Penny Miller, Chair
Justice Mary Muehlen Maring
Judge Lawrence Jahnke
Judge Mikal Simonson
Judge Bruce Bohlman
Chair Miller called the meeting to order at 10:10 a.m. and immediately drew the Board's attention to the minutes of the November 22, 1999 meeting. One correction was made in the second paragraph under the Leave Policy paragraph, the word "count" was changed to "account". The minutes as amended were approved by consensus.
Harassment Policy #119
Chair Miller directed the members' attention to the revised draft of Harassment Policy 119. She informed the members that the amendments to the policy were made at the August meeting and then circulated for comment. One comment was received requesting that the word "unwelcome" be defined. Judge Simonson suggested that the word be changed to "unwanted". Carla Kolling explained that Sarah Andrews Hermann drafted the amendments however she was unclear whether the terminology used was mirrored after case law. She said that she would visit with Sarah about the use of the word "unwelcome" and inform the Board at the next meeting. Chair requested that this be placed on the agenda for the next meeting.
Grievance Policy #108
Chair Miller explained that the amendments to this policy were approved at the August meeting and then circulated for comment. She said that one comment was received indicating that the three month reporting period was to short. Carla Kolling explained that the purpose of shortening the reporting period was to encourage the victim to come forward in a timely manner in order that the incident could be investigated and dealt with while the facts were clear in the minds of the parties involved. A motion was made by Judge Simonson, seconded by Rita Hannesson that Policy 108 - Grievance be approved and therefore sent to the Supreme Court for consideration. The motion unanimously carried.
Compensation Policy #103
Chair Miller explained that this policy was placed on the agenda at the request of Judge Bohlman. Due to Judge Bohlman's absence, Judge Simonson suggested that it be placed on the agenda of a future meeting when he will be able to participate.
Classification & Paygrade Review Procedure Policy #107
Chair Miller explained that Carla Kolling has put together a working committee to assist her in developing a systematic approach for the review of job descriptions and paygrades together with periodic market analysis. The working group consists of Judge Bruce Bohlman, Jodi Koch, Doug Johnson, Jana Thielges and herself. She explained that the committee has met once already and anticipates that a product for the Board's consideration will be available in the fall.
Juvenile Court Job Descriptions
Carla Kolling explained that a small group of directors and court officers have been meeting to review the job descriptions for the director, and the juvenile court officer I, II and III classifications. The group is also drafting a job description for a career officer position. The committee work is expected to be completed in April.
Employee Discipline Policy #115
Chair Miller drew the Board's attention to the amended Employee Discipline Policy #115 and explained that the policy was approved by the Board and sent out for comment. She explained that no comments were received. A motion was made by Judge Simonson, seconded by Judge Jahnke to forward the policy to the Supreme Court for consideration. The motion unanimously carried.
Leave Policy #102
Chair Miller explained that the policy was forward to the Supreme Court for consideration. In particular, the Court considered the amendments to the policy focusing on leave for clerks. She said the Court had no problem with what was being proposed but did not formally adopt it because of the pending issues.
Chair Miller said that several comments were received. Two questioned the elimination of the section entitled Conference Leave. The concern was directed towards eliminating an employee's opportunity to attend a conference as a delegate, such as the NDPEA. The Board discussed incorporating this section back into the policy because no where else in other policies does it provide for employee's attendance at a conference when serving as a delegate or officer. A motion was made by Justice Maring, seconded by Judge Simonson to incorporate Section F(7) into the Policy and remove the word "elected". The motion unanimously carried.
The Board noted that all other conferences not covered under Leave Policy 102 are covered in Policy #110 - Professional Development.
Chair Miller drew the Board's attention to the comment suggesting that we include in-laws under eligible family members included under "sick leave for family members". Carla Kolling explained that state law governing those individuals included under "sick leave for family members"' does not include in-laws nor grandparents. She said that if an in-law or grandparent is dependent upon the employee for care, they would be covered under F2c(1)(ii). Judge Simonson commented that since we specify a grandchild as being an eligible family member grandparents should also be included. A motion was made by Rita Hannesson, seconded by Judge Simonson to include grandparent in F2c(1)(i). The motion unanimously carried.
Chair Miller drew the Board's attention to the comment requesting that consideration be given to providing a pool of sick leave to employees who adopt a child similar to what is provided to an employee who has a child. Carla explained that sick leave is to be used if one is sick and that the traditional 4-6 weeks of sick leave provided to a mother after the birth of a child is intended to be used towards the mothers recovery and not for the care for the child. She explained that after the birth of a child, the mother is considered medically disabled and therefore entitled to sick leave during the her absence. Judge Simonson inquired whether a mother who has a child and a mother who adopts a child are afforded the same benefits under the Family Medical Leave Act. Carla explained that under the FMLA both are afforded up to twelve weeks of unpaid job protected leave within a twelve-month period. Policy 102 - Leave provides sixteen weeks of leave. She said that for a mother who has had a child by birth, leave can be in the form of annual leave, sick leave, sick leave for family members, leave without pay, shared leave, or a combination of these. For a mother who adopts a child, leave is limited to annual or leave without pay. She explained that the mother who has given birth who seeks more than the traditional 4-6 weeks of sick leave must have a statement from the treating physician stating the reason for the additional time.
Judge Jahnke requested Carla to research into whether other courts or agencies have a policy that include a post delivery bank a time to an employee who adopts a child.
Chair Miller requested Carla to speak with Judge Bohlman concerning his questions on the serious health conditions section of the policy in order that they can be discussed at an upcoming meeting.
