Tentative Classification Standards issued by the Division of Classification & Compensation are shared with the operating agencies of State government for their consideration and comment. Accordingly, this document that you are viewing is subject to change and will be issued in final form at the completion of the review period.



Occ. Code 1001200











New York State Department of Civil Service


Classification Standard




Grounds Workers are responsible for maintaining the appearance and condition of grounds, athletics fields, walkways, and roads at State facilities. 

Most of the positions in this class are located at State University campuses, the Office of Mental Health, and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.



Grounds Workers serve as a member of a work crew performing a variety of grounds maintenance, gardening, and manual labor duties. The positions typically use a variety of hand and power tools including saws and chain saws, lawnmowers, shovels, various tree pruning equipment, and snow blowers.  In addition, the positions may be required to operate riding lawnmowers, and light to heavy duty vehicles or equipment such as dump trucks, tractors, and tree trimming and removal equipment. The activities, tasks, and required equipment and vehicles to operate vary according to the season and individual needs of the State entity. 

The number of filled Grounds Workers at each classified level reflects the size of the grounds and the number of locations to be maintained; seasonal weather related issues, such as snow removal; reliance on contractors or temporary employees to perform grounds maintenance duties (e.g., pesticide application, tree removal and pruning, and road salting and snow removal); agency priority to meet higher grounds maintenance standards; purchasing and budgeting responsibilities; and more difficult or frequent field maintenance duties to meet professional sports or athletic department requirements.

Senior Grounds Workers are working supervisors of fewer than ten staff, including permanent staff in various titles and temporary per diem or contract workers, or serve as an immediate assistant to a Supervisor of Grounds in the administration of a grounds department. The positions perform similar duties as Supervisor of Grounds and Head Grounds Supervisor, but the work is distinguished by the role of the position, total staff supervised, and complexity factors described above.  The number of classified Senior Grounds Workers depends upon the number of subordinate staff required to meet grounds program requirements, number of shifts requiring grounds supervisors, and presence of unclassified service managers in the State University System.

Supervisors of Grounds supervise multiple Senior Grounds Workers, serve as the highest ranking grounds position with ten or more staff and contract employees in the grounds department, or serve as an immediate assistant to a Head Grounds Supervisor. When assigned as the highest ranking grounds position, Supervisors of Grounds report to Maintenance Supervisors, Plant Superintendents or higher level administrative position. 

Head Grounds Supervisors serve as manager of a State University grounds department characterized by diverse grounds work that includes natural turf and other highly maintained types of athletic fields, arboretums, multiple campus locations, snow removal, and/or extensive use of contract workers.  The positions reports to Maintenance Supervisors, Plant Superintendents, or higher level administrative position.



          Facility Operations Aides perform a variety of custodial, special events, and building and grounds maintenance duties related to the operation and maintenance of buildings, the surrounding grounds, and the vehicles and equipment used in maintaining the sites. The positions are located in various State office buildings and facilities managed by the Office of General Services.


          SUNY Campus Workers perform a variety of relatively unskilled tasks related to the operation of State University of New York campus facilities including grounds, parking services, and maintenance services where the activities required do not justify full-time employees in operational services or labor class titles such as Parking Services Assistant, Grounds Worker, and Laborer, but the position requires a variety of these duties to be performed on a regular basis.


          Laborers perform a variety of routine manual tasks, requiring medium to heavy physical effort, to assist in maintaining, constructing, and repairing buildings, roads, offices, other structures, furniture, facilities, and grounds. They may also assist in operations by performing routine activities requiring limited or no training, such as taking tickets and giving directions, using a forklift, pallet jacks, power tools, dollies and hand trucks.


          Highway Equipment Operators operate a variety of self-propelled equipment in the construction, repair and maintenance of highways, canals and grounds. They also maintain their equipment by performing specific routine maintenance tasks.






Maintains the appearance and conditions of grounds at State facilities.

·       Cleans grounds by sweeping, raking, shoveling and removing debris, leaves, branches, etc.

·       Clears sites and prepares them for planting by raking, tilling soil, adding mulch and digging.

·       Plants seeds, bushes, trees, etc. using hand or power equipment.

·       Cuts grass using lawnmowers; fertilizes and waters grounds; prunes bushes and trees; removes or transplants bushes or trees.

·       Removes dead trees by cutting and splitting logs using chainsaws, sledge hammers and wedges.

