City of Seattle Civil Service Commission
Special Meeting -May 15, 2001
1. Call to Order:
The special meeting of the City of Seattle Civil Service Commission was called to order by
Chairperson Ken Morgan at 2:10 p.m. on May 15, 2001 in the Commission’s Hearing Room located
in the Arctic Building, 700 Third Avenue, Seattle, Washington.
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
Margaret Klockars, Assistant City Attorney
Mary Kay Doherty, Assistant City Attorney, joined the meeting later.
3. Hill Appeal:
The Chair advised the assembly that there were certain procedural aspects of the Hill appeal that
he wanted to have clarified prior to going into closed session to deliberate the matter. He
requested clarification from Assistant City Attorney, Margaret Klockars, who is serving as legal
advisor to the Commission in this appeal, regarding the time limits that were given to the
Commission for ruling on a motion from the City. The Chair reminded the Commission they
were first given a timeline of 72 hours and then of 20 days. He further noted that he was given
to understand that if no ruling was made within the specified time, the appellant would prevail.
Attorney Klockars extended her apologies to the Commission noting that she had misunderstood
the Commission’s rules in this regard. The Executive Director noted that there is no procedural
timeline established for responses to motions or rulings on them in the CSC rules, and that this
is one of the elements that is being dealt with in the rules revision process. She told the
Commission that since there is no timeline established in the rules for responding to motions or
ruling on them, there is no penalty for exceeding a given number of days.
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May 15, 2001
The Chair took up the matter of Ms. Hill’s request for a continuance and asked if he could
obtain a coherent calendar that had specific dates on it as to when things were due and when
things would happen so that the Commission could act in a timely manner. The Executive
Director told Chair Morgan that, if he did not have a copy of the “Plain Language Guide,” she
would provide him with one. She advised that the last two pages contained a list of all of the
deadlines that needed to be followed for all aspects of a Commission appeal.
The Executive Director also advised that the Commission rules do not contain any procedures
for dealing with motions and, as such, there are no timelines or penalties established with
respect to the Commission’s response to them. She noted that there was some confusion
because of the Keiffer decision, which requires a ruling on a hearing within 90 days of the close
of the record. She noted that there might also be some confusion because of the many 20
deadlines that are established in the law and rules.
Chair Morgan asked whether he could be assured that the Commission would not find
themselves in a situation where they were required to make an immediate decision without
having the opportunity to meet. The Executive Director assured him that this was the case.
Commissioner Harding noted that there were two important issues which need to be dealt with
in the rules. The first was the matter of timeliness raised in the Gregorio decision and the
second was the matter of how days were counted - whether calendar or business, for example.
The Executive Director advised that the current rules provide for the use of calendar days when
computing time unless the last day of a given time period falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal
The Executive Director noted that there would be an Order entered after the Commission ruled
on the City’s Motion to Dismiss and that they might take advantage of that Order to set a
schedule for discovery, the second pre-hearing and the hearing itself.
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May 15, 2001
3.a Adjourn to Closed Session for Deliberation of Hill Appeal:
The Commission adjourned to Closed Session at 2:40 p.m. to deliberate and rule on the City’s
Motion to Dismiss in the appeal of Mamie Hill.
3.b Return to the Record:
The Commission returned to open session at 3:00 p.m. and shifted the order of its agenda so that
its final ruling on the City’s Motion to Dismiss could be prepared for reading into the record.
The Commission proceeded with Agenda Items 5 and 6.
4. Distribution of Auditor Report on PSCSC (Agenda Item 5):
The Commission reviewed the Auditor’s Final Report on the Public Safety Civil Service
Commission with a special interest on the second recommendation established in the report.
This recommendation would involve merging the PSCSC with the CSC. Prior to any discussion
of this matter, the Commission decided to watch the video tape of the May 2, 2001 meeting of
the Finance and Budget Committee during which this matter was raised.
5. Video - Finance and Budget Committee - May 2, 2001 (Agenda Item 6).
The Executive Director introduced the section of the video tape that was to be reviewed. The
Commission viewed a video of the May 2, 2001 meeting of the Finance and Budget Committee
during which there was a review of supplemental budget requests. Among these was a
supplemental budget request for the Public Safety Civil Service Commission. Councilmember
Jim Compton, who is not a member of the F&B Committee, but who Chairs the Public Safety
and Technology Committee, attended this meeting and read into the record the section of the
Auditor’s report that made recommendations regarding the future of the PSCSC.
