Attorney Grievance Commission Memo - DOC by lmg14795


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									                       City of Seattle Civil Service Commission
                                          March 28, 2001

1. Call to Order:
   The March 28, 2001 monthly meeting of the City of Seattle Civil Service Commission was called to
   order by Chairperson Ken Morgan at 9:50 a.m.

2. Introduction of Attendees:
   The Chair introduced the attendees:
   Commission Chair Ken Morgan
   Commissioner Kenneth M. Lowthian
   Commissioner Nina A. Harding, jd/mpa
   Miriam Israel Moses, Executive Director
   Mary Effertz, Administrative Staff Assistant
   Marilyn Sherron, Assistant City Attorney
   Mary Kay Doherty, Assistant City Attorney
   Steve Gross, Assistant City Attorney

3. Approval of Minutes
   a. The minutes from the February 21, 2001 meeting were approved as revised with the exception of
       page 2, paragraph 3, which discussed criteria for awarding Variable Performance Pay.
       Commissioner Harding noted that, during his presentation, Curt Funk stated that this pay was
       awarded for “exemplary” service. The Executive Director advised the Commission that the program
       itself contained the criteria and that it was this criteria that should be reviewed. The Commission
       tabled the matter until the tape could be reviewed and the written information could be presented.

   b. The minutes from the March 8, 2001 special meeting were approved as submitted and signed by
       Chair Morgan.

   c. The minutes from the March 20, 2001 special meeting were approved as submitted and signed by
       Chair Morgan.
Civil Service Commission Minutes                                                                        Page 2
March 28, 2001

    d. The minutes from the March 27, 2001 special meeting were approved as submitted and signed by
        Chair Morgan.

4. Council/Mayor Activity:
    a. The Commission reviewed a March 7, 2001 memo from Mayor Schell to all Department Heads
        which established the policy for compensation of City employees during the recent Nisqually
        earthquake and the days following, for those whose buildings were not open for occupancy. The
        Commission noted that this immediate response by the Mayor, in declaring a state of emergency,
        allowed for an immediate Executive decision on the matter of compensation. This was noted in
        comparison to the manner in which compensation during WTO was decided.

        Chair Morgan inquired as to how the Arctic Building fared during the earthquake and the Executive
        Director responded that it was a frightening experience, but that the building was structurally sound.

        After hearing references to certain matters depicted as acronyms, Chair Morgan also inquired as to
        whether the City had a reference manual that provided the acronyms and their related meanings.
        Mary Kay Doherty said that she believed that there was such a document in the Law Department and
        that she would check into it. The Executive Director noted that some material containing acronyms
        had been written for the Personnel Department in 1995 and she would attempt to obtain it.

    b. The Commission reviewed Ordinance 117424 as amended by Ordinance 118717. The Ordinance
        amends the Administrative Reassignment Ordinance making certain changes to the original
        ordinance. The Executive Director noted the changes for the Commission, and specifically directed
        their attention to the elimination of the requirement that the Personnel Director approve any
        administrative reassignment that lasts for more than 80 hours, or two weeks. The Executive Director
        told the Commission that she believed these to be positive amendments to the program.

5. Personnel Department Activities:
    a. The Commission reviewed a new publication entitled “City of Seattle Orientation Manual for
        Elected and Appointed Officials.” She advised the Commissioners that this publication is intended
        to be read along with the Employee Handbook, and that it is intended to provide guidance to newly
        appointed and elected City officials about the City’s human resources system and its various
Civil Service Commission Minutes                                                                          Page 3
March 28, 2001

6. Related Policy/Administrative Issues:

7. Budget:
    a. The Commission reviewed the Summit Allocation and Expense Reports for year-end 2000 and for
        the period ending in February 2001. The Executive Director reported that the Commission was well
        in keeping with the budget allocation for 2001.

    b. Commissioner Harding asked if sufficient funds had been requested for staff and Commissioner
        training. The Executive Director responded that the funds had been requested, as always, but that
        only $1,000.00 had been appropriated for this purpose. She also noted that this was the first year that
        the Commission had received any funds at all for this purpose. Commissioner Harding commented
        that this was a very low amount of money for training.

        Commissioner Lowthian requested specific clarification regarding certain line items pertaining to
        Commissioner salaries, TES allocations (for the Hearing Examiner) and the allotment listed for
        Variable Performance Pay. The Executive Director reminded the Commissioners of the difficulty
        with the non-line item budget in that while expenditures might appear to be in a certain fund or
        “line,” in actuality, the monies were interchangeable, as long as the Commission remained within its
        budget allocation.

