It was moved by Justice McEvers, seconded by Judge Hagerty, to approve the minutes. An editorial suggestion was made by Justice McEvers to include the full sentence in the final motion striking the language that would be removed and underlining the language to be added. The motion carried.
Sally Holewa explained the unit 1 court administrator has submitted a request to reclassify an administrative assistant II position to an electronic court recorder position. Since hired, the person’s primary duty has been court recording for the referees. Because the administrative assistant II and electronic court recorder position are in the same pay grade, there would not be a change in salary.
It was moved by Judge Hagerty, seconded by Justice Sandstrom, to approve the request.
In response to a question from Ted Smith asking if there are set numbers within districts for how many court recorders they can have, Ms. Holewa responded there is no minimum or maximum. Judge Hagerty stated the goal in their district is to have one per judicial officer.
The motion carried and the request will be forwarded to the Supreme Court for consideration.
Electronic Court Recorder Training Plan
Sally Holewa drew the members attention to a memo written by Kim Nelsen, who serves as chair of the Digital Recording Workgroup. She explained that the memo covers two topics. First, the recorders are asking for clarification on whether they will need to be recertified and making an argument for why recertification should not be required. Second, they are asking for some modifications to the training plan they submitted to the Board last year. Ms. Holewa suggested that the two requests be treated separately. She said that the issue of recertification is properly before the Board because if it were to be required, the position description would have to be modified. She said that the issue of changes to the training plan are outside the scope of what the Personnel Policy Board has been involved with in the past. She explained that, as things currently stand, the training plan exists in somewhat of a no-man’s land. It was originally developed by the Digital Recording Workgroup when we were contemplating building our own testing requirements. Because that was a project that was under the auspices of the Board, the training plan was brought forward and approved by the Board. However, we’ve since gone in a different direction. She said that normally the Director of Education would be handling such things as choosing workbooks and hiring appropriate speakers for conference. She suggested that rather than taking any action on these issues that the entire work plan be referred to the Director of Education for standard implementation.
It was the consensus of the Board to forward the plan to the education department to implement.
In response to a question from Susan Hoffer asking if the recertification process would contain any different material or training, Ms. Holewa stated it is her understanding that it would essentially be a retest.
Ms. Holewa stated that we currently do not require recertification for the court reporters.
It was moved by Susan Hoffer, seconded by Judge Hagerty, to not require recertification.
Ms. Holewa said with regard to the manual, it is complete and has been distributed to the court recorders. Some of the recorders who have already taken the test have agreed to review the manual and the testing process with the other recorders over a series of lunchtime webinars. The recorders all have the AAERT manual as well the grammar books. The mentor program should also be finalized in the near future.
The motion carried.
Sick Leave Policy
Sally Holewa said Dion Ulrich, Supervisor of Accounting, has requested clarification of the policy in regard to the implementation of the legislative change that was adopted a few years ago to allow an employee to use an additional 10% of sick leave for family sick leave. This is in addition to the 80 hours that have been in our policy. The first question is 10% of what amount, and the second question is whether it is for a one time use.
In response to a question from Judge Hagerty asking if the executive branch has defined it, Amy Klein said they use a calendar year but have not defined the 10%.
Ted Smith said in looking at some of the sick leave accruals for the court, some people have 4,000 hours so 10% would equate to 400 hours of leave. Susan Hoffer suggested the Board carefully consider what would be approved because it could cause a great hardship for some offices.
For the purposes of discussion, it was moved by Judge Hagerty, seconded by Justice Sandstrom, that 10% of the accrued sick leave as of January 1 of each year be calculated and that this 10% could be used throughout the year.
In response to a question asking what the purpose is for the 80 hours, Ms. Holewa responded this allows a person to continue drawing on sick leave instead of having to go to annual leave.
Rod Olson said under section D.3.b., the appointing authority would have to approve the use of the 10% so this would prevent a hardship to the office.
Ms. Holewa said the use is not limited to major medical.
Ms. Holewa suggested the second paragraph in D.3.b. be amended to read as follows: If allowed, the additional sick leave is calculated by taking may not exceed 10% of an employee’s accrued sick leave balance on as of January 1 of each calendar year.
In response to a question asking if a person requested the leave in July, would they refer back to the balance as of January 1, Ms. Holewa responded yes, every request would refer back to the January 1 balance. Otherwise the balance would be shifting from month to month. By using a fixed date, we could capture a balance and everyone would know what additional time they might have available at any time during the year.
Judge Hagerty, with the approval of the second, accepted Ms. Holewa’s suggestion as an amendment to the motion and also included the reference to the per calendar year in the first sentence of D.3.b.