The Chair noted that the Commission completed the viewing of the video tape at 3:40 p.m. and
was returning to the regular taped record. It was agreed by the Commission that the video tape,
itself, would serve as the “taped” record of this section of its meeting.
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May 15, 2001
6. Return to Ruling on Motion to Dismiss - Hill v. PSCSC (Agenda Item 3 continued):
The Chair noted that the next order of business was to return to Agenda Item No. 3 and read into
the record the Commission’s decision on the City’s Motion to Dismiss in the appeal of Mamie
Hill v. the Public Safety Civil Service Commission. The Chair read the following ruling into
Because there has been no final action, this appeal is premature. Pursuant to Civil
Service Commission Rules of Practice and Procedure the appeal is hereby stayed
until the action becomes final and the Motion to Dismiss is hereby denied. The
motion by the appellant for an extension of time for discovery requests is moot and
The Commissioners signed and dated the ruling.
7. Return to Discussion of Auditor Report and F&B Video on PSCSC (Agenda Item 5 cont.):
The Chair returned the meeting to the discussion of the Auditor’s Report and the video
containing the recommendations of the Auditors with respect to the future of the PSCSC. The
Executive Director pointed out the recommendations made by the Auditors. These were:
A. Incorporate non-appeal functions of PSCSC into Personnel Department;
B. Combine PSCSC and CSC utilizing same group of Commissioners - which,
under section D [below] might involve shifting from three to five
C. Alignment PSCSC with the Police Department.
D. PSCSC should be expanded to a 5 member Commission. 2 each from Mayor and
Council and 1 from employees and that this one group serve as the
Commissioners for both the CSC and PSCSC.
E. Keep things as the currently are.
The Executive Director noted that the second and fourth recommendation might require
complex changes to Charter and might have a statewide impact because the PSCSC was
established in state law. Assistant Attorney Mary Kay Doherty offered to speak to the issue
because she serves as attorney for both the PSCSC and the CSC and has some expertise in this
area. Ms. Doherty noted that, with respect to combining the Commissions, Commissioner
Lowthian had previously received an opinion from a private attorney regarding the feasibility of
such a merger. Commissioner Lowthian noted that the CSC & PSCSC joined together to solicit
this legal opinion. The Executive Director noted that the CSC still had a copy of the opinion.
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May 15, 2001
Assistant City Attorney Mary Kay Doherty explained the pertinent RCW’s stating that, since
they allow municipalities to create their own similar systems, the City can change the way its
Public Safety Civil Service Commission is set up as long as it accomplishes the purposes of the
prescribed in state law. Therefore, the City could, by enacting legislation, change the make-up
of its Public Safety Civil Service Commission, but a change in the Civil Service Commission
would require a vote by the electorate because it would require a change to the City Charter.
She provided some examples of how the RCW’s currently differed from the Municipal Code.
She also asked to see a copy of the legal opinion obtained by both Commissions.
Assistant City Attorney Doherty also noted that the Auditors might have recommended
increasing the size of the Commissions to five members because it was so difficult for
Commissioners to talk to each other without having a meeting. With three members, any two
who discuss Commission business constitute a quorum, which would require a public meeting.
With five people, two people could meet to talk things over without it constituting a quorum.
The Executive Director noted that while a five member Commission might have advantages in
terms of how the Commission works, the employees might have serious concerns about having
minority representation on a Commission that is established as an employee appellate body.
She also noted that if the same group of people served as Commissioners for both Commissions,
that might present a problem in terms of the different kinds of work that they do. She also noted
that the functions of the two Commissions were also different and that combining them could
prove problematic on that ground.
The Executive Director noted that the report by the Auditors contained only partial information,
when it explained that the 1996 attempt to effort to Commissions was unsuccessful because of
complaints from uniformed personnel. The report did not mention that both Commissions
objected and that there were legal arguments made at the time that were in opposition to the
merger. The Executive Director also told the Commission that, to the best of her knowledge,
the Auditors did not request any information on the prior attempt at merging the two
Commissions, since they had not requested any such information from her as a part of their
audit of the CSC.
