Douglas County Personnel Rule #13

APPEALS, HEARINGS AND INVESTIGATIONS

13.1        Personnel Review Board.  The Board of Commissioners shall appoint a five member Personnel Review Board.   Members of the Review Board shall serve at the pleasure of the Board of Commissioners.  Two regular members will be appointed from the community who have broad professional experience in labor dispute resolution.  Two additional regular members will be employees appointed from a list of interested employees maintained by the Human Resources Director.  Each regular member will be appointed for a term of three years.  If a regular member resigns or is removed by the Board, the Board will appoint a replacement who will serve for the unexpired term of the member who is being replaced.  A fifth member will be appointed on a case by case basis and if practicable will have special expertise in the subject matter involved.  If a member will not be available to participate in a hearing before the Personnel Review Board within the time limits specified in these Rules and it is not practical to reschedule the hearing to a later date, then the Board of Commissioners may appoint a temporary replacement.

13.2        Compensation.  Compensation for members of the Personnel Review Board shall be set by the Board of Commissioners and each member shall be paid actual and necessary expenses.

13.3        Duties of the Personnel Review Board.  The Personnel Review Board shall hear employee appeals concerning allegations of employment related discrimination and allegations of wrongful dismissal of non-managerial employees.

13.4        Appeals.

13.4.1                   Appeals of Dismissals. Employees, other than (as defined in Personnel Rule 2 (Definitions)) probationary, at will part time, on-call, temporary, at will managerial, appointed department heads and those employees of elected officials who have not adopted these Rules (as outlined in Rule 12, Disciplinary Actions), shall have the right to appeal dismissals to the Personnel Review Board.  For dismissals, notice of appeal must be filed with the Personnel Review Board and the Board not later than ten (10) working days after receipt of the notice of dismissal.  All notices must be in writing and must set forth reasons why the dismissal is thought to be improper.  The appeal shall be scheduled by the Personnel Review Board within twenty (20) working days after receipt of the request and a hearing date set.  The Personnel Review Board shall furnish the Department Head concerned with a copy of the notice of appeal in advance of the hearing.  The Personnel Review Board shall determine if there was good cause for the discharge.  If the Personnel Review Board finds good cause, then it shall affirm the action of the Department Head; if the Personnel Review Board does not find good cause for the dismissal it may impose a lesser disciplinary action or overrule the disciplinary action imposed by the Department Head.

13.4.2                   Appeals of Alleged Discrimination.  Discrimination against any person in recruitment, examination, appointment, training, promotion, retention, discipline or any other aspect of personnel administration because of race, national origin, sex, color, religion, or because of mental or physical handicap unrelated to specific job performance is prohibited and such matters may be appealed to the Personnel Review Board.  Any employee or job applicant may appeal an alleged act of discrimination relating to employment with the County.

13.4.3                   Subpoena and Records.  The Personnel Review Board has power to administer oaths, subpoena witnesses and compel the production of books and papers pertinent to any investigation or hearing authorized by law.

13.4.4                   Investigation.  The Personnel Review Board will be furnished, upon request by the chairperson, all necessary documents to allow a thorough understanding of the case significantly in advance of the hearing to allow proper review.  All information sought and used in the hearing will conform to Rule 13.4.8.

13.4.5                   Hearings Procedure.  Personnel Review Board hearings shall not be open to the public unless the employee initiating the procedure requests an open hearing.  The Human Resources Director shall be responsible for compliance with the Oregon Public Meetings laws.  

13.4.6.                  Notice.  Written notification of the time and place of a hearing shall be given to the employee and other interested parties at least ten (10) days in advance, provided that interested parties have furnished information as to where such notification should be directed.

13.4.7                   Witness Fees.  Employees shall have the right to have subpoenaes issued by the Personnel Review Board.  Every person served with a subpoena requiring attendance before the Personnel Review Board shall be entitled to the same fees and mileage as are allowed by law to witnesses in civil suits and actions, except that no person who is an employee of the County shall be entitled to any fee.  The fees and mileage allowed by this section need not be prepaid, but the Board shall provide for payment thereof when certified by the Personnel Review Board.

