Ms. Klein stated when drafting the new policy manual, she would like to refer to the employees as regular employees, temporary employees and supervisors throughout the manual rather than using the term appointing authority.
Judge Hagerty suggested that because of the way many of the position descriptions are written, simply using the word supervisor will not work as there are many different varying levels.
It was suggested that the term Unified Judicial System be used instead of Supreme Court when referring to the employees throughout the policy manual.
It was the consensus of the Board to grant permission to Ms. Klein to present an early draft or outline of a new policy manual at the next meeting or in the near future.
Comments on Appointing Authority
The draft changes to Policies 102 and 103 were sent out to employees for comment. The proposed changes to Policies 102 and 103 updated the definition of appointing authority. Two comments were received.
It was moved by Judge Hagerty, seconded by Ted Smith, to approve the draft Policy Definitions page.
It was moved by Justice Kapsner, seconded by Rod Olson, to change paragraphs 1, 2 and 8 of the Policy Definitions page to read as follows: 1. Chief Justice for the State Court Administrator, Judicial Secretary of the Chief Justice, Director of Central Legal Staff, and Supreme Court Law Librarian; 2. Justices and Chief Justice for Clerk of Supreme Court, Judicial Secretary-Justice, and Supreme Court Law Clerks; and 8. Trial Court Administrator for all trial court positions except for those appointed by the presiding judge. The motion carried.
After brief discussion, the motion carried to amend the draft Policy Definitions as amended.
It was moved by Judge Hagerty, seconded by Rod Olson, that the appointing authority definition in Policies 102 and 103 be changed to reflect the new definition of appointing authority and be sent to the supreme court for consideration. The motion carried.
The Board recently received a request from an employee asking the Board to clarify the Funeral Leave section under the Leave policy. It was questioned that if the funeral and burial do not follow one another on consecutive days, will an employee be allowed to use funeral leave to attend the burial at a later date? The Board reviewed and discussed the policy and several other court's policies resulting in the following motions.
After brief discussion, it was moved by Judge Hagerty, seconded by Gladys Schmitt, to amend the title of Section 3, Policy 102, to read "Funeral and Burial Leave" and remove the word "consecutive" from the first line under section 3a. The motion carried.
It was moved by Judge Hagerty, seconded by Justice Kapsner, to amend Section 3b to read, "Funeral and burial leave is not sick leave or annual leave." The motion carried.
It was moved by Gladys Schmitt, seconded by Rod Olson, to add niece and nephew or domestic partner after the words "or the employee's aunt or uncle" under paragraph 3a. The motion carried. The policy will be sent out to employees for comment.
Chief Deputy Clerk Reclassification Request
Amy Klein said the Board received a request for reclassification for the Chief Deputy Clerk of Court position. She said new duties have been added to the position such as drafting orders and judgments, as well as developing and implementing training for court staff and attorneys working outside the judicial branch. She noted additional supervisory duties have also been added to the position. The position was last reviewed by the Board in January 2002 and updated by the Supreme Court in February 2004. Currently, the position is assigned to pay grade 20, and the request would elevate it to pay grade 21.
Justice Kapsner stated the Chief Deputy reviews every case that comes before the court and then writes an appealability memorandum to the court or chief justice. She said the position also has daily contact with the public.
Judge Hagerty said the Chief Deputy position is very specialized field that requires a lot of knowledge and excellent research and writing skills.
After brief discussion, it was moved by Judge Hagerty, seconded by Justice Kapsner, that the position be reclassified to a pay grade 21 and the proposed changes to the job classification be approved. The motion carried.
Rod Olson expressed concern that some of the classifications are becoming outdated.
Consistent Language for Job Classifications
Amy Klein stated we received comments from supervisors on the Board's proposal to modify the minimum qualifications for the existing court classifications. One of the comments received stated a high school or GED education level with the three years of legal experience is inadequate for the job responsibilities of a Clerk of District Court I.
The Clerk of District Court II differs from the Clerk of District Court I in that the Clerk of District Court II supervises nine or more staff.
Rod Olson said the Court Administrators have discussed it and would look for someone with a four year degree to fill a Clerk II position.
In response to a question as to whether or not the requirement of a college degree would change the classification, Ms. Klein stated it may not.
Judge Hagerty suggested a two-year degree may be appropriate for the Clerk I.
Chair Geiger stated in the more rural areas, the clerk does a lot more hands on day-to-day tasks so they gain their experience from that.
It was moved by Rod Olson, seconded by Gladys Schmitt, to send the proposed changes to the minimum qualifications of the job classifications to the supreme court for consideration. The motion carried.
It was moved by Judge Hagerty, seconded by Jerrold Arneson, to amend the education requirements for Clerk of District Court I to require future hires to have a two-year degree and the requirements for Clerk of District Court II for future hires to have a four year degree.
In response to a question from Gladys Schmitt asking if a specific type of four-year degree would be required, Ms. Klein suggested using a business management or related degree.
It was moved by Judge Hagerty, seconded by Gladys Schmitt, to table the motion to allow Amy Klein to draft proposed language for the education requirement of the job classification and to evaluate it in terms of pay grade adjustment. The motion carried.
Amy Klein recalled at the November 26, 2008 emergency meeting of the Board, the members requested the issue of hiring court reporters be included as an agenda item at the next regularly scheduled meeting. In addition, the Board received a request for pay grade review for court reporters from Judge Schmalenberger and Donna Wunderlich.
It was moved by Judge Hagerty, seconded by Rod Olson, to consider the request for reclassification.
Chair Geiger said pay grade is a component of solving the problem of attracting court reporters; however, there are other things that need to be resolved that may be beyond the scope of the Board.
Justice Kapsner stated the court reporters are out of compliance with market conditions.
Judge Hagerty said not only do we need to address adjusting the salary we offer to new court reporters, but we also need to consider the people who are already in the system.
Chair Geiger noted that Colorado has a three-tiered system. Judge Hagerty added that Colorado also has a managing court reporter, which is also something North Dakota could consider.
Ms. Klein said she contacted Montana and they have been unsuccessful in hiring reporters so they hire transcriptionists. Their transcriptionists are hired at $2,981 a month, which is equivalent to step 1 of our court reporters. Wyoming has no trouble hiring court reporters, and they solely use court reporters. They are paid $4,489 per month plus $3.25 per page transcribed and a $1.25 per copy, which is equivalent to our staff attorneys. Wyoming's court reporters make as much as their staff attorneys and that is written in their statute.
Mr. Olson noted a lot of the college graduates are going to TV stations.
After further discussion, it was moved by Judge Hagerty to approve the request to increase the court reporter salary to pay grade 14 based on market conditions and the employee will remain on the same step they are now. The motion died for a lack of a second.
It was moved by Rod Olson, seconded by Jerrold Arneson, to have Amy Klein review the matter and bring her recommendation along with any future costs to the next meeting. The motion carried.
Some of the alternatives Ms. Klein should consider are: moving the reporters to pay grade 14; taking a reporter's current salary and adding 5%; implementing a three-tiered system similar to that used in Colorado; and reviewing information from the National Center or other resources for national statistics.
Chair Geiger thanked Mr. Olson for his valuable service to the committee. Chris Myers was elected to replace Mr. Olson.
Amy Klein stated when Mr. Sandal left his employment with the court, the compensation committee disbanded. It was the consensus of the Board to allow Ms. Klein to advise the Board at the next meeting how she wished to handle pay grade reviews.
The meeting adjourned at 12:40 pm