Personnel Policy Board
Hon. M. Richard Geiger, Chair
Hon. Gail Hagerty
Hon. Carol Ronning Kapsner
Hon. John T. Paulson
Sally Holewa, ex officio
Amy Klein, staff
Renee Barnaby, minutes
Chair Geiger called the meeting to order at 8:00 a.m.
The first item on the agenda was the approval of the minutes. It was moved by Justice Kapsner, seconded by Judge Paulson, to approve the minutes of the May 26, 2009 meeting. The motion carried.
Style Guidelines for Employee Handbook
At the last meeting, the Board suggested an alternative phrase be used other than the "ND Judicial System". Sally Holewa said she spoke with the Chief Justice, and he, again, expressed his preference for using "North Dakota Court System". He feels it is more inclusive and more of an explanation that we are an entire system. However, he said he would review his decision if the Personnel Policy Board was willing to submit further explanation as to why the Board preferred to use "North Dakota Judicial Branch".
It was moved by Justice Kapsner, seconded Ted Smith, to use the phrase "Court System", and drop the two letters, "ND". The motion carried.
Justice Kapsner and Judge Hagerty suggested the pronouns should be consistent with the antecedent. To avoid using his or her, it is better to use the phrase "the employee".
It was also suggested that the capitalization and underlying be avoided if it is just for emphasis, and the use of policy names and numbers be considered.
It was the consensus of the Board to eliminate the capitalization and underlying when used just for emphasis and make sure the pronoun is consistent with the antecedent.
Review Absenteeism and Tardiness Policy
At the May 5, 2009 meeting, the Board requested Ms. Klein to draft alternative language for the protected absence section of the absenteeism and tardiness policy. Ms. Klein presented the new draft to the Board for review.
It was moved by Judge Paulson, seconded by Chris Myers, to approve the new proposed draft.
Judge Paulson expressed his concerned due to the recent flood issues.
Ted Smith suggested perhaps it would be more appropriate to add a paragraph addressing flood issues under an inclement weather policy or something similar.
Ms. Klein said because it is a unique situation, it should not be included because each situation is going to be handled differently.
Chair Geiger referred to the Board to paragraph 4 and asked why human resources must to be notified by the supervisor of an employee absence. Ms. Klein responded if an employee is gone for more than three consecutive days, human resources must be noticed in order to initiate FMLA.
It was the consensus of the Board to remove "ND" from the first and fourth paragraphs.
It was moved by Justice Kapsner, seconded by Chris Myers, to rephrase the first sentence in paragraph 4 to read as follows: "The Court System reserves the right to request a physician's note for any absence for which sick leave or family sick leave is used that is longer than one day." The motion carried.
It was moved by Justice Kapsner, seconded by Judge Paulson, to rephrase the fifth paragraph to read as follows: "Excessive absence or tardiness is defined as six (6) occurrences of unscheduled absences or tardiness in six (6) consecutive months regardless of the reason." The motion carried.
It was moved by Justice Kapsner, seconded by Judge Paulson, that under the first bullet under the Excessive Absence section, be rephrased to read as follows: "Unscheduled absences are absences that have not been prescheduled or where prior approval has not been received from the employee's supervisor." The motion carried.
It was moved by Judge Paulson, seconded by Jerrold Arneson, to rephrase the second bullet as follows: "Scheduled absences include the following:" The motion carried.
By consensus, the Board agreed to modify the subtitle heading "Excessive Absence" to read "Excess Absence or Tardiness".
It was moved by Gladys Schmitt, seconded by Justice Kapsner, to add the words "or designee" after the words "employee's supervisor" in paragraph 3, line 3. The motion carried.
It was moved by Chair Geiger, seconded by Gladys Schmitt, to rephrase the fifth subbullet to read: "being required to serve on jury duty;". The motion carried.
It was moved by Ted Smith, second by Judge Paulson, to delete the words "an illness" from the end of the last sentence in paragraph 4, and insert the phrase "use of sick leave or family sick leave". The motion carried.
It was moved by Ted Smith, seconded by Justice Kapsner, to eliminate the last bullet.
It was suggested that as an alternative, the last bullet be included under the sick leave policy.
The motion carried.
It was noted that the phrase "corrective action" is used throughout the policies rather than "disciplinary action".
The motion carried to include the absenteeism and tardiness policy as amended.
Alcohol and Drugs
It was moved by Judge Paulson, seconded by Jerrold Arneson, to adopt the alcohol and drugs policy.
It was moved by Judge Paulson, seconded by Justice Kapsner, to remove the word "of it either" from the last line of the second paragraph. The motion carried.
Justice Kapsner said she is concerned because the new policy eliminates the condition of continued employment. She is also concerned that the supervisor alone could require someone to take a screening test. She suggested perhaps a requirement be added that the supervisor could request an evaluation in consultation with either human resources or the state court administrator.
Judge Paulson noted that in private business, companies require random drug testing.
Chris Myers said he is supportive of the policy and suggested the appointing authority also be notified.
It was the consensus of the Board to strike the word "disciplinary" and insert the word "corrective" in the last line of the third paragraph.
It was moved by Justice Kapsner, seconded by Judge Paulson, to delete the word "their" in the second line of paragraph two, and insert the words "the employee's". The motion carried.
It was moved by Justice Kapsner, seconded by Ted Smith, to amend the second sentence in paragraph 3 to read: "If a supervisor reasonably suspects that an employee may be under the influence of a controlled substance or alcohol while on Court System property or during the employee's scheduled work hours, the supervisor in consultation with human resources or the state court administrator will request the employee to submit to submit to a screening or test at a designated testing facility." The motion carried.
It was the consensus of the Board to table the item until the next meeting.
Chair Geiger suggested Ms. Klein send an email to the Board members discussing a tentative schedule for future handbook meeting dates.
The meeting adjourned.