The State Personnel Board has an annual budget of $375,000, one full time employee, and provides covered state employees with an avenue for due process when they wish to appeal a suspension for more than 80 working hours, an involuntary demotion, or a termination from their employment for cause. The State Personnel Board also has jurisdiction over the state’s whistleblower complaint process.
To provide an efficient and impartial hearing process while carrying out the State Personnel Board’s statutory mandate to hear and review disciplinary appeals and whistleblower complaints filed by covered state employees, former state employees, and other individuals referenced in statute.
The State Personnel Board is responsible for hearing and reviewing, via an administrative hearing process, appeals filed by covered state employees who have been dismissed from covered state service, suspended for more than 80 working hours, or involuntarily demoted resulting from disciplinary action. The State Personnel Board also hears and reviews complaints filed under the whistleblower statute. Under the direction of the presiding hearing officer, the proceedings are conducted on an informal basis through the taking of direct testimony, the cross examination of witnesses, and the admission of evidence. A record of the proceedings is taken and made available, upon request, to hearing officers, board members, and parties to the appeal. The hearing officer determines the facts based on the evidence presented and makes a recommendation regarding discipline to the State Personnel Board. Board members are subsequently provided with case information so they may determine whether the proper level of discipline has been imposed.
Strategic Issue #1
Continue to provide a fair, impartial, and expeditious hearing process.
Fair and Impartial Hearing Process: Satisfaction survey results indicate stakeholders generally feel the State Personnel Board provides a fair and impartial hearing process. The State Personnel Board will continue to include this as a strategic issue. It is important that the hearing process remain fair and impartial and that hearing officers display an unbiased position at all times. The surveys also provide space for additional comments. Any comments are reviewed so that weaknesses can be addressed and the level of satisfaction can be increased.
Expeditious Hearing Process: In FY2014, the average number of days from receipt of an appeal or complaint until the State Personnel Board issued a final order decreased from 133 to 122, still over the anticipated 115 days. There were a number of cases that were continued or delayed for various reasons: in 1 case, the appellant was facing criminal charges and requested the first hearing day for his dismissal appeal be continued until after the criminal charges had been adjudicated which delayed the appeal for 9 months; and in 3 other cases, there was a stipulation by the parties to continue consideration by the board from the January to the February board meetings. If those delays were not taken into consideration, the average number of days from receipt to final State Personnel Board order would have been 112 days, within the projected time frame of 115 days.
The State Personnel Board will continue to encourage the parties to be prepared for the first day of hearing and discourage unnecessary continuances.
Strategic Issue #2
Decreased workloads due to personnel reform.
The State Personnel Board recognizes that personnel reform has impacted the number of appealable actions that have been taken against covered state employees. Thus, fewer appeals have been filed; in FY12 72 appealable actions were filed versus 46 filed in FY14, the same number as FY 13 (46).
There is no way to forecast how many appeals will be filed in any given year. It is all determined by how many disciplinary actions are imposed by agencies and whether or not the person who has received that discipline wants to file an appeal.
The Board will continue to watch this trend to determine what steps will need to be taken to ensure stakeholders get the full benefit of due process.
Due to Personnel Reform, it is forecasted that in the next five years the number of appeals filed with the State Personnel Board will further decrease. Whistleblower protection for all state employees, covered and uncovered, as well as other jurisdictions, is still available through the State Personnel Board and the Board will continue to provide what services it can and must under its mandated statutory authority.