Administrative Services

EMPLOYEE RELATIONS

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Nebraska State Personnel Board Decisions

The following State Personnel Board Decisions regarding employee grievances have been summarized for informational use only.

2001

Connie Anderson v. Department of Correctional Services Appeal: (NAPE/Motion to Dismiss) Connie Anderson filed a grievance claiming that the Department of Correctional Services violated the Labor Contract Appendix M when her days off were changed. The parties agreed to have Samuel Van Pelt serve as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was held in accordance with the provisions of the 1999-2001 NAPE/AFSCME and State of Nebraska Labor Contract.  The Respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss based on responses to interrogatories made by the Appellant. 

The Hearing Officer found during testimony, that the Appellant did admit that the Respondent did have the right to change her days off and did follow the contract with the appropriate timelines.  The Hearing Officer also found that the Appellant's contention was that the contract was followed, but it was not fair.  The Hearing Officer recommended that the Motion to Dismiss be affirmed.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommended decision of the Hearing Officer that the appeal be dismissed.

John Burns v. Department of Health & Human Services: (NAPE -- C.12) John Burns filed a grievance claiming that the Department of Health & Human Services violated the Labor Contract by placing him in a mandatory overtime status.  The parties agreed to have Sharon Imes serve as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was held in accordance with the provisions of the 1999-2001 NAPE/AFSCME and State of Nebraska Labor Contract. The Appellant contended that the respondent should have assigned the mandatory overtime to employees with less seniority three times in a pay period, before moving to the next senior employee.

The Hearing Officer rejected this argument, since the contract states an employee will not be required to work more than three overtime assignments in a pay period.  It was also found that this section of the contract was intended to offer a rotation system, and not to punish new hired employees.  The Hearing Officer recommended that the appeal be denied.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommended decision of the Hearing Officer.

Donald Willman v. Department of Correctional Services Appeal: (Rules --13) Donald Willman filed a grievance appealing his termination by the Department of Correctional Services. The State Personnel Board appointed William J. Wood to serve as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was held in accordance with the provisions of the State of Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules and Regulations. The Appellant was charged with violating several sections of the Rules, including Conduct Inappropriate for a State Employee, Failure to Obey Orders, and Acts of Discrimination and Workplace Harassment.

The Hearing Officer found that the Appellant did engage in sexual conversation with co-workers as charged and that as the highest ranking officer on the shift, took no action to either stop any of the other conversations or alert his superiors of these conversations that were going on in his presence.  The Hearing Officer recommended, due to the severe nature and duration of the Appellant's actions, that the Agency's disciplinary action of termination be affirmed.

The State Personnel Board voted to accept the recommended decision of the Hearing Officer.  The District Court reversed the Board's ruling and the Court of Appeals then overturned the District Court's ruling.  The Supreme Court refused to hear any additional appeal on the matter.

Norland Ferguson v. Department of Economic Development Appeal: (NAPE --10.1) Norland Ferguson filed a grievance appealing his termination by the Department of Economic Development. The parties agreed to have Joseph Logan serve as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was held in accordance with the provisions of the 1999-2001 NAPE/AFSCME and State of Nebraska Labor Contract. The Respondent charged the Appellant with several violations including failure to comply with lawful orders, failure to maintain appropriate working relationships, acts or conduct which adversely affects the employees performance, as well as a violation of a Work Improvement Plan.  The Appellant alleged that his conduct was not near the level of misconduct that would warrant such severe disciplinary action.

The Hearing Officer found that the Appellant did act inappropriately on several occasions and refused to follow direct orders.  It was also found that the Appellant did not meet the goals established in his Work Improvement Plan.  The Hearing Officer recommended that the Agency's disciplinary action of termination be affirmed.

The State Personnel Board voted to reject the recommended decision of the Hearing Officer.  In its own conclusions of law, the State Personnel Board concluded that the Respondent did not establish "just cause" to impose the level of discipline in terminating the Appellant.  The Board ordered the Appellant be reinstated with back pay, and recommended the Respondent impose discipline consistent with the offense.

Kristin Naylor v. Department of Correctional Services Appeal: (NAPE/Motion to Dismiss) Kristin Naylor filed a grievance appealing her termination by the Department of Correctional Services. The parties agreed to have John P. Glynn, Jr., serve as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was held in accordance with the provisions of the 1999-2001 NAPE/AFSCME and State of Nebraska Labor Contract. The Respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss based on the fact that the Appellant was on original probation and did not have grievance rights under the contract. 

The Hearing Officer found that the Appellant was, in fact, serving her original probation and according to the labor contract, was not entitled to grievance rights.  The Hearing Officer recommended that the Motion to Dismiss be affirmed.

The State Personnel Board voted to accept the recommended decision of the Hearing Officer and the appeal was dismissed.

Michael Blackshear v. Department of Aeronautics Appeal: (Rules --2 & 12) Michael Blackshear filed a grievance appealing his layoff by the Department of Aeronautics. The State Personnel Board appointed John P. Glynn, Jr., to serve as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was held in accordance with the provisions of the State of Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules and Regulations. The Appellant charges that the elimination of his position with the agency was a retaliatory form of disciplinary action and not a layoff.  The Respondent contended that it was following an order from the Governor to initiate a Reduction in Labor Force.

