The Pelham Personnel Board has been conducting a review of the Civil Service Law. The Board reviewed rules five and six during a May 14 meeting. (File)
The Pelham Personnel Board has been conducting a review of the Civil Service Law. The Board reviewed rules five and six during a May 14 meeting. (File)

Archived Story

Personnel Board reviews promotion, demotion and dismissal procedures

Published 11:13am Thursday, May 15, 2014

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—The Pelham Personnel Board met on May 14 to continue the project of reviewing the city’s Civil Service Law.

The current version of the law was adopted in 1988 and has not been revised since that time. The Personnel Board has been conducting a thorough review of the Civil Service Law, rule by rule, editing it for clarity and consistency, and updating the law to align with current practices.

Most revisions have involved simplifying language and adding all-inclusive gender references. The Personnel Board has also worked to increase the role of department heads in various decision-making situations, balancing out the power of the human resources director.

The current version of the Civil Service Law often places the human resources director “in the position to make a decision that they have no experience in making,” Personnel Board member Bobby Hayes said during an April 23 meeting.

Human Resources Director Janis Parks noted she often consults with department heads when making decisions, thus adding the department heads into the law better reflects how decisions are already being made.

During the May 14 meeting, the Personnel Board reviewed rule five, covering promotions, demotions, transfers and assignments, and rule six, covering disciplinary actions and appeals.

The Board gave department heads a larger role in decisions to promote or demote and also clarified the law, giving “the appointing authority” the right to hire as well as fire.

“While the appointing authority can hire, nothing specifically said the appoint authority can fire,” Parks said of the current Civil Service Law.

The Board also focused on the dismissal process detailed in rule six, checking it against Parks’ experience with procedure and the chain of documentation involved in dismissals.

Several sections were set aside to be reviewed by Pelham City Attorney Butch Ellis, and the Board decided to strike section 12 from the law. Section 12 allowed for “an employee to be dismissed, demoted, or suspended on charges made by the director.”

“That clause is ripe for abuse,” Mayor Gary Waters said, adding charges should come from the bottom up, not the top down.

“We have an appropriate hierarchy (in place) to handle this (situation),” Pelham City Council President Rick Hayes said.

The Pelham Personnel Board has reviewed six rules of the 11-rule Civil Service Law. They will begin reviewing rule seven at their next meeting on June 4.

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