Judge Hagerty suggested we take a more global approach with the policies and find one definition that works and insert it in all policies, as required.
Mr. Olson agreed with Judge Hagerty and stated most of the policies were written before 6.1. He suggested we go back and see how 6.1 affects these policies.
In response to a question from Judge Paulson asking how pressing the need for this definition, Mr. Sandal responded it is not urgent but should be kept as a priority.
Mr. Sandal suggested using a definitions page at the beginning of the policy manual.
It was suggested section B read as follows: "Appointing authority mean the presiding judge or designee of the presiding judge for judicial referees, law clerks, court reporters, and electronic court recorders-district judges; the unit administrators for other personnel in the district courts; the state court administrator for personnel in the state office; and in the Supreme Court the chief justice or the clerk of the court."
Mr. Olson and the second agreed to the modification.
Ted Smith suggested the supervision of the unit administrators be added to the definition.
Jerrold Arneson suggested and the Board agreed that section B be written as follows: "Appointing Authority means the following:" and then list it out as a, b, c, d, etc. Judge Paulson suggested it start with the chief justice and work its way down.
It was moved by Judge Hagerty, seconded by Judge Paulson, to table the matter until the next meeting. The motion carried.
Chair Geiger asked Mr. Sandal to draft proposed language for section B and to add the supervision of the unit administrators to the definition. He also asked him to develop a definitions page and then remove the definitions from the various policies.
Policy 102 - Annual Leave
The proposed changes to Policy 102 were distributed to employees for comment and two comments were received. The revision provide that once an employee gives notice to terminate employment, the last day the employee is at work is considered their last working day unless prior written approval is given by the appointing authority. Any unused annual leave or sick leave would be paid to the employee after separation.
The Board discussed the advantages and disadvantages of adopting the proposed changes.
Judge Hagerty said the appointing authority still has the authority to approve or deny a request.
Jerrold Arneson said another thing to consider is an employee is on the network until their last day of employment which raise a security issue.
It was moved by Judge Hagerty, seconded by Rod Olson, to send the proposed changes to Policy 102 to the Supreme Court for consideration. The motion carried.
Mike Sandal presented the Board with the proposed pay ranges for 2008-09. The changes reflect a 4% increase in all pay grades and steps based on the provision in Senate Bill 2189, which provides a 4% increase in employee salaries.
It was moved by Judge Paulson, seconded by Jerrold Arneson, to approve the proposed pay ranges for 2008-09 and forward it to the Supreme Court for consideration. The motion carried.
Sally Holewa said there are several positions in the court system that require various lengths of experience. For example, some of the language used in the descriptions ask for experience in a "legal setting," a "court setting," a "court or similarly related environment," or a "law office or related area." She said not only are the descriptions inconsistent, but they are not easily understood and unduly limit the applicant pools. She said the Board to consider doing two things: (1) changing the "requirement" of the positions to a "preference." The change would not affect the classification of the positions, but it would allow the hiring authority a wider range of latitude in considering applicants, while still allowing us to use the legal experience as a factor in ranking applicants; and (2) adopting consistent language throughout the classifications.
Judge Hagerty said Unit 3 is in the process of recruiting for a trial court manager but has been unsuccessful in finding someone who has the abilities needed. She requested it be a preference to have the court related experience, rather than a requirement.
Mike Sandal said from an HR perspective, it is very frustrating to see applicants who have excellent qualifications and would meet our needs but have to consider them unqualified because of our limitations. He said it would be to the court's advantage to consider everyone with appropriate skills. The only consideration he asked the Board to remember is if the qualifications are broadened to allow more generic conversions, it may have an impact on the pay grade assignment because the qualifications are one of the considerations that affect paygrade.
It was moved by Judge Hagerty, seconded by Rod Olson, to amend the trial court manager classification description so the court experience would be a preference rather than a requirement.
Mr. Sandal said if the motion is adopted, he would be able to qualify the applicants and then use the scoring mechanism to add additional points for the preference.
Chair Geiger suggested deleting the language under the Minimum Qualifications section that reads, "(necessary qualifications to gain entry into the job not preferred or desirable qualifications)."
Judge Hagerty said another alternative would be to delete the words "in a court or related setting," with the understanding that it would be a preference.
Ms. Holewa said rather than immediately amending the job classification, the Board could consider requesting the Supreme Court for a temporary waiver on this position while the Board evaluates the classification.
Judge Hagerty, with the consent of the second, withdrew her motion.
It was moved by Judge Hagerty, seconded by Rod Olson, that the Personnel Policy Board request the Supreme Court waive the requirement for court related experience and make it a preference for the trial court manager position. The motion carried.
Justice Kapsner suggested the Board review each classification to determine whether there should be a change.
Chair Geiger suggested a memo be sent to the trial court administrators or supervisors involved in the hiring process asking them to provide inconsistencies they have found in the descriptions so the Board could review those at the next meeting.
Rod Olson indicated he will be unable to attend the June meeting and requested permission for Donna Wunderlich to attend in his place. He suggested it may be beneficial to have an administrator at the meeting in the event the Board has questions on the language proposed by the administrators. Chair Geiger said Ms. Wunderlich would not be able to vote but her input would be welcome.
It was the consensus of the Board to reevaluate the preferences vs. requirements section in all of the job classifications and to review the inconsistency in phrasing.
Draft changes to Policy 106 were presented to the Board for consideration. The changes add one unit trial court administrator appointed by the chief justice to the Personnel Policy Board membership, which would change the number of voting members from eight to nine.
It was moved by Judge Paulson, seconded by Jerrold Arneson, to adopt the changes to Policy 106. The motion carried and will be sent out for employee comment.
FMLA Update - Military Family Leave
Mike Sandal provided the Board with an update on the Family Medical Leave Act. He said the president signed into law the provisions regarding the military family leave. The bill takes effect immediately. The Department of Labor is in the process of promulgating some rules and providing some clarity in definitions. The unit administrators have been informed of the law requirements and posters have been distributed to the administrative units. At such time in the near future when the definitions are clarified, our policies will be amended accordingly.
The next meeting will be on June 10, 2008, in Grand Forks.
Judge Paulson moved the meeting adjourn.