·       Loads trucks with debris, logs, dirt, etc. using hand or power equipment.

·       May construct, repair or paint fences.

Maintains roads, walkways and parking lots at State facilities.

·       Breaks up concrete to repair holes using hand or power equipment.

·       Mixes and applies concrete and asphalt for patches.

·       Removes trash and debris from roads, walkways and parking lots by sweeping and shoveling by hand.

·       Removes snow and ice from walkways by shoveling and operating snow removal equipment.

·       Plows roads and parking lots with trucks and tractors.

·       Mixes salt, sand, and calcium for use on walkways and roads and spreads by hand or power equipment.

Maintains athletic fields and grass fields.

·       Cuts and rakes grass as required.

·       Resods, and repairs damaged areas of fields.

·       Checks the correct operation of water sprinkler systems, and reports deficiencies to higher level staff.

·       Lines and prepares fields for athletic events.

·       May be assigned to apply pesticides or fertilizer in accordance with State pesticide application regulations.

Performs basic maintenance and planting for greenhouses.

·       Cuts glass to replace broken panes and adjusts slipped panes.

·       Cleans, flushes, and repairs gutters and drains.

·       Glazes and paints sashes to preserve, protect, and seal out moisture and cold.

·       Oils ventilating mechanisms.

·       Sterilizes pots in preparation for planting, mixes soils used for planting, and plants and transplants seedlings.

·       Unloads and records supplies used in greenhouse and inventories greenhouse production.

·       Performs basic repairs, as necessary, and refers more involved repair to higher level staff.

May perform a variety of manual tasks in support of the building and grounds program.

·       Sets up and removes snow fences and markers at fire hydrants and catch basins.

·       Performs routine building maintenance work and minor maintenance on tools and power machines.

·       Loads and unloads trucks and moves furniture.

·       Shovels, digs ditches, and installs signs.

May lead students, inmates, clients, or contract employees in the performance of grounds and maintenance activities.




Supervises and schedules the work of grounds crews at a State facility.

·        Responds, prioritizes, and schedules routine to urgent grounds maintenance service as requested.

·       Provides training to staff by demonstrating proper use of equipment and materials and the performance of specific tasks to meet quality standards.

·       Periodically spot-checks work to make sure instructions are followed, work is progressing according to schedule, and materials and equipment are being used properly.

·       Maintains written records of employee time, work performed, and materials used.

·       Reports orally or in writing to higher level staff on the progress of projects.

Performs administrative functions in support of a grounds department.

·       Plans or assists in the planning of landscaping and other grounds projects by preparing rough sketches, schedules, and estimates of the staff, materials and equipment needed to accomplish the project.

·       Prepares purchase orders and justification for grounds materials, equipment, and supplies.

·       Assists in the selection of grounds contractors and monitors the work to ensure completion according to contract specifications.

·        Prepares a portion of or the entire annual budget for equipment, supplies, and personnel and provides justification for grounds department operational costs.

·        Supervises the grounds department inventory system, including the requisitioning and proper distribution and control of equipment and supplies.

Performs the full range of supervisory duties.

·       Interviews and selects staff, establishes training standards, and trains new employees.

·       Evaluates work performance and recommends retention or termination of employees.

·       Approves requests for leave and signs time cards.




Non-competitive: must be physically able to perform the tasks of the position and to communicate effectively to obtain and convey information.*


Non-competitive: two years of experience and/or training in grounds maintenance work; or one year as a Grounds Worker.* 


Non-competitive: three years of experience and/or training in grounds maintenance work, of which one year involved supervision over subordinates; or one year as a Senior Grounds Worker.*


Non-competitive: four years of experience and/or training in grounds maintenance work, of which two years involved supervisory experience over subordinates; or one year as a Supervisor of Grounds.*  


*When required to operate a motor vehicle, applicants must possess a valid New York State drivers license appropriate for the type of vehicle to be operated.

*As determined by the State agency or campus, some positions may be required to possess appropriate license or certification to apply pesticides, herbicides and other treatments.


Revised:  8/15

NOTE: Classification Standards illustrate the nature, extent, and scope of duties and responsibilities of the classes they describe. Standards cannot and do not include all of the work that might be appropriately performed by a class. The minimum qualifications above are those which were required for appointment at the time the Classification Standard was written. Please contact the Division of Staffing Services for current information on minimum qualification requirements for appointment or examination.