8. New Business:

    a. The Commission provided the Executive Director with a copy of a letter that its members received
        from the Mayor’s office expressing concerns regarding the operation of the Commission. The letter
        asked that the Commission prepare recommendations on how it would proceed with “renewing the
        integrity of the Civil Service Commission.” The Commissioners discussed a draft response to the
        letter which outlines a series of steps that they intend to take to address the issues raised in a manner
        consistent with the Commission’s need to meet its Charter mandate. The letter was finalized during
        the Commission meeting and signed by all of the Commissioners.

    b. The Commission provided the Executive Director with a document titled “RESOLUTION 2001-01:
        A RESOLUTION regarding office and appeals procedures.” The Executive Director asked whether this
        was a piece of legislation and she was advised by the Chair that this was a collectively reviewed and
Civil Service Commission Minutes                                                                          Page 4
March 28, 2001

        proposed resolution. The Chair further suggested that the formal title might be a bit “grandiose” for the
        document and that it could be changed to “Office and Appeal Procedures.”

        The Commission requested comments and feedback from the Executive Director, however, since she
        expressed her concerns that while it was a good idea to write such a document, the document contained
        many items that she was being directed not to do. She told the Commission that she believed this to
        hold the insinuation that those things were, in fact, being done when they were not.

        The Executive Director also asked that the Commission review her duties from an equity perspective
        because they did not seem to be at a level equivalent to those of her peers. She reminded the
        Commission that an informal survey of the practices of similar Boards and Commissions was included
        in her response to the Auditor’s “Formal Draft 3/13.” She asked that they review this survey so that they
        might have an idea of the authorities of most Executive Directors. She also advised the Commission
        that the Auditors performed a similar survey of Boards and Commissions, the results of which were not
        included in their report. She encouraged the Commission to request a copy of their survey and note the
        results in formulating this proposed document.

        The Executive Director expressed some immediate difficulties with the directives in the document and
        these were discussed at some length, however, the Executive Director ultimately expressed her dismay
        that, in her view, the Commission did not show enough respect for her to include her in the process of
        developing this document, which included a description of her job.

        During a discussion regarding what kinds of situations might occur when appellants arrived at the
        Commission’s office, and what the meaning of the word “advice” might be, as it appears in the
        document, Chair Morgan requested of the attorneys present, further information regarding the differing
        views about when an employee may file an appeal with the Commission. He noted that Collective
        Bargaining Agreements state that employees must choose one forum or another at the outset, but that the
        Charter provides that employees can go to arbitration and still file an appeal with the Commission. He
        asked whether there was any concurrence to this process.

        Assistant City Attorney Steve Gross responded that when employees are represented, they can talk with
        their Union Representative. Assistant City Attorney Marilyn Sherron told the Commission that the City
        is always supposed to refer employees to their union.

        Chair Morgan requested further clarification, asking whether the instruction to the Executive Director
        was then to tell union employees to file a grievance as opposed to a Commission appeal. Assistant City
Civil Service Commission Minutes                                                                          Page 5
March 28, 2001

        Attorney Marilyn Sherron responded affirmatively and advised Commissioner Morgan that when an
        event occurs, the union is contacted and the union can either “come or accede to an attorney.”

        The Executive Director noted that in all disciplinary letters, the Charter requires that all employees
        receive information regarding their appeal rights and that information advises them that they can
        either contact their union or they can come to the Civil Service Commission. The letters must
        provide information on how to contact the Commission. She further noted that the Charter requires
        that copies of these letters be sent to the Commission’s office. The Executive Director told the
        Commission that employees are advised that they do, in fact, have a choice of forum and that they do
        not have to be referred to their union. Assistant City Attorney Marilyn Sherron reiterated that the
        City refers represented employees to their union.

        There was further discussion between the Executive Director and the Commission regarding the fact
        that “RESOLUTION 2001-01” was drafted without any input from her and that it contained a
        description of a position that was “just a little bit different” than the position for which she was hired.
        The Executive Director reiterated her feelings of being treated disrespectfully by being excluded
        from the drafting process, and also of being taken by surprise because the entire matter had not been
        placed on the agenda for discussion and she had no way of knowing that this would be discussed.

