council, independent agencies, boards, and commissions in the District of Columbia government;

(3) Create separate personnel management systems for educational employees of the School of Law, the District of Columbia Board of Education, and the University of the District of Columbia;

(4) Insure the efficient administration of this personnel system;

(5) Establish impartial and comprehensive administrative or negotiated procedures for resolving employee grievances;

(6) Provide for a positive policy of labor-management relations including collective bargaining between the District of Columbia government and its employees; and

(7) Establish the means to recruit, select, develop, and maintain an effective and responsive work force consistent with merit principles.

(b) The Career and Educational Services established in subchapters VIII and VIII-A of this chapter shall follow merit principles such as the following:

(1) Recruiting, selecting, and advancing employees on the basis of their relative ability, knowledge and skills, including open and competitive consideration of qualified applicants for initial appointment;

(2) Providing equitable and adequate compensation;

(3) Training employees, as needed, to assure high-quality performance;

(4) Retaining employees on the basis of their performance, correcting inadequate performance, and separating employees whose inadequate performance cannot be corrected; and

(5) Assuring, as provided in this chapter, fair treatment of applicants and employees in all aspects of employment without regard to political affiliation, race, color, national origin, sex, religious belief, age, marital status, personal physical appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibilities, physical disability, or developmental disability. A proper regard shall be accorded all rights of privacy and other constitutionally protected rights of citizens.

(c) Employees are protected against coercion for partisan political purposes and are prohibited from using their official authority for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election or a nomination for office.


(Mar. 3, 1979, D.C. Law 2-139, § 103, 25 DCR 5740; Feb. 24, 1987, D.C. Law 6-177, § 3(a), 33 DCR 7241; Apr. 24, 2007, D.C. Law 16-305, § 3(a), 53 DCR 6198; June 25, 2008, D.C. Law 17-177, § 3(a), 55 DCR 3696; Apr. 1, 2017, D.C. Law 21-232, § 2(a), 64 DCR 876.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-601.2.

1973 Ed., § 1-331.2.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-305, in subsec. (b)(5), substituted “disability” for “handicap”.

D.C. Law 17-177, in subsec. (f), substituted “sexual orientation, gender identity or expression” for “sexual orientation or preference”.

Cross References

Commission on the arts and humanities, executive director, see § 39-205.

District of Columbia retirement board, see § 1-711.

Election campaigns, conflict of interest, disclosure, see § 1-1106.02.

Lobbying, “official in the executive branch” defined, see § 1-1105.01.

Merit system, disability compensation, computation, see § 1-623.14.

Merit system, disability compensation, deaths resulting from injuries sustained on duty, compensation, beneficiaries, see § 1-623.33.

Merit system, disability compensation, maximum and minimum compensation rates, see § 1-623.12.

Merit system, educational employees, coverage, see § 1-602.03.

Merit system, effective date provisions, see § 1-636.02.

Merit system, employee conduct, ethics counselors, see § 1-618.03.

Office of business and economic development, executive director, see § 2-1201.04.

Office of Latino affairs, executive director, see § 2-1312.

Office of people’s counsel, powers and duties, see § 34-804.

Office on aging, executive director, see § 7-503.02.

Public service commission, membership, see § 34-801.

Rental housing commission, powers and duties, see § 42-3502.01.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of Council Independent Authority Clarification Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-29, Mar. 27, 2017, 64 DCR 3077).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of Council Independent Authority Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Act 21-551, Dec. 6, 2016, 63 DCR 15022).

Editor's Notes

Repeal of § 3 of Law 6-177: Section 4(b) of D.C. Law 6-177 provided that the provisions of § 3 are repealed on the 1st day following the 36-month period after February 24, 1987.

Repeal of § 4(b) of Law 6-177: Section 3(b) of D.C. Law 8-74, effective March 15, 1990, provided that § 4(b) of D.C. Law 6-177 is repealed.