Chair Hagerty called the meeting to order at 8:00 a.m.
Minutes It was moved by Kari Landsem, seconded by Judge McEvers, to approve the May 13, June
27, and July 21, 2011, minutes. With the correction of a typographical error on the June 27
minutes, the motion carried.
Comments to Proposed Personnel Policies The Personnel Records, Sick Leave, Filling Classified Position Vacancies, and Honor Guard
Leave policies were circulated to employees for comment. Two comments were received.
A correction was made to a typographical error under section D1, line 2, of the Filling Classified
Position Vacancies policy.
It was moved by Rod Olson, seconded by Ross Munns, to approve the proposed changes
and forward the polices to the Supreme Court for consideration. The motion carried
Request to Eliminate Deputy Clerk I and Secretary I Positions The court administrators are proposing eliminating the Deputy Clerk I and Secretary I
classifications which would allow recruitment for these positions in pay grade 10.
Chair Hagerty indicated she received an email from Ted Smith requesting the Board consider
eliminating the Library Assistant I position when reviewing the other requests.
Rod Olson stated the salary is so low that people who have the necessary experience are not
applying. Applicants who have the experience that are hired as Deputy Is are required to work at
the “purgatory” salary for six months. New employees hired as Deputy Is are cross trained to do
the same work as Deputy IIs. He said the court administrators are interested in hiring at the
higher salary to attract the best applicants.
Ross Munns said in discussing this with Donna Wunderlich, hiring at the Deputy I position
waters down the applicant pool because the higher quality applicants do not want to spend six
months at the lower salary.
Judge McEvers suggested rather than eliminating a position that changes be made to the hiring
policy to be able to advertise at the II with the option to underfill at the lower level if we do not
receive the qualified applicants. She said there are a lot of people to choose from in the larger
cities, but the smaller cities might not have a lot of qualified applicants and we might be actually
hurting ourselves by eliminating the position.
Chair Hagerty expressed her concern that changing the hiring policy would undermine the whole
system and would cause more problems in the long run because it would also then apply to other
positions and other settings.
Ms. Holewa stated it appears the administrators would rather eliminate the training and hire more
experienced people. She said while that is a policy decision, we need to consider what impact it
would have on the system we adopted only seven year ago. The step system is based on hiring
people with minimum skill and keeping them below market rate until they reach a proficiency
which is midrange. At that point, we start to pay them more than market rate to reward them for
the experience gained on the job. Our step system is funded by what we save in turnover. We do
not receive any additional appropriation to cover the steps. If we start to raise the minimum rate
at which we hire people, we are going to impact our ability to give our current employees their
step increase. She also commented with regard to the career ladder, if we hire someone as a I
with no experience and that person can do the job after six months with full proficiency, then we
have indicated that the II positions are rated too high.
Petra Hulm indicated she had some concerns with eliminating the positions because the system is
designed to hire people at entry level and have them progress through the system. She said some
of the requirements include being skilled in district court operations and routines of case
processing and scheduling as well as being skilled in preparing orders and judgments and reports.
Those are skills someone outside the court system is not going to have. She said in reviewing the
statistics, 67% went from a I to a II within six months which gives the appearance that we do not
necessarily have a problem attracting people. She has a philosophical problem with the theory
that they do the same job so they should make the same pay or be at the same level.
Ms. Holewa said funding the step system is something we have to keep in mind, but more than
that is the philosophy of what do we want to do with our employees. If we want to get away
from training people, then the step system will not work. It is not designed for that and it will not
continue to work. The alternative is to move to what the rest of the state does which is hire
everyone at market rate and then all they receive is the legislative increase.
It was moved by Ross Munns, seconded by Rod Olson, to table this until the next meeting.
The motion carried unanimously.
Temporary Statewide Policy 2011 Flood Fighting Activities Judge Hagerty said she and Ted Smith edited the flood fighting policy and a copy was distributed
to the Board members. Judge McEvers withdrew her proposed policy.
It was moved by Judge McEvers, seconded by Kari Landsem, to adopt the proposed
statewide policy for 2011 flood fighting prepared by Ted and Judge Hagerty.
Amy Klein said most of the Red River flooding occurred in March and April and questioned
whether the policy would be beneficial to employees. Judge McEvers responded it does help the
people in Jamestown and Valley City who are currently sandbagging. She noted the policy may
be applied retroactively to leave occurring after May 1 to avoid problems with crossing over the
After a roll call vote was taken, the motion carried unanimously.
Community Emergency Policy Draft Ms. Klein reviewed the proposed changes to the Emergency and Disaster Services Volunteer
Leave policy. She said the draft eliminates the word “volunteer” from the title of the policy, adds
that the requested leave is at the supervisor’s discretion, and adds that an employee may request
to use the 40 hours of leave to volunteer for public prevention or recovery efforts or when an
employee’s life, the lives of immediate household members, or the employee’s personal property
Because of the legal meaning of personal property, it was the consensus of the Board to delete
the word “personal” from the last line in section A. 1.c.
Chair Hagerty said it seems unfair not to include other organizations that are providing services.
Ms. Holewa said the statute allows state employees who are certified to volunteer their services.
However, she would be interested in how other agencies are responding because we are funded
by taxpayer dollars and have a fiscal obligation to put limitations on what we release people for
and pay them to do. If we open it up to other charities, it gets to be difficult to decide the
It was the consensus of the Board to remove the “s” from the word “towards” in section A.1.b.
In response to a question from Ross Munns on how Ms. Klein arrived at the 80 hours of leave per
calendar year, Ms. Klein responded the language was taken from Century Code.
It was moved by Judge McEvers, seconded by Justice Kapsner, to adopt the proposed
policy 131 as corrected and forwarded to employees for comment. A roll call vote was
taken and the motion carried unanimously.
Other Business Amy Klein recalled at the last meeting during the discussion on Senate Bill 2233, the Board
asked her to contact DHS inquiring if it was possible to make our HR Department the designee to
report when someone has knowledge of any pornography on a workplace computer. She said
DHS highly recommended the court follow the language as stated in the bill that the person who
has knowledge or reasonable care to suspect abuse must be the one who reports it to DHS. Ms.
Klein said the Board now needs to decide if language should be included in the Code of Conduct
or if it should be incorporated in annual training.
Chair Hagerty suggested language be added to Code of Conduct so everyone knows what is
required of them.
Justice Kapsner said our current policy states we have to comply with all laws and questioned
whether we want to start separating the laws with which we need to comply. Petra Hulm recalled
at the last meeting, she was one who thought it should be included as part of training to eliminate
listing all the things that we want people to adhere to.
Because the law refers specifically to workplace computers, Ms. Holewa indicated she was in
favor of adding language to the policy.
Ms. Klein will provide a draft of the policy at the next meeting.