        She also noted that her input might have been of value in such matters as the section involving
        referring appeals to the City’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Program, as a matter of course. She
        reminded the Commission and the City Attorneys that this might be in violation of the SMC
        4.04.250, which prohibits the Commission from delegating its duties to the Personnel Director or any
        member of the Personnel Department, and that the Alternative Dispute Resolution program is located
        in the Personnel Department and the Coordinator answers to the Director of Personnel.

        Chair Morgan advised the Executive Director that the Commission had not actually given her these
        instructions, but rather, this presentation of the proposed procedures was considered to be her time to
        participate in the discussion and be engaged in the process. He told her that she will have
        participated in the process in the form of providing comments to the document.

        The Executive Director asked for time to respond to the document and also noted that the
        Commission needed time to review some of the other documents that it had received since their last
        meeting. Commissioner Morgan asked her if one week would be sufficient for her to provide
        suggestions and modifications. Commissioner Lowthian stated that he was “not sure we’re prepared
        for modifications.” Chair Morgan clarified that the Commissioners were looking for input.
Civil Service Commission Minutes                                                                       Page 6
March 28, 2001

        The Chair asked whether the Executive Director would prefer to respond in writing or in person.
        She stated that she would prefer responding in writing and that the Commission could decide after
        receiving the response, whether they wanted to meet. It was agreed that the Executive Director
        would provide comments within 7 days.

    c. The Executive Director raised the previously tabled question of a retreat and the Commission agreed
        to table the matter again. It will be raised at the next session.

    d. The Commission tabled the review of a resume for a possible pro-tem Hearing Examiner to conduct
        the pre-hearing conferences in the Hill appeal. Chair Morgan requested that the Executive Director
        provide a series of resumes for them to consider in advance of a meeting. Commissioner Harding
        iterated her stance that the candidates should have a strong background in employment and labor
        law. She suggested looking within the Seattle Municipal Court’s pro tem Magistrates as well as with
        the Attorney General’s Office. She also noted that the Commission could advertise in professional
        associations for suitable candidates.

        The Executive Director asked the Commission if they would like her to write a “thank-you” note to
        Ms. Glogowski. They responded in the affirmative and advised her that it could go out under her
        own signature.

        The Assistant City Attorneys present suggested that the Commission itself conduct the pre-hearing
        conferences in the Hill appeal and advised them that they would be able to provide legal support
        from within their department, from an attorney who has no involvement in Commission business.
        The Commission decided that it would conduct the pre-hearing conferences and the Executive
        Director agreed to make the necessary arrangements with the City Attorney’s Office.

9. Progress Toward Goals:
    a. The Executive Director advised the Commission that the MFR (Managing For Results) document
        was in their binders as a permanent part of their materials, in keeping with the Auditors’ suggestion.

    b. The Executive Director asked the Commission to review the proposed biennial goals that were
        written based on the MFR document, which was drafted in accordance with the requirements and
        approval of the City Budget Office. Commissioner Harding moved that the Commission go into
        Executive Session to discuss the Goals memo.
Civil Service Commission Minutes                                                                        Page 7
March 28, 2001

        Commissioner Lowthian expressed disagreement and stated that he did not understand why it would
        be necessary to go into Executive Session to discuss this. Commissioner Harding stated that she
        believed it spoke to job performance. Chair Morgan expressed agreement with Commissioner
        Lowthian, stating that he did not understand why this discussion would be held in Executive Session.
        Commissioner Harding withdrew the motion. The Commission agreed to table the discussion of
        Goals and asked the Executive Director to place the subject on its agenda for its next meeting.

    c. The Executive Director reported that customer service goals were on schedule.

    d. Chair Morgan again raised the issue of his scheduling difficulties with respect to the requisites of his
        position at the Zoo and the requirements of the Parks Department. The Executive Director agreed to
        provide a copy of her last draft correspondence to the USDOL to Assistant City Attorney Steve
        Gross so that he could pursue the matter of compensation for hours worked.

10. Adjourn for Lunch:
    a. Commissioner Lowthian moved to adjourn for lunch and Commissioner Harding seconded the
        motion. The motion was passed by acclamation and the Commissioners and staff individually
        adjourned for lunch at 12:00 noon. The Commission reconvened at 1:45 p.m. with all members and
        guests present.