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May 15, 2001
Assistant City Attorney Doherty asked if there was any further status information on the
Auditor’s proposal. Commissioner Lowthian advised that the Council would be reviewing the
proposals and recommendations. The Executive Director informed the group that the PSCSC
requested an extension to the May 11, 2001 deadline for responding to the report and that, to the
best of her knowledge, the PSCSC was in the process of completing a response which would
include an action plan.
All of the Commissioners expressed a concern that the Auditors have raised these matters as
part of the PSCSC report and had said nothing to the CSC about these matters. The Executive
Director noted that she would be meeting with Deputy Auditor David Jones on the coming
Thursday. Commissioners discussed whether the Executive Director should discuss this issue in
her meeting or whether the Auditors should speak directly to the Commissioners.
Commissioner Lowthian informed the group that he would be meeting with the Mayor and that
this issue might be raised during that meeting. The Commissioners agreed that they would
prefer to talk to the Auditors individually.
Attorney Doherty requested a copy of the opinion written by outside counsel with respect to
merging the Commissions and the Executive Director said that she would locate it and share it
with the Ms. Doherty and the Commissioners.
Chair Morgan requested an update on the office situation for Mary Effertz and was advised that
a temporary office had been given to her by PSCSC Director Ruby Harris, pending the hiring of
a replacement for the employee who had previously occupied the space.
The Commission agreed to take a short break at 4:00 and returned to the record at 4:15 p.m.
8. Discussion of Agenda Items (Agenda Item 4):
The Chair returned to agenda item 4 and raised the issue of certain items that required work by
the Commission. The list of items included the following:
A. The Auditors’ Report: The Chair noted that, while the Commission had not yet received
the final report, the Commission had acted on certain recommendations and not on others.
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May 15, 2001
He advised that it was his intention, when the final report was received, to go through all of
the recommendations and have the Commission vote on each one.
B. The “Knox Report:” The Chair stated that he believed that there had not really been
closure on the Investigative Report by Ron Knox and that he wished this to be revisited.
C. Office Procedures: The Chair advised that the Executive Director received a list of
proposed procedures to which she had responded and that the Commission needed to
respond to the Executive Director’s response, leaving it an open issue.
D. Meet with Executive Director: The Chair noted that the Commission wanted to meet with
the Executive Director and that there were several questions that needed to be asked of her.
He stated that he was uncertain as to whether this should occur in a public or closed meeting
but that the Executive Director would be invited to give input on that matter because some
of the questions would be quite pointed with respect to her conduct. He said that a case
could be made for doing it either way and that the matter needed to be resolved.
E. “Plain Language Guide:” Needs to be reviewed and still remains an open item.
F. Rules: Revisions need to be completed and this is a priority item.
G. Conference between the three Commissioners, alone, in Executive Session. He noted that,
with very brief exceptions, there have always been others present during their meetings. He
noted that the three Commissioners had a certain amount of business that they needed to
reveal among themselves.
H. Report from Steven Gross due regarding conference between Darwyn Anderson and
Parks Dept. Administration regarding the treatment of Chair Morgan by management with
respect to the amount of time he is required to spend on Commission business.
I. Gregorio update: The Executive Director noted that most recent activity was that a judge
was selected and a schedule was set. Commissioner Harding explained that this was a
standard King County Superior Court procedure to assign a case to an Individual Calendar
Judge in order to move cases on the calendar to hear motions, resolve discovery disputes etc.
J. Goals & Business Plan: Agreement on Executive Director’s goals for evaluation purposes
and for the award of Variable Performance Pay.
K. Minutes: Approval of the minutes of the February 2001 with respect to the language
discussing the presentation made by Personnel on Variable Performance Pay.
L. Review of material in letter from Mayor: While Commissioners have provided an initial
response, when Auditor’s final report is released, there may be a need for a secondary letter.
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May 15, 2001
The Chair asked if there were any further agenda items that needed to be reviewed. Assistant City
Attorney Mary Kay Doherty added that she was under the impression that the proposed Ordinance
enacting the recent Charter Change had already been sent up to council and noted that it had not
been. The Executive Director explained that it had not been completed because there was still a
question as to whether the regular member would continue to receive a stipend while the pro tem
was serving. She advised that, in order to adopt the rules related to this, the legislation would have
to be passed.
