I. Opening Business
A.The meeting convened at 10:05 a.m. members present included Hon. Mikal Simonson, Chair; Hon. M. Richard Geiger; Hon. Ronald Hilden; Hon. Carol Ronning Kapsner; Kurt Schmidt; Gladys Schmitt; Judy Slotto-Susie; Dion Ulrich; and Carla Kolling, Staff. Guests: Hon. Mary Muehlen Maring and Ted Gladden.
Chair Simonson welcomed the new members to the Board.
B.Minutes of the January 7 and January 20, 2004, meetings were approved as drafted.
II. Old Business
Chair Simonson reminded the members that the Director of Technology, Director of Finance, Executive Secretary and Secretary II reclassification/pay grade review requests were carryover items from prior meetings.
Director of Technology
Chair Simonson drew the members’ attention to the Director of Technology and requested Carla Kolling to provide a recap of Robert Bjorklund's recommendation. Carla explained that Mr. Bjorklund was supplied with the current job description, the proposed job description, Mr. Schmidt's letter outlining his justification of the review as well as Mr. Gladden's letter of support. She said that Mr. Bjorklund reviewed the materials and determined that the increase in job responsibilities warranted an upward pay grade adjustment to a 13.
Justice Maring stated that the job description for the position needed to be updated in order that it include Mr. Schmidt's additional job duties. Carla explained that job descriptions should contain the major job responsibilities of the position and its important not to get weighed down with the minor duties.
A motion was made by Judge Geiger, seconded by Judge Hilden, to amend the job description to include the duties listed in Mr. Schmidt's request and adjust the pay grade of the position to a 13.
Further discussion. A motion was made by Kurt Schmidt, seconded by Judge Geiger, to incorporate the changes into the proposed job description then reformat it into the current job description. Motion unanimously carried.
A motion was made by Judge Geiger, seconded by Kurt Schmidt, to raise the pay grade of the Director of Technology from a 12 to a 13. The motion passed 7 to 1. Judge Simonson did not support the motion.
Carla explained that Mr. Gladden submitted a request to elevate the Director of Technology to a pay grade 14 in light of Mr. Bjorklund's recommendation to elevate it from a 12 to a 13. Mr. Gladden explained that when reviewing the administrative structure of his office and the system as a whole, he cannot justify, in his own mind, the Director of Finance and Director of Technology being rated lower than other positions with less responsibilities. He stated that those two positions should be at a pay grade 14 and that the Director of Human Resources and Director of Juvenile Court and Educational Services be at a 13 since they do not have supervisory responsibilities over other employees.
Mr. Gladden further stated that it would be difficult to recruit a senior level person to fill that position at the current pay grade.
Judge Geiger commented that it is important during the Board’s review of a reclassification requests to review the job description and the consultant’s recommendation, but it is also important to hear comments from the supervisor of the position to make sure the Board receives the information it needs to make a responsible decision.
A motion was made by Judge Geiger, seconded by Gladys Schmitt, to increase the pay grade for the Director of Technology from a 13 to a 14. The motion unanimously passed.
Director of Finance
Chair Simonson drew the members’ attention to the reclassification request submitted by Susan Sisk for the position of Director of Finance, Mr. Gladden's letter of support, and Mr. Bjorklund's analysis and recommendation. Carla Kolling explained that Mr. Bjorklund recommended that the position be elevated to a pay grade 14 and that the proposed job description is reflective of the changes outlined in Ms. Sisk's letter.
Mr. Gladden once again stated his support for the pay grade adjustment.
The members requested Carla to place the proposed job description into the current job description format.
A motion was made by Judge Geiger, seconded by Judy Susie, to accept Mr. Bjorklund's analysis. The motion unanimously carried.
Director of Juvenile Court and Educational Services
Chair Simonson requested Carla Kolling to present the results of Mr. Bjorklund's analysis of the Director of Juvenile Court and Educational Services.