Consultant's Recommendation on the Clerk of Court Classifications
Chair Miller drew the Board's attention to the January 4 and 26 letter of the consultant Robert Bjorklund and inquired why the January 26 letter reflected changes to his original recommendation. Carla explained that when the January 4 letter was received certain issues concerning the ratings posed questions, primarily in the areas of supervisory responsibility for the deputy clerk III, the level of detail associated with the work of the deputy clerk and the years of experience required in order to perform the functions of the job. She explained that in the area of supervisory responsibility Greg Wallace, who carries the staffing portfolio for the Court, believed, based on his knowledge of the workings of the clerks offices, that the deputy clerk III should be rated as a "supervisor" and not a "working supervisor". Carla Kolling explained that Mr. Wallace's concern was posed to Mr. Bjorklund during a conference call whereby the consultant agreed to review the job analysis questionnaires again and conduct further interviews in order to determine whether the ratings needed to be adjusted. His findings did not support changing his original recommendation.
Carla explained that the second area in question related to the level of detail associated with the work performed by the clerks. Mr. Bjorklund's initial recommendation suggested that the rating reflect an above average degree of detail present in the work performed by the clerks. After reviewing the materials and further interviews Mr. Bjorklund adjusted his rating in order that the level of detail reflect a high degree of detail associated with the work performed in the clerk's office.
Carla informed the members that the last area of concern dealt with the rating on experience. Carla explained that the job descriptions specify that a candidate applying for a position possess a certain number of years of experience in order to be qualified for the job. Mr. Bjorklund rated the positions based on his interviews with the clerks and deputies, the job analysis questionnaires and his interpretation of our hiring practices. She said that based on the information Mr. Bjorklund had before him, Mr. Bjorklund assigned the ratings accordingly. However, without understanding our strict hiring practices and our inability to be flexible in our requirements for the positions, he wasn't able to apply the job rating system accordingly. Carla explained that when we advertise for a position, the experience and education requirements contained on the job description are not subject to negotiation and therefore must be rated according to what the position requires. Mr. Bjorklund's initial recommendation did not reflect our hiring practices and as a result that factor was changed.
The Board requested more time to review the materials and requested that the classifications be held over until the March 6 meeting. Judge Jahnke asked that Carla put together a brief overhead presentation on the ranking of the positions and what the ranking reflect.
Chair Miller welcomed Keithe Nelson and asked him to provide a report on the financial impact of the paygrade assignments based on the consultant's recommendation. Keithe explained that there is not sufficient monies in the budget to support the paygrades that were assigned by the consultant assuming they were brought in crediting their years of service. He indicated that many of the small county clerks will be receiving large increases in salary. He expressed concern that those increases would be subject to criticism by various individuals. Keithe stated that he did not believe the paygrades were comparable to those paygrades assigned to positions in the executive branch. He believed the clerks were much higher. Mr. Nelson explained that in the four largest counties their structure consists of nine or more employees, they all have a principal deputy and supervising deputies in various areas and having only one chief deputy assigned to supervise a large office is unworkable. He stated that with the assistance of Jana Thielges they put together a paygrade assignment plan which is in closer alignment with what the legislature budgeted but gives pay raises to as many people as possible while at the same time reduces the number of windfalls. He said they arbitrarily picked paygrades for the positions based on their assumptions of the what the positions were. Their plan proposed the following:
Clerk of Court - Large County Paygrade 10
(7 or more total FTE)
Chief Deputy Paygrade 8
Deputy III Paygrade 7
Deputy II Paygrade 5
Deputy I Paygrade 3
Clerk of Court - Small County Paygrade 8
Deputy III Paygrade 7
Deputy II Paygrade 5
Deputy I Paygrade 3
Mr. Nelson explained that they assigned one deputy III position to each seven employees. In the small counties the clerk of court would be assigned paygrade 8 which is comparable to a chief deputy in a large county. Deputy II positions were assigned to those offices where the number of employees supervised were 3 - 4 employees.
Mr. Nelson explained that this proposal would significantly reduce the windfalls in the clerk and chief deputy positions.
Judge Simonson asked whether the legislative appropriation would cover his proposal. Mr. Nelson said it would not but it would be better than Mr. Bjorklund's recommendation.
Mr. Nelson informed the Board that the numbers of FTE's listed on the proposal are based on the 600 case filing information.
Carla encouraged the Board not to base the clerks paygrade on the budget. She stressed the importance of determining paygrades based on job responsibilities. She emphasized the need to explore the various funding options to ensure that all are treated fairly.
Dorothy Howard inquired how the salaries were arrived at for the various positions. Dion explained that the salaries are determined by the employees years of service in their position.
Dorothy Howard inquired whether a person holding the deputy clerk I position would move to a deputy clerk II position after two years of experience. Chair Miller explained that it is a career ladder series and after two years of experience a deputy clerk I could advance to a deputy clerk II. She added however that the career ladder series did not include the deputy clerk III position.
Dorothy Howard had some concerns about the job descriptions not accurately reflecting the needs of her office. Chair Miller suggested that the clerks from the larger counties meet to review the job classifications and decide if any changes need to be made. Dorothy also questioned whether the knowledge, skills and abilities of a deputy clerk I should be the same as that of a deputy clerk II as reflected in the job description drafts. She commented that the expectations of a II far exceed those of a I. She suggested that those areas be reviewed. Chair Miller requested the clerks to discuss the job descriptions and report to the Board at the March 6 meeting.
The Board, by consensus, nominated Penny Miller as Chair for another year.
Chair Miller announced that the next meeting will be on March 6 at 2:00 o'clock p.m.
The meeting adjourned at 2:00 o'clock p.m.
Carla Kolling, Staff