Personnel Policy Board
12:15 p.m., Monday, July 26, 1999
Penny Miller, Chair
Justice Mary Maring
Judge Mikal Simonson
Judge Bruce Bohlman
Judge Lawrence Jahnke
Chair Miller called the meeting to order at 12:15 p.m and called the members' attention to the first item on the agenda, the Minutes of the June 10, 1999 meeting for review. The Chair recommended that the minutes reflect the following revisions:
The members present reflect Rita Hanneson, not Renee Reynolds; the third sentence under the heading May 10, 1999 Letter from William Strutz to Chief Justice VandeWalle read "She explained that many elected..."; under the heading Keithe Nelson's June 9, 1999 Memo to Chief Justice VandeWalle, the first sentence should read "Carla Kolling . . . to a help desk position that is located in the supreme court but provides technical assistance to the supreme and district courts." Lastly, the time of adjournment was 10:15 a.m. not 12:15 p.m.
Technical Support Specialist
Chair Miller drew the members' attention to Carla Kolling's recommendation to support the consultant's analysis and paygrade assignment of the technical support specialist position and its attached job description. Carla explained that Mr. Bjorklund, after reviewing the job analysis questionnaire and completion of the telephone interviews with Kurt Schmidt and herself, assigned the position to a paygrade 5.
Motion was made by Rita Hanneson, seconded by Judge Simonson, to accept Carla Kolling's recommendation and adopt the proposed job description. The motion unanimously carried.
Reclassification Requests - Judicial Secretary and
Judicial Secretary to the Chief Justice Positions
Chair Miller drew the members' attention to Carla Kolling's recommendation concerning the reclassification requests of the judicial secretary and judicial secretary to the chief justice positions. Carla explained that Consultant Robert Bjorklund was employed to review the job analysis questionnaires completed by the five secretaries to the justices to determine whether or not the responsibilities of the two positions increased to the point where a reclassification to a higher paygrade was warranted. She said that prior to making his recommendation, Mr. Bjorklund conducted phone interviews with three secretaries, Kathryn Williams, Jeanne Walstad and Pam Ciavarella, in order to get a better understanding of the responsibilities of each classification. She explained that Mr. Bjorklund's recommendation was to elevate the position of the judicial secretary to the chief justice to a paygrade 7 and the judicial secretary position to a paygrade 6. Both reflect one paygrade adjustment.
Carla explained that she supports Mr. Bjorklund's recommendation in part. She recognizes that there must be some differentiation between the judicial secretary to the chief justice and judicial secretary positions based on the volume and variety of administrative work carried out on behalf of the chief justice and his participation on national committees, however having the two classifications in different paygrades poses a question. For example, as relates to turnover, what do you do when a chief justice is elected and a new secretary steps into the position? Do you reduce the paygrade of the judicial secretary currently holding the position or do you leave the person in their current paygrade?
Carla stated that one alternative would be to keep the judicial secretary to the chief justice at a paygrade 6 and pay the person holding that position an additional sum, such as $100 per month, to cover the additional administrative responsibilities associated with the position. She explained that the concept mirrors that provided to the chief justice and the presiding judge. Furthermore, by adopting this concept it eliminates the need to go through the process of promoting future judicial secretaries into the position and reducing the paygrade of the outgoing judicial secretary currently filling that position. As concerns the job descriptions, Carla stated that the experience requirement be expanded to include that of performing paralegal duties such as legal research and drafting legal documents, which coincides with the duties and responsibilities reflected in the job description.
Motion was made by Judge Simonson, seconded by Rita Hanneson to support Carla's recommendation to place both classifications, judicial secretary and judicial secretary to the chief justice, in paygrade 6 and to increase the salary of the judicial secretary to the chief justice by $100 to compensate for the additional administrative tasks associated with the position.
Justice Maring expressed concern with modifying the consultant's recommendation. She said if we plan to outsource requests, we need to rely on the expertise of the consultant.
Chair Miller suggested adding language to Policy 103 that in the event a person is reclassified into a position that is lower than the current paygrade, that the pay should be adjusted accordingly.
Penny stated that by approving Carla's recommendation to pay the judicial secretary to the chief justice an extra $100, we may be opening the door to similar requests in the future and that by doing so jeopardizes our current system.
Judge Simonson withdrew his motion.
Justice Maring, in reviewing the job description, suggested changing the work experience requirement to prefer experience in the area of legal research and the drafting of legal documents and not mandating it.
Motion was made by Justice Maring, seconded by Judge Simonson that we recommend the classification of the judicial secretary to the chief justice be elevated to a paygrade 7, the classification of the judicial secretary be elevated to a paygrade 6 and that the job descriptions for both classifications reflect that work experience state that experience in the area of legal research and the drafting of legal documents is preferred.
Dion Ulrich expressed concern with moving the judicial secretary to the chief justice classification to a paygrade 7. He stated that the judicial secretary position requires a high school degree and others in that classification must possess a four year degree.
Chair Miller recommended that the motion be split in order to discuss the issue of the positioning of the judicial secretary to the chief justice within the classification system. The members agreed. Therefore the motion on the floor was restated to reflect that the classification of the judicial secretary be elevated to paygrade 6 and that the job description for that classification reflect that work experience state that experience in the area of legal research and the drafting of legal documents is preferred. The Motion passed. Judge Simonson dissented.
Rita Hanneson inquired when the market analysis of the positions will begin. Carla explained that before we begin that process, it is necessary for Mr. Bjorklund to speak to the group on methodology behind conducting a reclassification review and market analysis, the process, the benefits, and lastly, the implementation of the product. Carla suggested inviting Mr. Bjorklund to the August 27 meeting.
In their discussions, certain members of the board expressed concern in the education requirement for the judicial secretary to the chief justice. Dion Ulrich suggested elevating the education requirement for the position due to the fact that others in that paygrade require a four year degree. Justice Maring supported Dion's comments.
Carla explained that once a person begins to alter the factors, it changes the points assigned to that particular factor and ultimately that has the potential of lowering or raising the paygrade of that classification. Carla stressed the importance of ensuring that whatever the board sets as requirements, whether it be education or experience, they are reflective of what the candidate needs to possess in order to do the job.
A motion approving the reclassification of the judicial secretary to the chief justice position to a paygrade 7 and that the job description for that classification reflect that work experience state that experience in the area of legal research and the drafting of legal documents is preferred. The motion unanimously carried.
The next meeting of the board will be Friday, August 27, 1999, from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon, in the Stutsman County Courthouse. Other meeting dates are: October 7, 1999, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon, Bismarck, and November 22, 1999, 10:00 a.m.- 12:00 noon, Radisson, Bismarck.
Minutes approved August 27, 1999.