Section 1. Statement of Authority and Policy.
Under Article VI, Section 3 of the North Dakota Constitution and Section 27-02-05.1, NDCC, the Supreme Court has the authority and responsibility to establish personnel policies, procedures, qualifications, duties and compensation for court personnel.
It is the intent of the North Dakota Judicial System to formalize a process whereby the creation and amendment of personnel policies is carried out with full involvement of the judges and personnel of the North Dakota Judicial System.
Section 2. Personnel Policy Board - Creation, Membership and Staffing
A. There is established within the North Dakota Judicial System a Personnel Policy Board.
B. The Personnel Policy Board will consist of eight voting members:(1) 1 judge elected by the district court judges;(2) 1 judge elected by the Administrative Council;(3) 1 justice/judge appointed by the Chief Justice;(4) 1 supreme court department or division head appointed by the Chief Justice;(5) 2 district court employees elected by the district court employees, who are not trial court administrators;(6) 1 supreme court employee elected by the supreme court employees; and(7) 1 court administrator appointed by the Chief Justice.C. The board will elect a chair and a vice-chair from among its membership. The vice-chair will serve in the absence of the chair. The chair and vice-chair may vote on all matters before the board.
D. The State Court Administrator's Office will provide staff assistance for the board.
Section 3. Terms and Elections
A. Members of the Personnel Policy Board will serve a three year term with terms staggered so that no more than three members are up for appointment or election annually.
B. A member may not serve more than three consecutive terms. A former member who served three consecutive terms is eligible for reappointment after a six-year break in service.
C. Employees must be given a minimum of 15 working days to submit candidacy to the Human Resource Director.
D. The voting period must be a minimum of 15 working days.
Section 4. Duties and Responsibilities
A. The Personnel Policy Board will make decisions on:(1) Classification and pay grade reconsideration; and(2) Grievance appeals.B. The board will meet periodically to review and make recommendations relating to:(1) Personnel policies;(2) Personnel matters affecting employees;(3) Providing recommendations to the Chief Justice on such matters deemed appropriate;(4) Annually submitting a recommended salary administration plan to the Chief Justice; and(5) Other duties and responsibilities as assigned by the Chief Justice.
Section 5. Conflict of Interest
A. A member of the Personnel Policy Board must be disqualified from voting in appeal proceedings before the board in which the member's impartiality could reasonably be questioned including, when:(1) The board member may have a personal or economic interest in the outcome of the proceeding;(2) The board member is likely to be a material witness in the proceeding; or(3) The board member has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party or personal knowledge of evidentiary facts concerning the proceedings.B. If the chair disqualifies in a proceeding before the board, the vice-chair will conduct the proceeding. If both the chair and the vice-chair disqualify themselves, a member will be elected by the remaining board members to conduct the proceedings.
Section 6. Establishment or Amendment of a Personnel Policy.
A. Initiated by the Personnel Policy Board.(1) The Personnel Policy Board may recommend to the Supreme Court a new policy or an amendment to an existing policy. Before forwarding the recommendation, the board will elicit comment by notifying the judges and personnel of the judicial system by sending copies of the recommendation to each judicial district on the District Court level and each department head on the Supreme Court level at least 15 days prior to forwarding the recommendation. However, notification to elicit comment is not required for amendments to comply with changes in law, to increase wages or benefits offered by the state, to change dollar amounts, or to clarify a policy without affecting the substance of the policy.(2) Following the comment period, the board may submit its recommendation to the Supreme Court.(3) If it is determined by the board that circumstances require expedited action, the notification time-frames may be suspended and recommendations made immediately to the Supreme Court along with the justification of the expedited recommendation.(4) When submitting a proposal to the Supreme Court, the chair of the board may request a personal appearance to present the proposals.(5) The Supreme Court will act on the board's recommendation.
B. Initiated by Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court may initiate or amend personnel policies:(1) by referring the proposed policy to the Personnel Policy Board for action; or(2) if expedited action is required, by immediately adopting a policy on an interim basis and notifying the Personnel Policy Board of its action pending comment and recommendation.
C. Initiated by Personnel or Committees.
Committees of the Supreme Court, Committees of the Judicial Conference, or individuals may initiate personnel policies by forwarding the proposed policy or amendments to the Personnel Policy Board. The board will place the proposal on its agenda and consider it as deemed appropriate by the board. The board will notify the initiating party of any final action taken on the proposal.
Section 7. Effect of Policies.
All actions relating to classified judicial system employees including, but not limited to, hiring, promoting, compensating, disciplining, dismissing, accumulating fringe benefits, and taking leave, will be carried out in accordance with policies adopted by the Supreme Court.
Section 8. Employee Grievances.
A. Procedures. Employee grievances and appeals will be handled in accordance with policies adopted by the Supreme Court. For grievances appealed to the Personnel Policy Board, the Board must promptly investigate the grievance or complete a review of the record and issue a written decision to the employee. The decision of the Personnel Policy Board is final.
B. Records relating to an internal investigation of a grievance or appeal are exempt from disclosure in response to public records requests until the investigation of the grievance or appeal is complete, but no longer than seventy-five calendar days from the date of receipt of the grievance or appeal, whichever date is later.
Rule 33 was adopted effective July 1, 1991 and amended, effective January 1, 1999; June 1, 2009; June 1, 2011; March 6, 2013; March 1, 2016; January 1, 2020, to state that the Board considers reconsideration of Classification and pay grade rather than appeals.
Section 4, paragraph (a)(l) was amended effective January 1, 2020, to reflect that the Personnel Policy Board decides classification and pay grade on reconsideration rather than appeal.
Section 6, paragraph (a)(4) was added, effective January 1, 2020, to eliminate repetitive phrases in paragraph (a)(2) and (a)(3).
Section 8 was added, effective January 1, 2020, to correspond with and clarify amendments to Administrative Rule 41 providing greater access to court records.