(1) The county service shall be divided into the classified service and the unclassified service.
(2) All officers and positions of the county shall be in the classified service unless specifically designated as being in the unclassified service established by the County Civil Service Act. All county employees who have permanent status under any other act prior to the passage of the County Civil Service Act shall have status under the act without further qualification.
(3) Positions in the unclassified service shall not be governed by the act and shall include the following:
(a) County officers elected by popular vote and persons appointed to fill vacancies in such elective offices;
(b) The county personnel officer and the administrative assistant to the board of county commissioners;
(d) Department heads and one principal assistant or chief deputy for each county department. When more than one principal assistant or chief deputy is mandated by law, all such positions shall be in the unclassified service;
(e) Members of boards and commissions appointed by the board of county commissioners;
(f) Persons employed in a professional or scientific capacity to make or conduct a temporary and special investigation or examination on behalf of the board of county commissioners;
(i) Employees of an emergency management organization;
(j) Deputy sheriffs; and
(k) Law clerks and students employed by the county attorney or public defender.
(4) Nothing in the act shall be construed as precluding the appointing authority from filling any positions in the unclassified service in the manner in which positions in the classified service are filled.