Carla reminded the Board that the job description was developed as a result of the reassignment of duties within the State Court Administrator's Office. She explained that the duties, as outlined, as relates to the juvenile courts, were identified by Greg Wallace in his position questionnaire completed in 2000. She further reminded the members that the original job description was forwarded to Bob Bjorklund for review and pay grade analysis and that he rated the position at a pay grade 15. She said that when Bob’s recommendation was presented at the last meeting, certain members had concerns over the placement of the pay grade in relation to other administrative positions. Bob Bjorklund explained the basis for the factor rating and stated that since the Director of Juvenile Court and Educational Services has oversight responsibilities, as defined in the job description, over the directors of juvenile court, it cannot be at a lower pay grade. Mr. Gladden responded to Mr. Bjorklund's statement saying the Director of Juvenile Court and Educational Services has oversight responsibility over the operations of the juvenile court and not supervision of the personnel.
Carla further explained that the Board requested that the job description be amended to reflect supervision over operations and not personnel and sent back to Bob Bjorklund for analysis, and what the Board has before them is the new job description and pay grade recommendation.
Carla informed the Board that Mr. Bjorkund reviewed the amendment and determined that the pay grade should be lowered to a 14. Carla informed the members that Mr. Gladden's earlier comments reflected that the position should be at a pay grade 13 since it did not require supervision over employees as did the Director of Technology and Director of Finance. Mr. Bjorklund would not support lowering the position to a pay grade 13. He stated that the job responsibilities are significant enough to warrant a pay grade 14 regardless of whether the person supervises employees.
A motion was made by Kurt Schmidt, seconded by Judge Geiger, to disregard Mr. Bjorklund's recommendation and adopt Director of Juvenile Court and Educational Services job description and assign the position at a pay grade 13.
Justice Kapsner informed the members that the job responsibilities for this job are outlined in NDCC § 27-02-05.2, and since she has not had an opportunity to review the job description thoroughly to see if it is alignment with the statutory requirement, she wants to reserve taking action. She said that when it does comport to the statute, the position should merit it being at a pay grade 14.
A motion was made by Judge Geiger, seconded by Kurt Schmidt, to have Carla review the job description and incorporate from the statute any duties not already identified in the job description. It was further moved that once the job description has been reviewed that a conference call be scheduled in order for the members to take action. The motion unanimously carried.
Chair Simonson drew the member's attention to the pay grade review request submitted by Ted Gladden.
Carla explained that since the Executive Secretary position has not been reviewed by Bob Bjorklund, the request was forwarded to him for analysis and pay grade review.
Carla reviewed Mr. Bjorklund's analysis and her supporting recommendation. She said Mr. Bjorklund rated the position at a pay grade 7. The classification is currently at a pay grade 6.
A motion was made by Judge Hilden, seconded by Kurt Schmidt, to accept Mr. Bjorklund's recommendation to raise the pay grade of the Executive Secretary to a 7.
Justice Kapsner stated that the scope of responsibilities of the Secretary to the Chief Justice is larger then that of the Executive Secretary. Furthermore, the Secretary to the Chief Justice possesses the adjudicative responsibilities where the Executive Secretary does not.
The motion accepting Mr. Bjorklund's recommendation to raise the pay grade of the Executive Secretary was defeated by a 3 to 4 vote, one abstention.
Mr. Gladden arrived after the vote at which time Chair Simonson invited him to comment on the pay grade assignment recommendation. Ted explained that when the first classification system was developed, there was a distinction drawn between the secretary for the chief justice and the secretary for the state court administrator and the other secretaries and it had to do with a sense that the people filling those positions were functioning at a higher level. As a result, those two classifications were placed one pay grade above the others. He said that remained in place until 1999 when the Supreme Court secretaries were elevated one pay grade placing the judicial secretary to the chief justice at a pay grade 7 and the judicial secretary to a justice at a pay grade 6.
Justice Kapsner commented that the purpose of the difference in pay grade between the Secretary to the Chief Justice and the Executive Secretary is the adjudicative responsibilities.
