San Luis Obispo County, California


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Recruitment #0413PM-08973-01

DATE OPENED:     4/12/2013 5:00:00 PM
JOB TYPE:      Open
FILING DEADLINE:     5/6/2013 11:59:00 PM
SALARY:     $6,333 - $7,699/month
City of San Luis Obispo
DEPARTMENT:     Sheriff-Coroner Department

Click HERE to view benefits

Conditional employment offers are based on successful completion of any pre-appointment background investigation, drug testing, and medical/psychological evaluation.

This recruitment requires the completion of a supplemental questionnaire.  You must submit your response to the supplemental questions with your application.

ABOUT THE POSITION:  Under direction, oversees the operations of the Sheriff’s forensic laboratory and performs forensic toxicology and chemical analyses of controlled substances; documents testing methods and prepares written reports; presents findings in court; and performs other related duties as assigned.
This position is distinguished from the Sheriff’s Forensic Specialist position in that the latter collects and preserves crime scene evidence whereas this position conducts chemical analysis of fluids and controlled substances and reports on the findings.

NOTE:  Ideal candidates would be Board Certified Forensic Toxicologist.

(Not in order of importance)

  • Performs chemical analysis of physical evidence in the area of controlled substances and forensic toxicology;
  • Develops applications involving comparing, analyzing, and/or identifying controlled substances and toxicology;
  • Prepares chemical reagents for use in scientific analysis; disposes of samples in accordance with legal requirements;
  • Operates, calibrates, troubleshoots, and performs repairs on laboratory instruments, including, but not limited to, chromatographs and spectrometers, solid phase extraction devices, and nitrogen generators;
  • Maintains current inventory of laboratory equipment and supplies; provides input regarding anticipated expenditures on supplies and equipment needed by the lab;
  • Studies new techniques in forensics; conducts research into the development of new techniques, methods, and equipment for solution of complex problems;
  • Maintains files and receipts to preserve the chain of custody  and the integrity of examinations performed;
  • May develop, prepare, analyze and review program budgets, grant proposals, quarterly and annual reports as required;
  • May supervise, train, and evaluate the performance of assigned staff; interview and select employees and recommend appointments, transfers, reassignments and promotions; assign employee duties and review work to ensure accuracy, completeness and compliance with established standards, requirements and procedures; develop, implement and conduct training programs as required; take immediate action to resolve and correct discipline problems and recommend suspension, demotion and termination when deemed appropriate.


Knowledge of:

  • Common types of controlled substances;
  • Principles of organic and inorganic chemistry and biochemistry;
  • Operation, care, and use of laboratory instruments and equipment;
  • Laboratory testing procedures and methods;
  • Research, analysis, and statistical evaluation techniques;
  • Principles and practices of administration, supervision and training;
  • Current computer applications and office equipment.

Ability to:

  • Supervise, train, and evaluate the performance of assigned staff;
  • Testify clearly and effectively in court;
  • Prepare clear, complete, and concise reports and maintain accurate records;
  • Develop, encourage and maintain positive working relationships;
  • Communicate and work effectively with others;
  • Apply policies, rules, and regulations governing a forensic laboratory;
  • Develop and apply operation methods and procedures of forensic laboratory equipment;
  • Operate a computer, software, and assigned office equipment;
  • Maintain a safe and productive work environment.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:  Graduation from an accredited four-year college or university with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, physical science or a related field, including 4 quarter units (or equivalent semester units) of quantitative analysis and 8 quarter units (or equivalent semester units) of general chemistry

In addition, one year of full-time experience in a clinical, chemical, or forensic laboratory is required.

LICENSES/CERTIFICATES:  A valid driver license may be required at the time of application.  When a driver license is a condition of employment, a valid CALIFORNIA driver license is required at the time of appointment and must be maintained throughout employment.

IN ADDITION:  This class specification generally describes the duties and responsibilities characteristic of the position(s) within this class. Duties of a particular position within a multi-position class may vary from the duties of other positions within the class. Accordingly, the essential functions of a particular position (whether it be a multi-position class or a single-position class) will be identified and used by medical examiners and hiring authorities in the selection process. If you have questions regarding the duties or the working conditions of the position, please contact the Human Resources Department.

NOTIFICATION:  Applicants will be notified 2-4 weeks after the final filing deadline. However, some recruitments may take less or more time depending on the type of exam and number of applicants. Notifications will be posted on-line on the Applicant Status Board for each phase of the recruitment process and will be sent by US mail and/or email.  Therefore, notify the Human Resources Department of any mailing or email address changes for all applications submitted.

SELECTION PROCESS:  The examination process will include a competitive examination consisting of an evaluation of job-related education and experience through one of the following methods of testing:  A) competitive application rating, based solely on application information presented OR B) oral board rating as determined by an interview panel OR C) application screening and an oral board rating OR D) any combination thereof.  In any case, the evaluation will be weighted 100% in determining a candidate’s placement on the eligible list.  Applicants are urged to submit sufficiently detailed information in their application materials for proper qualification evaluation.   The hiring department will be provided a list of the top nine ranks of eligible candidates and one additional rank for each vacancy. The hiring department may hire any of the candidates certified to the department.  Veterans and disabled veterans preference points will be assigned when applicable. Please note: any part of this selection process may be waived or changed as deemed appropriate by the Human Resources Department at any point during the recruitment. Eligible lists may be used to fill regular, limited term or temporary positions.

PENSION BENEFIT INFORMATION:  Effective January 1, 2013 the Public Employees' Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA or AB340), makes substantial changes to public employee pension plans. PEPRA impacts the pension benefits of current employees (employees hired on or before 12/31/12) and all future hires (those hired on or after 1/1/13).  Please refer to our website for additional information including summary of impacts and FAQs at:
Should you have additional questions, please contact Human Resources staff at 805.781.5959 or .  Note:  Those employees with reciprocity who are returning or entering into SLO County employment within a 6 month break in service, may be eligible to enter into the SLO County pension plan that was in existence for new hires as of December 31, 2012 for that bargaining unit.  Contact Pension Trust (805.781.5465 or for specific questions related to reciprocity.   All other questions should be directed to HR.

OTHER PROVISIONS:  New employees are required to complete an INS Employment Eligibility Verification form to certify citizenship or legal residency and authorization to work. Essential functions of a job for purposes of the Americans with Disabilities Act will be determined prior to the filling of each vacant position. A REASONABLE EFFORT WILL BE MADE TO ACCOMMODATE THE NEEDS OF THE DISABLED AND THE RELIGIOUS NEEDS OF AN APPLICANT. IF YOU REQUIRE SPECIAL ARRANGEMENTS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS, YOU MUST INFORM THE COUNTY HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT IN WRITING OF THE TYPE AND EXTENT OF ACCOMMODATION NO LATER THAN THE FINAL FILING DEADLINE.