13.4.8                   Conduct of Hearing.  A hearing before the Personnel Review Board is intended solely for the purpose of receiving evidence either to refute or to substantiate specific charges which the Personnel Review Board has been requested to examine.  It shall not be made an occasion for irresponsible accusations, attacks upon the character or conduct of employer or employee or other derogatory matters having no bearing on the charges under investigation.  The Personnel Review Board, in conducting such hearings, is not bound by the rules of evidence.

13.4.9                   Counsel or Representative.  In appealing an action to the Personnel Review Board, an employee may have legal counsel or a non-legal representative.  The employee may examine and cross-examine witnesses, make statements, summarize testimony, introduce evidence, and otherwise conduct their own hearing.  If the employee has chosen to be represented by a second party, the presentation shall be the responsibility of the legal counsel or non-legal representative, if the employee so specifies.

If the employee gives written waiver of their right to appeal the Personnel Review Board's decision to Circuit Court and asks to proceed without legal counsel, the County shall proceed without legal counsel also.

13.4.10                 Findings.  As soon as reasonably possible after the close of a hearing the Personnel Review Board shall make written findings and decision and furnish this document to the parties of the action.  Ten (10) days from the date of the written decision of the Personnel Review Board, the decision shall become effective.

13.5        Appeal of the Personnel Review Board Findings.  An appeal of the findings of the Personnel Review Board may be initiated by either the employee or the Department Head by filing a written request for review with the Human Resources Director within ten (10) days after the Personnel Review Board files its written decision.

13.5.1                                     Review by the Board of Commissioners is Discretionary.  After a notice of appeal is filed with the Human Resources Director, the Board of Commissioners may choose to either 1) allow review, in which case, the Board shall decide to either hear the matter itself and set a date for holding the review hearing, or the Board may, for any reason, appoint a hearings officer to review the matter and make a final local decision in the Board’s place, or 2) decline to review the matter.  If Board review of a matter is declined, the Board shall adopt an order so stating, but the order need not state any reason for the Board’s decision to decline review.

13.5.2                   The Board of Commissioners may initiate review on its own motion within the time limit stated in Rule 13.4.10.

13.5.3                   If review is initiated pursuant to Rule 13.4.10 or 13.5.2 any party may file a request for cross review within ten (10) days after notice of review is mailed pursuant to Rule 13.5.4.

13.5.4                   Notice of review or cross review shall be mailed to the employee and the Department Head as soon as practicable after review or cross review is initiated pursuant to Rule 13.5.2 or 13.5.3.  Review by the Board of Commissioners or hearings officer shall occur no later than 30 days after the date of receipt of the request for review

13.5.5                   Every notice of appeal or request for review or cross review shall contain a reference to the decision sought to be reviewed and the specific issues that will be covered by the review.

13.5.6                   Review by the Board or hearings officer shall be confined to the record of the hearing before the Personnel Review Board.

13.5.7                   Review by the Board or hearings officer shall be de novo and shall be limited to the issues raised in the notice of appeal or request for review, or cross review, if the review is initiated by such notice.

13.5.8                   The Board or hearings officer may affirm, reverse or modify the decision of the Personnel Review Board.  On review, the Board or hearings officer shall have the exclusive right to determine what the facts are; whether discipline is warranted; and what disciplinary action or penalty should be imposed.

13.5.9                   For all appeals or reviews undertaken by the Board or hearings officer, written findings and conclusions shall be made and a decision reached based on the record before it.

13.5.10                 The Board of Commissioners or hearings officer may remand the matter before it to the Personnel Review Board, if the Board or hearings officer determines that there is substantial evidence that should be considered by the Personnel Review Board that was not available at the time the Personnel Review Board first considered the matter.  The Board or hearings officer also may remand the matter if it is determined that the Personnel Review Board improperly applied the law.

13.5.11                 The Board or hearings officer, at its discretion, may allow a hearing on review.  If the Board or hearings officer allows a hearing, the employee and the Department Head or their legal counsel may make presentations based upon the record of the hearing before the Personnel Review Board. The provisions of Rules 13.4.5, 13.4.6, 13.4.8, 13.4.9 and 13.4.10 shall apply to hearings before the Board of Commissioners or hearings officer.