11. Blue Sky:
    a. The Commission introduced a new agenda item. At the suggestion of Steve Gross, the item is to be
        called “Blue Sky,” as it is on City Council agendas and will provide an opportunity for members to
        express matters that may be of interest to the Commission. Commissioner Harding raised three
        items for the Commission’s review:
           20th Annual Civil Service Commission Conference sponsored by Foster, Pepper and Schefelman.
            Commissioner Harding noted that this was an excellent conference and that she had already
            booked her place. The Executive Director agreed that it was an excellent conference and Chair
            Morgan expressed interest in attending. The Chair asked the Executive Director if there were
            sufficient funds for them to do that. The Executive Director responded that $1,000 had been
            allocated for training and that the NOVA program was using $750 of that.
Civil Service Commission Minutes                                                                        Page 8
March 28, 2001

            Chair Morgan noted that a lack of Commissioner training was a concern and that this would
            seem a perfect opportunity to receive this type of training. He asked how funds could be
            obtained for this training. Assistant City Attorney Mary Kay Doherty suggested that the
            Executive Director discuss a possible supplemental appropriation from the City budget office.
            The Executive Director responded that she would research the costs and take the matter up with
            CBO Director Joan Walters.

           King County Bar Association - 34th Annual Pacific Coast Labor and Employment Law
            Conference on May 17 and 18, 2001 at the Washington Convention and Trade Center.

           Adams v Circuit City [Circuit City Stores, Inc. v. Adams 99-1739]. Commissioner Harding
            advised the Commission that the Supreme Court decided, in a 5-4 ruling, that mandatory
            arbitration for routine employment contracts is enforceable. This ruling reversed the 9th Circuit
            in which Washington is located and is particularly significant because it related to both
            represented and non-represented employees protected by civil service rules.

    b. Commissioner Lowthian announced he will be on vacation from April 25 – May 9, 2001.
    c. Commissioner Harding announced she will be unavailable on April 23 due to a fourth invasive
        stomach surgery.
    d. Chair Morgan announced he will be on vacation sometime in mid-May and will notify the
        commission of the exact dates when they are confirmed.

12: Executive Director’s Report:
     a. No cases pending before the Commission. The Executive Director noted that the report would be
        revised to reflect the Commission’s decision to hear the Hill appeal.

     b. 5 appeals currently in SOCR or other agency:
                         Hill (2nd appeal)
                         Forde
                         Lopez
                         Yancy
                         Roberts

     c. 17 appeals currently active at the CSC: 2 from 1999, 14 from 2000, 1 from 2001

                     Total Active Appeals = 17
Civil Service Commission Minutes                                                                          Page 9
March 28, 2001

      Update of CSC cases in Law Dept:

         a. Berry, James, Appellant has not met deadlines – Court has imposed sanctions.
         b. Daniels, Dale: Case with Law Dept – Remanded to CSC for hearing. City appealing.
         c. Alsheikh, Barbara: Classification case – just beginning, no action at this time.
         d. Gregorio, Israel: Writ of Certiorari granted.
         There is no new known action in any of these cases.

         The Commission engaged in a further discussion of the pre-hearing process with respect to the Hill
         appeal and, at the suggestion of the City Attorneys, it was agreed that a more detailed letter
         explaining the pre-hearing conference procedure would be sent to the Public Safety Commissioners
         after the pre-hearing date had been scheduled.

13.      Adjourn to Executive Session:
         a. The Commission adjourned to Executive Session at 2:15 p.m. The subject of their discussion
             was “an internal personnel matter.”

14.      Return to the record:
         a. The Commission returned to the record at 4:08 p.m. The Chair noted for the record that a
             Special Commission Meeting would be held on April 10, 2001 at 2:00 p.m. in the Educational
             Facility at the Woodland Park Zoo to discuss “internal personnel matters.”

         b. The Commission re-established its regular meeting schedule for the year 2001 and changed the
             regular meeting days from Wednesdays to Tuesdays. Commission meetings will now be held on
             the fourth Tuesday of each month at 9:30 a.m.

         c. Commissioner Lowthian moved to adjourn the meeting and Commissioner Harding seconded the
             motion. The meeting was adjourned at 4:09 p.m.

15.      Adjournment:
         All other business pending before the Commission having been completed, the meeting was
         adjourned at 4:09 p.m. The next regular Commission meeting will be held Tuesday, April 24, 2001
         at 9:30 a.m.

 Respectfully Submitted,                                   Approved by:

 ______________________________                            _________________________________
 Miriam Israel Moses      Date                             Ken R. Morgan             Date
 Executive Director                                        Chairperson

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