Management Q&A

  1. What is the difference between Washington Management Service and Exempt?
    Washington Management Service (WMS) is a personnel system established separately for civil service managers in state government (except for higher education) who meet the definition of “manager.” WMS employees are classified and are covered under RCW 41.06.500 or WAC 357-58. Exempt employees are exempt from the civil service rules and are not classified, employees serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority. Unless previously serving in a classified position, they have no return rights.

Washington Management Service (WMS)

  1. Where do I find the rules that apply to Washington Management Service?
    The civil service rules that apply to WMS can be found in this website under Rules or on the Washington State Legislature website. Under the rules, each agency has established Washington Management Service policies.
  2. What is the definition of ‘Manager’?
    Positions are included in the Washington Management Service (WMS) if they meet the definition of manager as outlined in RCW 41.06.022 and WAC 357-58-035. Additional information can be found on the Inclusion in WMS page.
  3. How does a position get included in Washington Management Service?
    Each agency identifies all positions that fit the definition of manager. Those identified positions are included in the Washington Management Service through the agency process outlined in the agency Washington Management Service Inclusion Policy.
  4. How are Washington Management Service salaries determined?
    Agencies develop salary administration policies that are consistent with State Human Resources guidelines. Washington Management Service positions are evaluated using a WMS managerial job value assessment chart (JVAC). The number of points resulting from the evaluation determines the management band to which a position is assigned. The position is assigned to a band that establishes the minimum and maximum salary. Within the salary limits of the band, agencies determine the actual salary and salary range of consideration for the position.
  5. How do you get a Washington Management Service salary adjustments?
    Washington Management Service salary adjustment options are:
    • Salary increases based on growth & development
    • Promotion
    • Legislative approved general wage increases
    • Recruitment/Retention Adjustment
    • Salary Alignment Adjustment
    The agency compensation policy guides the application of these options.


  1. What does “exempt” mean?
    Certain positions are exempt from state civil service law. A position may be designated exempt either by statute or at the request of the Governor or other elected official. The salary and fringe benefits of all positions presently or hereafter exempted shall be determined by the OFM Director, unless otherwise specified in statute.
  2. How are Exempt salaries determined?*  
    Exempt positions typically utilize a “broadbanded” salary structure. Most positions are evaluated by State HR and placed into a specific salary band based on the duties performed and the level of responsibility. The agency appointing authority determines the actual salary within the band.

State Officials' Salaries 

  1. Who sets Elected Officials’ Salaries?* The Commission was created in 1987 by a constitutional amendment. The purpose for creating the Commission was to establish salaries that reflect the duties of the state's elected officials and to remove political considerations from the process. The Commission is charged with setting the salaries of the elected officials in the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branches of government.  
  2. How are other Officials' salaries determined?
    RCW 43.03.028 gave State Human Resources the jurisdiction to administer the State Officials' Salaries. In this capacity the Office of the State HR determines the grade level and maximum salary paid to the positions under its authority. The majority of the positions under OFM authority are executive positions appointed by the Governor.

Each agency’s enabling Revised Code of Washington (RCW) identifies the salary fixing authority over the executive position and if it comes under the jurisdiction of the OFM Director.

  • If the position is not under the OFM Director's jurisdiction, the salary fixing authority is responsible for individual salary determinations within the position’s salary range.
  • If the position is under the OFM Director's authority and not appointed by the Governor, the salary fixing authority is a board or commission whose members are Governor appointees.
  • If appointed by the Governor, the Governor has the authority to offer a salary using the maximum salary guidelines set by the OFM Director for each plateau.
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