The Hearing Officer found that the Respondent was following a directive from the Governor and the elimination of the position of Airfield Property Manager was, in fact, a reorganization and reduction in labor force made in good faith by the director, and in compliance with the Classified System Personnel Rules and Regulations.

The State Personnel Board voted to accept the recommended decision of the Hearing Officer.

Deborah Smith v. Department of Correctional Services Appeals #6 and #7: (NAPE/Motions to Dismiss) Deborah Smith filed two grievances, the first was with regards to equal treatment, and the second was appealing her six-month disciplinary probation issued by the Department of Correctional Services. The parties agreed to have Joseph Logan serve as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was held in accordance with the provisions of the 1999-2001 NAPE/AFSCME and State of Nebraska Labor Contract. The Respondent filed the motions to dismiss based on the fact that the Appellant had been terminated and failed to pursue her grievance rights in the termination appeal.

The Hearing Officer found that the Appellant was no longer employed by the Respondent, and she failed to pursue her grievance rights regarding her termination.  The Hearing Officer stated that since no monetary damages were requested in either of these grievances, the grievances should be dismissed.  The Hearing Officer recommended that the motions to dismiss be affirmed.

The State Personnel Board voted to accept the recommended decision of the Hearing Officer and the appeals were dismissed.

Ronald Sanchez v. Department of Health and Human Services Appeal: (Rules -- Special Appearance) Ronald Sanchez filed a grievance appealing his non-selection for a position by the Department of Health and Human Services. The Department of Administrative Services (DAS) was subsequently named in the appeal when it reached Step 3 in the process, and DAS filed a Special Appearance.  The State Personnel Board on its own motion, held a hearing to allow DAS the opportunity to state why it should not be a part of the process.

The Board found that DAS was not a proper party to this grievance, and therefore, the Special Appearance should be sustained and the grievance filed by the Appellant, with regard to DAS, be dismissed.

Sandra Stoddard v. Department of Correctional Services Appeal #2: (NAPE--10.1) Sandra Stoddard filed a grievance appealing her termination by the Department of Correctional Services. The parties agreed to have Joseph Logan serve as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was held in accordance with the provisions of the 1999-2001 NAPE/AFSCME and State of Nebraska Labor Contract. The Respondent alleged that the Appellant had outside contact with an inmate's family, provided false information during the investigation and used the agency's computer system to access inmates' files.  The Appellant denied all of the charges.

The Hearing Officer found that the Appellant made several phone calls to an inmate's family in an attempt to purchase a vehicle.  He also found that the Appellant knowingly provided false information to the investigating officer and did use the agency's computer system to obtain files regarding inmates.  Due to the nature of the violations committed and the severity of the violation, the Hearing Officer recommended that the agency's disciplinary action terminating the Appellant, be affirmed.

The State Personnel Board voted to accept the recommended decision of the Hearing Officer and the appeal was denied and dismissed.

Roxie Cillessen v. Department of Health and Human Services Appeals #1 and #2: (Rules) Roxie Cillessen filed two grievances, the first appealing her involuntary transfer by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the second, the decision by HHS not to interview her for her former position. The State Personnel Board appointed John P. Glynn to serve as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was held in accordance with the provisions of the State of Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules and Regulations. The Appellant claimed that HHS did not have statutory authority to transfer an employee from one agency to another, and that HHS failed to develop and use a uniformly administered selection device regarding her former position.

The Hearing Officer found that the agency's decision to transfer the Appellant to another position within HHS was not a disciplinary action, but was done to preserve her 30-years worth of knowledge and experience; and ultimately solved the problems within the Appellant's area of supervision, and also solved problems in the area to which she was transferred.  The Hearing Officer also found that the decision by HHS not to interview the Appellant for her previous position was justified in that she would have been unable to receive a favorable reference from her former supervisor.  The Hearing Officer recommended that the State Personnel Board sustain the actions of HHS and deny both grievances.

The State Personnel Board voted to accept the recommended decision of the Hearing Officer and both grievances were denied.

Ronald Sanchez v. Department of Health and Human Services Appeal: (Rules/Summary Dismissal) Ronald Sanchez filed a grievance appealing his non-selection for a position by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The State Personnel Board appointed Sue Dedick to serve as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was held in accordance with the provisions of the State of Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules and Regulations.  HHS filed a motion for Summary Dismissal based on the fact that placing the Appellant in this position would be a promotion and that under the Classified System Personnel Rules and Regulations, promotions are a non-grievable issue.

The Hearing Officer found that all actions taken by HHS during the hiring process were made in compliance with established law, rules or policy, and the Appellant failed to provide evidence that the process was flawed in any fashion.  The Hearing Officer recommended that the appeal be dismissed. 

The State Personnel Board voted to accept the recommended decision of the Hearing Officer, and the appeal was dismissed.