(a) Positions authorized and existing on June 1, 1975. Each circuit clerk who is authorized the position of confidential or private secretary as of June 1, 1975, shall be entitled to keep such position. Such confidential secretary shall be appointed and serve at the pleasure of the circuit clerk, shall be entitled to all rights, privileges and benefits of merit system employees and shall be paid from the same fund as merit system employees, without regard to merit system qualifications or regulations, at the highest rate of pay that an employee of the circuit clerk in his circuit is entitled to receive.
(b) Additional confidential secretaries. Each circuit clerk may employ a confidential secretary subject to the merit system for pay purposes only, to serve at the pleasure of the circuit clerk. However, before the appointment of such a secretary, not serving on June 1, 1975, the Administrative Director of Courts shall certify to the state Comptroller and presiding circuit judge of the respective circuit that such a secretary is needed; provided, that the job positions so authorized shall not become effective until the necessary appropriations have been provided.