Personnel Policy Board
February 24, 2005
Members Present: Hon. M. Richard Geiger, Chair; Hon. Ronald Hilden; Hon. Carol Ronning Kapsner; Hon. John T. Paulson; Kurt Schmidt; Gladys Schmitt; Judy Slotto-Susie; and Jeanne Walstad.
Others Present: Mike Sandal, Staff
Renee Barnaby (scribe)
Mike Sandal called the telephonic meeting to order 8:05 a.m. The first order of business was the election of a new chair. Judge Mikal Simonson's term expired on December 31, 2004. It was moved by Justice Kapsner, seconded by Jeanne Walstad, to nominate Judge Geiger as chair. There being no other nominations, the motion passed unanimously.
Chair Geiger referred the Board to the meeting minutes of September 20 and December 21, 2004. It was moved by Judge Hilden, seconded by Gladys Schmitt, to approve the minutes. The motion carried unanimously.
Policy 122 Service Awards
Chair Geiger next referred the members to Policy 122, Service Award Program, and asked Mike Sandal to report on the matter. By way of background, Mike briefly reviewed the Board's amendment to Policy 122 allowing time spent as a county employee to those individuals who moved into the service of the state judiciary. Because of that amendment, Mike reviewed the state's service award program and suggested our awards reflect an equal amount to that provided by the executive branch. Susan Sisk, Director of Finance, indicated to Mike that the fiscal impact of changing these award amounts is negligible.
Mike further explained that he sent his proposed changes to the trial court administrative personnel (TCAP) for their review. Their first suggested change was that state service also be considered in the service award program for the judiciary. It was their understanding that judiciary service would count if a judiciary employee moved to the executive branch so we should reciprocate and do the same. Their second suggestion was to add language to provide for a postponement of service awards when there were documented performance concerns. It gives a mixed signal when you provide an employee with a service award when there are performance issues documented. The TCAPs suggested that in those rare occasions when there were performance issues, that the service award be postponed. The TCAPs also questioned the application of the service award program. Mike referred the Board to bullets A and B which clarify our existing practice that service awards will be granted to non-elected personnel and previously elected clerks of court and only the retirement provision of the program applies to the judges. It clarifies some of the things that were already handled through administrative memos and things of that nature.
Jeanne Walstad stated there are many employees that have been with the court for years that have prior state service and asked how we would track the total years of service for all judicial employees. Mike responded the state payroll system, which we are a part of, already tracks the total years of service. If the policy passes, implementation would be effective from the date forward, counting all state employment.
In response to a question from Chair Geiger on how many people might be impacted, Mike stated he had not done a specific count but according to Susan Sisk's review, it would be negligible. If it is the desire of the Board, he will go back and identify the number of people.
Both Kurt Schmidt and Jeanne Walstad commented that in their respective departments, there are a number of people who have employment history from other agencies. Chair Geiger suggested we find out how many people will be impacted in order to avoid a possible budget breaker for a line item.
Mike commented the executive branch includes prior service from other state agencies as well as prior service from the legislative and judicial branches. It was the TCAP's recommendation that we do the same as it does have an impact on recruiting employees. They felt we should not single out the service award program when we currently take annual leave and sick leave balances. Thus, Mike added language to the proposed policy.
Justice Kapsner stated she views this differently from the leave and retirement years, which are transferred from other branches. She sees the service award specifically as a thank you for your contribution to the judicial branch, so it was her first inclination to say we should treat this differently. She would be interested in hearing more from the employees who might be impacted.
Judge Hilden suggested that if it is all-inclusive for service in other agencies and if we already know that the fiscal impact is negligible, we might not need to know how many people will be impacted. Gladys Schmitt agreed that it appears the background work has been done and it looks to be a fair policy. She feels that anytime you can reward people for their service, it is a positive thing.
Jeanne Walstad voiced concern with other language used in the policy and suggested the Board consider an organizational rewrite to clarify the policy. She said the way the policy is currently written is confusing for the reader and it should be reorganized in a way that is easier for our employees.
It was moved by Justice Kapsner, seconded by Judy Susie, to table the matter until the next meeting to consider alternative drafts. There being no further discussion, the motion passed unanimously. Chair Geiger directed Jeanne Walstad or any other member who was interested to submit their suggested changes to Mike Sandal.
Education and Special Projects Coordinator Classification
Chair Geiger then drew the Board's attention to the next item on the agenda, the Education and Special Projects Coordinator Classification. Mike Sandal explained that the filling of the position has already been approved. The draft class specification was forwarded to the classification committee who reviewed the information on the position and compared it to other classifications that were previously prepared by Bob Bjorklund and applied the information to the matrix. Through their analysis and evaluation, the committee proposed a pay grade 16. Mike recommended that the Board adopt the class specification and proposed pay grade and move forward with recruiting.
Justice Kapsner suggested the Board eliminate No. 8 under Major Responsibilities & Essential Functions, which is a duplication of No. 7, and correct the verb tense in the duties under the same section. Jeanne Walstad said under the matrix the court adopted, the guide was to write all new and old job descriptions to reflect active verb tense. It was moved by Justice Kapsner, seconded by Judge Hilden, to adopt the modifications to the class specification for the Education and Special Projects Coordinator. There being no further discussion, the motion passed unanimously.
It was moved by Jeanne Walstad, seconded by Justice Kapsner, to adopt the Education and Special Projects Coordinator class specification and the assigned pay grade and forward it to the Supreme Court for final approval. There being no further discussion, the motion passed unanimously.
Mike said pending the Supreme Court's approval, we will start recruiting for the position immediately.
Electronic Court Recorder - District Judge
Chair Geiger referred the Board to the last item on the agenda, Electronic Court Recorder - District Judge Classification, and asked Mike Sandal to provide an update on the draft class specification. Mike explained the Board had previously discussed the design and class specifications at several meetings prior, and there were no changes made to the class specification. The class specification was sent to the classification committee and through their analysis and evaluation, proposed a pay grade 10. Mike explained it is now up to the Board as to whether or not they want to adopt the factoring and pay grade.
Jeanne Walstad suggested making the minor revisions to reflect active verb tense. In addition, in duty No. 1, line 2, under Major Responsibilities and Essential Functions, she suggests the words "they are" be changed to "it is" to accurately refer to the record. The Board agreed to the changes.
It was moved by Gladys Schmitt, seconded by Judge Hilden, to forward the Electronic Court Recorder - District Judge class specification to the Supreme Court for their approval. There being no further discussion, the motion carried unanimously.
Mike said the Court Reporter class classification was also given to the classification committee, but because of some time limitations and the legislation session, the committee is still reviewing it.
The next meeting will be held telephonically on May 26, 2005, commencing at 1:00 p.m.
The meeting adjourned at 8:45 a.m.