Reclassification Request - Secretary II
Chair Simonson drew the members’ attention to Mr. Bjorklund's recommendation. He said that the Mr. Bjorklund’s analysis concluded that the secretary II classification remain at a pay grade 5. He said under the proposed system, the classification is rated at a 10. Chair Simonson explained that the secretary II's who work directly for a district judges have requested that their pay grade be elevated to a 6. He said that under the current system, a court recorder is paid 56% of what a court reporter is paid. Under the proposed system the recorder is paid 83% of what a court reporter is paid. He stated that the court recorder's request to be elevated one pay grade is a modest request compared to what Mr. Bjorklund is proposing under the proposed plan. Chair Simonson stated that raising the classification by one pay grade would narrow the margin between the two classifications by 11%, which would put the court recorder salary at 67% of that of a court reporter. He informed the members that he supports their request.
Carla stated that under the proposed system, the pay grade assignments appear to be fairer and more respectable. She emphasized that what we are seeing in Bob Bjorklund's analysis of the classifications is the difference in the design of the old matrix versus the new matrix, and what factors are being used to rate positions. She commented that the proposed matrix appears to rate classifications more equitably.
Judge Geiger questioned how can we make an adjustment to a pay grade for court recorders when a classification does not exist for this group of employees. Carla explained that any upward modification to the secretary II classification will affect all personnel holding the title of secretary II. The only way to avoid that is to create a separate classification for those employees whose primary responsibility is that of performing court recording functions.
Judge Geiger stated that his proposed job descriptions change the name of the court reporter to Stenographic Court Reporter and creates a classification for those employees who perform predominantly court recording functions for judges to electronic court reporters. He stated that the only difference between the two proposed classifications is that the Stenographic Court Reporter works off a stenographic machine, their specialized education and experience, and they are suppose to be able to do CAT. He emphasized the need for the two position descriptions to be consistent with each other.
The members expressed concern in that there are deputy clerks and juvenile court secretaries who routinely fill in and perform court recording for judges and by carving out a separate classification and placing it at higher pay grade, it will make it difficult to justify why those deputy clerks and secretaries who do not work for judges should not have their pay grade adjusted.
Carla suggested that prior to voting on the proposed job descriptions as drafted by Judge Geiger that they be sent out for comment.
In an attempt to move the proposal to elevate the pay grade of the secretary II's who work for district judges and whose primary responsibility is performing court recording functions, Judge Simonson suggested that Carla reformat the proposed job description, Judicial Secretary to a District Judge, in order that it fits into the current classification system, recommend that it be placed at a pay grade 6, then forward it on to the Supreme Court for consideration.
Dion Ulrich commented that he believes there is going to be some problems with identifying who will hold those positions especially if a judge uses more than one secretary in the office to perform the recording.
Justice Kapsner questioned whether Judge Geiger's proposed job description for an Electronic Court Reporter would replace the proposed Judicial Secretary to a District Judge job description. Chair Simonson commented that it would be used in the interim and until the Board takes action on Judge Geiger's proposed job descriptions.
A motion was made by Judge Geiger, seconded by Judy Susie, to adopt the Stenographic Court Reporter and the Electronic Court Reporter as submitted by Judge Geiger without the assignment of pay grades. The motion failed to pass by a 6 to 2 vote.
A motion was made by Judge Geiger, seconded by Judge Hilden, to forward the proposed job descriptions as drafted by Judge Geiger out for comment. The motion passed unanimously.
A motion was made by Judge Hilden, seconded by JKurt Schmidt, that all full-time Electronic Court Reporters will have their pay grade advanced from 5 to 6 and that the proposed job description "Judicial Secretary to a District Judge" be renamed to Electronic Court Reporter and that it be reformatted to reflect our present job description. The motion passed 5 to 2 with one abstention.
The Board discussed changing the manner in which pay grade reviews and reclassifications are performed since the process for each is different. The Board decided to withhold from taking any action at this time.
There being no further business the meeting adjourned at 3:00 p.m. The next meeting is scheduled for April 5 in Bismarck.
Carla Kolling, Staff