Personnel Policy Board
June 10, 2008
Grand Forks, ND
Members Present: Hon. M. Richard Geiger, Chair; Hon. Gail Hagerty; Hon. Carol Ronning Kapsner; Rodney Olson (telephonically); Hon. John T. Paulson; Gladys Schmitt, and Ted Smith
Members Absent: Jerrold Arneson
Others Present: Mike Sandal; Donna Wunderlich, Guest; Renee Barnaby, Minutes
Chair Geiger called the meeting to order at 1:05 p.m.
The first item on the agenda was the approval of the minutes. It was moved by Judge Paulson,seconded by Judge Hagerty, to approve the minutes of the March 19, 2008 meeting. The motion carried.
It was moved by Judge Paulson, seconded by Judge Hagerty, to approve the minutes of the April 4, 2008 meeting. The motion carried.
The proposed changes to Policy 106 were distributed to employees for comment and eight comments were received. The proposed revision to the policy increases the membership of the Personnel Policy Board from eight to nine members. The additional member would be a unit trial court administrator who would be appointed by the chief justice.
It was moved by Judge Paulson, seconded by Judge Hagerty, to send the proposed changes to Policy 106 to the Supreme Court for consideration.
From the comments received, there was a sense that the supreme court employees and district court employees had diverging interests. The Board members all felt that the Personnel Policy Board is an advisory board and the members were there to represent the best interests of all employees.
Gladys Schmitt said Rod Olson, as a trial court administrator, brings a great perspective to the Board as a manager and also brings a lot of valuable information that others might not be privy to.
Both Justice Kapsner and Chair Geiger agreed that because the trial court administrator applies the policies more directly than others, their input is valuable.
Rod Olson said there was a consensus among the trial court administrators not to run for the district court employee seat on the Board, if the court approves the changes to the policy.
After further discussion, the motion carried.
Mr. Olson said if the policy is approved by the court, he will resign his elected seat.
Definitions of Appointing Authority
At the last meeting, the Board requested Mr. Sandal draft a definition of "appointing authority" that currently reflects the different levels of supervision within the court's structure as it relates to Administrative Rule 6.1. Mr. Sandal drafted proposed revisions to Policies 102 and 103 and also drafted a proposed definitions page consolidating all definitions currently used within the policies.
Chair Geiger questioned whether the phrase "hiring authority" is synonymous with the phrase "appointing authority." He noted the term "hiring authority" appears in Policies 103, 118 and 120.
Rod Olson suggested that because not all of the policies were written at the same time, perhaps different phrases were used to mean the same thing.
Ted Smith said the proposed language does not state who the appointing authority is for the justices' secretaries.
Mr. Sandal suggested another component be added to include them.
Justice Kapsner questioned the proposed language under the state court administrator section where it refers to the state court administrator being the appointing authority for the trial court administrators. She said technically the state court administrator must work with the presiding judge to hire the trial court administrator.
Chair Geiger responded that once the trial court administrator is hired, the state court administrator is the supervisor. Perhaps it should be specified that this applies to the administrative policies only and should not be interpreted to apply to anything else.
Judge Hagerty stated with regard to the other definitions listed on the definitions page, because the Board has not yet reviewed each policy to see how they relate, perhaps they should not be included at this time.
Chair Geiger said in addition to the words already listed on the definitions page, he suggested, in the future, the Board might consider adding definitions for the following words: supervision, grievance, exempt employee versus nonexempt employee, harassment, workweek, promotion, pay period, regular rate of pay, and overtime.
It was moved by Judge Hagerty, seconded by Judge Paulson, to approve the phrase "appointing authority" and its definition as drafted in attachment D3 and to insert the following as item number 2: "2. Justices for Judicial Secretary-Justice", and to renumber accordingly.
Mr. Smith said the proposed language states the chief justice is the appointing authority for the supreme court law clerks and questioned if it should be moved to under each justice.
The motion carried and will be sent out to employees for comment.
It was moved by Judge Paulson, seconded by Gladys Schmitt, to remove the phrase "appointing authority" and its definition under Policies 102 and 103 and renumber accordingly. The motion carried and will be sent out to employees for comment.
It was moved by Justice Kapsner, seconded by Gladys Schmitt, to change the two references from "hiring authority" to "appointing authority" in Policy 103, under sections C1.b and c. The motion carried and will go out for employee comment.
Review of Minimum Qualifications
Mike Sandal said at the March meeting, the Board discussed the legal definitions and the court related experience listed under the minimum qualifications section of the job classifications. As currently written, the minimum qualifications, in some classifications, are too restrictive primarily because of the requirement that they have experience in a court or legal setting. The Board asked Mr. Sandal to review the classifications and come up with an overall solution.
Mr. Sandal reviewed the minimum qualifications statement in all of the job classifications and then proposed modifications that would provide more flexibility in hiring while still maintaining the integrity of the classification system. The modifications provide the minimum qualifications, not preferred qualifications. The preferred qualifications will be determined by the appointing authority and included in the matrix used for ranking the candidates. He noted that he did not modify the job classifications that followed the career path policy.
Donna Wunderlich added the way the legal/court experience is currently worded under the minimum qualifications, it is having a negative impact on the hiring process. The trial court administrators met with Mike Sandal to develop proposed language, and they are in agreement that this will broaden the application pool.
Mr. Sandal asked for the Board to consider the proposed modifications. If the Board is in general agreement with the changes, Mr. Sandal will take the proposed modifications to the other managers in the court system for their input.
Justice Kapsner suggested after the heading Minimum Qualifications, a comma or semicolon be added within the parenthetical phrase as follows, "(necessary qualifications to gain entry into the job, not preferred or desirable qualifications)".
Mr. Sandal said an alternative would be to delete the words "not preferred or desirable qualifications".
Judge Hagerty questioned why some positions did not require more than a high school diploma, particularly the clerk of court positions.
Mr. Sandal responded that minimum qualifications for classifications were agreed upon during the classification review conducted by Bob Bjorklund in 2001 and were based on the qualifications of incumbents in the position at that time. If the Board determines that the minimum qualifications need to be changed, a classification and pay grade review could be conducted.
It was noted that some classifications refer to job experience in a court, law office or "related job experience" while others refer to experience in a "related legal setting". It was suggested that the language be made consistent wherever possible.
Chair Geiger stated with regard to the director and juvenile court officer positions, there is a reference to previous experience in a "criminal justice system." He suggested adding the words "or juvenile justice system" to that as well.
Justice Kapsner said with regard to the network analyst I and II positions, it requires "less than one year networking experience." She suggested the words be eliminated so as not to eliminate someone who has more than one year experience.
Mr. Sandal said in the future, the Board may want to consider whether or not the judiciary should continue with the career path.
It was the consensus of the Board to have Mr. Sandal confer with the appropriate supervisors and bring it back to the Board for consideration.
Mike Sandal said the changes to Policy 102, Annual Leave, were sent to the Supreme Court for consideration. It was the consensus of the Court that the proposed changes were something that were already accomplished within the policy, as currently written, so they chose not to adopt the proposed changes.
Mr. Sandal said he still has not received anything from the feds regarding the FMLA military leave act. If we do not receive sometime in the near future, we may need to move forward and develop a generic policy.
The next meeting will be held in September.