Attorney Doherty suggested that the issue of the stipend be set aside and placed in a separate
ordinance. The Executive Director read the proposed legislation to the Commission and noted that
it was limited to the Commission’s service in an adjudicative capacity. Commissioner Harding
noted that this was appropriate because it would only occur in rare instances. The Executive
Director noted that limiting the pro tem to adjudicative work would also have the benefit of not
getting pro-tems involved in other Commission business, such as employee evaluations.
Commissioner Lowthian asked that the language of the proposed stipend legislation be read and the
Executive Director complied. The proposed legislation allows for the payment of a pro-rated
stipend while the regular commissioner continues to receive his/her regular stipend. She noted that
it was possible that, as written, the Commission might well be paying two stipends for the same
time period. The maximum amount of money for which the Commission would be liable, however,
was not enough to justify any concern because someone who was unable to serve for a lengthy
period of time, would likely resign. Commissioner Harding suggested that a policy statement be
written that defines the parameters for pro tems.
Attorney Doherty advised that, in her opinion, the most important thing would be to have legislation
adopted that would allow for the appointment of a temporary commissioner and that other issues,
such as the payment of stipends could be handled in separate legislation at a different time. She
suggested that she send her most recent version to the Commissioners. Commissioner Harding
suggested that the legislation include a selection process for the pro tem. There was some
discussion of what had gone into previous drafts with respect to this process and the Executive
Director advised that, to the best of her recollections, the Commission had agreed to maintain a list
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May 15, 2001
of approximately three pre-qualified people, but that this would not be formalized. It would be
done as a matter of practice or policy.
Commissioner Harding asked if venues had been selected to use as resources to locate potential
candidates. Attorney Doherty noted that the PSCSC usually just selects a higher ranking officer
from the Police or Fire Department. She noted that it was up to the Commissioners to decide what
the criteria for selection would be.
9. Rules (Agenda Item 4):
The Commission was presented with draft rules that incorporated elements of the 1999 Charter
revision with respect to the appointment of a pro tem Commissioner and agreed that there were
further issues that required discussion and resolution before the legislation and related rules
could be completed. City Attorney Doherty and the Executive Director agreed to work on these
between Commission meetings and present new drafts when they were completed.
The Commission engaged in a discussion of proposed rule changes with City Attorney Doherty
and the Executive Director. The Commission discussed and agreed to certain changes to the
A. Global change of the term “Staff Assistant” to “Executive Director.”
B. Language for requesting public records from CSC [CSCR 2.09] and charges for
same based on SMC 3.104.010. Requests are made in accordance with the RCW.
C. Record of proceedings. CSC will not decide if party is reimbursed for cost of
transcript because Court will decide whether a party will be reimbursed.
D. Change to CSCR 8.06 regarding the requirement that taped proceedings contain an
counter index of taped testimony and exhibits. The Executive Director advised that
this no longer occurs because it places a great strain on Commission staff resources
and the numbers do not coincide with counters on the Commission’s taping system.
The CSC deck records at a slower than standard speed because it plays back as
variable speeds for transcription and is intended for CSC staff to locate specific
testimony. She told the Commission that the need to locate testimony was rare.
E. Transcriptions on Writs of Certiorari - needs further discussion in terms of whether
the Commission will certify a transcript that is not prepared by a licensed court
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May 15, 2001
reporter. It can be the same as written in the City Hearing Examiner’s rules. There
was no final decision on this proposed rule.
Executive Director noted that she had made changes to the order of rules to make them easier to
understand. She told the Commission that until the “Plain Language Guide” was re-released,
this change would be even more important because employees need to be able to understand the
rules as they are written.
Mary Kay proposed that she would use the Executive Director’s version and create one
consolidated version that included the changes that were made so that it was all inclusive.
The Chair asked if any member wished to offer a motion to adjourn. Commissioner Harding moved
to adjourn, Commissioner Lowthian seconded the motion and the meeting was adjourned at 5:00
p.m. The next meeting will be held on May 22, 2001.
Respectfully Submitted, Approved by:
Miriam Israel Moses Date Ken R. Morgan Date
Executive Director Chairperson