Chair Hagerty called the emergency meeting to order at 3:00 p.m. The Chief Justice asked the
Board to formulate an emergency policy that would provide guidelines for dealing with the
flooding situation in the Bismarck and Minot areas. In addition, the Chief Justice asked the
Board to develop a community emergency policy providing guidelines for dealing with a variety
of emergencies that have a major impact on a community.
Chair Hagerty stated because there is an immediate need to inform employees of the policy
moving forward with the current flooding situation in Bismarck and Minot, her draft policy only
refers to the current flooding situation. She suggested a policy for future emergencies be
discussed at the next Board meeting.
After gathering information from other employers, Sally Holewa indicated that even though the
amount of leave granted was all over the board, the leave did not exceed 40 hours of paid time.
She suggested the Board consider capping the leave for cleanup.
In response to a question from Chair Hagerty asking how the time off has impacted Minot, Ms.
Woolf responded as far as in relation to the court, it is minor. The evacuation occurred so
quickly that most employees only took a day or so. Three days was the most any employee took.
Approximately 12 of the 34 employees were directly impacted. With regard to cleanup, Ms.
Woolf indicated a lot of staff have started cleanup but are doing it on their own time. She
indicated the employees are very appreciative of the evacuation time they have received thus far
and are trying their best to balance work and their personal lives.
Chair Hagerty stated because of the length of time the water has been in the homes and flowing
over the road in Bismarck, cleanup is going to take a long time. Ms. Woolf added the situation is
the same for Minot. Water is still standing in certain areas of the city and everything has to be
gutted and is not going to come to an end for months.
In response to a question from Ted Smith asking what was done with regard to leave after the
Grand Forks flood, Ms. Holewa indicated that according to the Accounting Department, no leave
was reported and no policies were put in place.
Ms. Holewa suggested 40 hours is a reasonable cap. She indicated we need to acknowledge what
our employees are going through and assist them, but we also have a primary responsibility as an
organization to keep running efficiently and we have a fiscal responsibility to the taxpayers.
Ross Munns stated there was a sense of immediacy just prior to the flood. Now, the sense of
immediacy is somewhat different for cleanup and agrees 40 hours is fair amount of time.
Judge McEvers inquired if the proposal is prospective or retroactive. Her unit deals with
flooding on a regular basis so it seems unfair that employees from her unit had to take annual
leave when they could not get to work because roads were closed and now other employees are
being treated differently. Mr. Olson recalled only one time when the employees in his unit were
not required to use annual leave. He believes this difference in treatment may cause a morale
problem with employees in his unit.
Chair Hagerty stated because there have been statements issued by the Chief Justice urging
supervisors to allow their people to take time without using annual leave in response to the
flooding in Bismarck and Minot, we cannot, at this point, go back and tell employees they are
unable to do that. She suggested at the next meeting consideration be given to other employees
who were impacted by flooding during the calendar year. Judge McEvers stated that policy
should include all types of catastrophes, not just flooding.
Ms. Holewa suggested the 40 hours should apply to the time that the flooding started in May
until the end. She also suggested the leave regarding cleanup be limited to employees directly
Ms. Hulm indicated she disagreed that the leave should be limited to an employee’s residence as
there are a lot of people who have elderly parents or grandparents who are unable to do the work
In response to a question asking what an employee does if they do not have any leave, it was
suggested the leave would be discretionary with the supervisor on how it would impact the rest
of the office.
Justice Kapsner suggested the policy should be prospective because people did things on the
assumption that they had certain permission to go out and help people.
Ms. Holewa stated an alternative to the 40 hours would be to give employees up to 16 hours of
leave to respond to the flood cleanup.
By a show of hands, four members indicated they were leaning towards the 16 hours of leave and
three members were considering capping the leave at 40 total hours.
Ms. Woolf stated some employees who are currently cleaning their houses might have already
taken over 40 hours. Other employees may have only taken eight hours to evacuate, and when
they are able to get into their homes, they will only have the 16 hours. She said that seems
unfair. Wherein if we use the 40 hours flat, everybody is in the same boat and no one gets more
than the next.
After reviewing the June time sheets for Units 3, 4 and Supreme Court employees, it was noted
that the list was inaccurate because not all employees reported the leave. Ms. Klein indicated the
leave should be reported as “Other” and should be submitted to the Accounting Department.
It was moved by Ted Smith, seconded by Ross Munns, to accept the proposed policy and
add the words “and flood cleanup” after the words “40 hours of time for flood fighting” in
the second sentence of the second paragraph; and to also add a sentence restricting the
cleanup to an employee’s personal residence.
Judge McEvers stated the 40 hours is quite generous when taking into consideration the other
leaves; for example, an employee only has 24 hours of leave when someone dies. Ross Munns
pointed out the proposed policy states up to a total of 40 hours but it is at the discretion of the
A roll call vote was taken and the motion carried with one dissent.
Chair Hagerty indicated she will send the policy out to members to review and then submit it to
the Chief Justice tomorrow morning.
Ms. Holewa and Ms. Klein indicated they are in the process of drafting a proposed community
emergency policy. Judge McEvers and Mr. Olson said they will draft a proposed policy
concerning other employees who have been impacted by this year’s flooding. Both policies will
be presented to the Board at the next meeting.
Ms. Woolf thanked the Board for allowing her to participate in the meeting.