The motion carried and will be sent out to employees for comment.
Physical Requirement Section in Job Classifications
Sally Holewa recalled at the last meeting the Board raised concerns with the wording of the physical requirements under the job classifications and asked Ms. Klein to do some research on the language. Ms. Holewa said instead of trying to substitute language for all of the different verbs, she suggested leaving the language as is and add the language “or be able to perform the duties in some other acceptable manner.” She said for example if someone is able to perform the job without reaching or grasping, it is acceptable as long as they can get the job done.
It was the consensus of the Board to have Ms. Klein insert the language in a few job classifications for review at the next meeting.
Distracted Driving Policy
Amy Klein explained the North Dakota Risk Management Division is encouraging all agencies to voluntarily adopt and implement distracted driving policies that restrict the use of handheld cell phones while driving on state business. Ms. Klein said two sample policies are included in the meeting materials for the Board’s consideration.
In response to a questing asking if this applies to people who are using their personal vehicles, Ms. Klein responded it applies if a person is using his/her vehicle for work purposes during working hours.
Justice McEvers stated of the two samples provided, the second one is better because it is shorter, however, she likes the last sentence of the second policy along with a reference to the century code so people could look it up.
Susan Hoffer suggested adding language to clarify that the vehicle could be pulled over and stopped and a call taken.
Judge Hagerty said she is unsure why we should restrict people further than state law does when using their personal vehicles.
Ms. Holewa stated the suggestion from Risk Management is part of risk mitigation. She also noted that most of the time an employee is going to be using a state fleet vehicle when they are traveling during working hours and they are covered under the state fleet restrictions.
In response to a question asking if any other agencies have adopted the restrictions, Ms. Klein responded as of this point, she is not aware that State Fleet or any agency has adopted a policy. Currently, the State Fleet manual states text messaging is prohibited by state law.
It was the consensus of the Board to table the matter for six months to see what other agencies are doing.
Proposed Policy on Respectful Workplace Training
Sally Holewa said the proposed Respectful Workplace Training policy is before the Board for consideration. The policy is for risk mitigation purposes and shows organizational support in reviewing policies and providing training that promotes a safe and respectful workplace.
In response to a question from Susan Hoffer asking how this compares to the review of the harassment policies, Ms. Holewa said it does not affect any of the policies, it is basically saying that the Court System will train employees or require employees to review certain policies.
In response to a question from Judge Hagerty asking if employees are required to review the policy manual annually, Ms. Holewa said it is recommended and we have been doing it as part of our risk management, however, there is nothing in writing. Basically, the draft policy will formalize the training on an annual basis. Both the State Court Administrator and Director of Human Resources have language in their respective job classification descriptions stating they will implement risk management. Part of risk management is risk mitigation by training people about policies and procedures. However, there is a lot of push back from employees and supervisors.
Ted Smith noted that the auditors are recommending that we require that the manual be reviewed once a year.
Justice Sandstrom stated that the most recent training relative to sexual harassment was lengthy, burdensome and not particularly helpful. He said while the court strongly opposes sexual harassment and acknowledges the need to train employees, some training guidelines should be developed that are reasonable, cost-effective and appropriate for everyone.
Judge Hagerty suggested and Justice McEvers agreed that different training should be offered for people with different educational backgrounds.
Susan Hoffer indicated that the time it takes employees to complete the training should also be taken into consideration. She said for the most recent training, she had to dedicate 12 hours of staff time, and after the training her staff did not believe there was a value to that 12 hours of diverted staff time for the information gained.
Rod Olson said he had a lot of good remarks from staff about the training and they thought it was well worth their time. He agrees, however, that training should not be too lengthy.
Judge McEvers suggested having employees choose from a list of training opportunities to take on an annual basis so the employee could choose the training that is most appropriate for their situation. The training could be tracked through PeopleSoft. She also noted that the deadline to complete the training is also important. Because of the demands of people’s workloads, they should be given ample time to complete it.
Justice Sandstrom noted that refreshers are good and training needs to be appropriate and well planned with clarity and conciseness.
Ross Munns said with regard to the most recent training, it caused an undue hardship on the people in juvenile court because they have citrix boxes instead of computers. Therefore, they had to rotate to a computer to take the training. The methodology is pertinent in terms of efficiency for staff and use of their time.
Judge Hagerty and Ross Munns offered to draft a policy for review at the next meeting.
The next meeting is scheduled for June 27, 2014.
Meeting adjourned at 10:25 a.m.