Administrative Services

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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.

2002

Jeffrey Fields v. Department of Correctional Services Appeal: (Rules) Jeffrey Fields filed a grievance when the Department of Correctional Services did not promote him to a Lieutenant position.  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 Respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss based on the fact that promotions are non-grievable issues.  This motion was over-ruled when the Hearing Officer found that the Appellant raised issues of compliance with the Rules, and whether the promotion was made in good faith.

During the hearing on the case-in-chief, the Hearing Officer found the Respondent did comply with the "Rules" and did develop a selection device which was uniformly administered.  The Respondent was found to have also complied with its own Administrative Regulations, and even though the successful candidate and the Appellant tied during the interview process, the "Rules" do not provide that seniority be considered in the selection, as in the Labor Contract.  The recommended decision was to uphold the Respondent's action to give the promotion to the other candidate.

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

Phyllis Lienemann v. Department of Health and Human Services Appeals #1, #2 and #3: (Rules) Phyllis Lienemann filed three grievances after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) initiated discipline in the form of a written warning, followed by termination.  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 Respondent alleged that the Appellant's continued failure to provide or sign medical documentation, and the failure to appear for a medical evaluation required by HHS, constituted insubordination.

The Hearing Officer found that the Respondent had a legitimate reason for requiring the Appellant to be evaluated by an independent medical practitioner and to sign the medical release form following an incident involving the Appellant at the facility.  The only facts offered by the Appellant for not meeting the requirement of obtaining the evaluation, was an unspecified and unpleasant experience with the clinic which employed the independent medical practitioner.  The Appellant offered no mitigating reason for not signing the medical release form.  The Hearing Officer felt that the failure to sign the medical release form and obtain the medical evaluation were insubordinate acts, and also constituted a failure to comply with lawful orders.  The two disciplinary actions were made in good faith and did allow the Appellant the opportunity to correct the situation, which was not done.  The recommended decision was to affirm the Respondent's actions and deny the grievances.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommended decision of the Hearing Officer that the appeals be denied.

Linda Mueller v. Department of Health and Human Services Appeal (Rules) Linda Mueller filed a grievance appealing her termination by the Department of Health and Human Services.  The State Personnel Board, on its own motion, conducted a hearing in accordance with the provisions of the State of Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules and Regulations, based on a question of timeliness.

The Board found that the Agency Head's decision was received by the Appellant on January 11, 2002, and the "Rules" allow five workdays to appeal the matter to the State Personnel Board, which would have been January 18, 2002.  The third step grievance appeal was hand-delivered to the DAS-Employee Relations Division on January 23, 2002, well past the deadline.

The State Personnel Board voted to dismiss the appeal for failure to comply with 14.009.03 of the Classified System Personnel Rules and Regulations.

Robert Totten v. Nebraska State Patrol Appeal (Rules) Robert Totten filed a grievance appealing the Nebraska State Patrol's decision to promote another employee to the rank of Captain.  The State Personnel Board designated Samuel Van Pelt as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was conducted in accordance with the provisions of the State of Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules and Regulations, based on a Motion to Dismiss filed by the Respondent.

The Respondent's Motion to dismiss was filed alleging that promotions were non-grievable issues according to the Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules and Regulations.  The Appellant argued that since he was the top candidate, the promotion should have been his.  The Hearing Officer found that the promotion was done in compliance with established law and the same becomes a non-grievable issue pursuant to Nebraska Administrative Code, Chapter 14, Section 003. The Hearing Officer recommended that the appeal be dismissed.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommended decision and the appeal was dismissed.

Gordon Tush v. Department of Health and Human Services Appeal: (Rules) Gordon Tush filed a grievance after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) eliminated his position.  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 Respondent notified the Appellant that the position of HHS Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program Director was being eliminated and he was given several options, including layoff.  The Appellant alleged that the position was created by the Nebraska Legislature and could not be eliminated.

The Hearing Officer found that the Respondent had legitimate budgetary reasons for eliminating the position and the duties were assigned to another employee.  State Statutes provide for appointment of a Director of the Division of Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Addiction Services, it does not require that the individual appointed serve exclusively in this capacity.  The Hearing Officer recommended that the Personnel Board deny the appeal.

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

Brad Exstrom v. Department of Correctional Services Appeal (Rules) Brad Exstrom filed a grievance appealing a disciplinary action of probation issued by the Department of Correctional Services.  The State Personnel Board, on its own motion, conducted a hearing in accordance with the provisions of the State of Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules and Regulations, based on a question of timeliness.

The State Personnel Board voted to dismiss the appeal for failure to comply with timelines regarding the filing of an appeal contained in Section 14.009.03 of the Classified System Personnel Rules and Regulations.

Nick Tonkinson v. Department of Correctional Services Appeal (NAPE) Nick Tonkinson filed a grievance appealing the Department of Correctional Service's decision to ban the use of tobacco products at all of its facilities.  The parties mutually agreed and the State Personnel Board designated Samuel Van Pelt as Hearing officer, and a hearing was conducted in accordance with the provisions of the State of Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules and Regulations, based on a Motion to Dismiss filed by the Respondent.

The Respondent's Motion to Dismiss alleged that the appeal was not filed in a timely manner and failed to state a proper subject matter and sections of the contract alleged to have been violated by the Agency.  The Hearing Officer recommended that the grievance was not filed within the established time limits and that the "No Tobacco" rule is not a change in a term or condition of employment, and therefore, is not covered by the labor contract, and is a non-grievable issue.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommended decision and the appeal was dismissed.

Cleveland Williams v. Department of Health and Human Services Appeal (Rules) Cleveland Williams filed a grievance when the Department of Health and Human Services placed him on paid investigatory suspension.  The State Personnel Board appointed William J. Wood to serve as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was held to rule on a Motion to Dismiss filed by the Respondent, in accordance with the provisions of the State of Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules and Regulations.  

The Respondent notified the Appellant that he was being placed on paid suspension pending an investigation regarding several allegations regarding his application for employment.  The Respondent also claimed that since it was a paid suspension and the Appellant was no longer employed by the State, the issues of the grievance were moot.  The Hearing Officer found that the appeal was no longer grievable since the Appellant resigned.  The recommended decision was to dismiss the appeal.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommended decision and the appeal was dismissed.

George Vogel v. Department of Roads Appeal: (Rules) George Vogel filed a grievance after he resigned from the Department of Roads, then claimed that Roads had assigned a non-licensed engineer or architect to supervise him while he was employed.  The State Personnel Board appointed Andrew Russell, and a hearing was held to rule on a Motion to Dismiss filed by the Respondent, in accordance with the provisions of the State of Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules and Regulations.  

The Hearing Officer found that the Appellant's claim that a non-licensed engineer or architect was not qualified to supervise engineers and architects was totally without merit, since the Board does not have jurisdiction over such a matter.  It was also found that since the Appellant had resigned, the entire appeal was now moot. The Hearing Officer recommended that the Personnel Board dismiss the appeal.

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

Casey Sanders v. Department of Health and Human Appeal: (Rules) Casey Sanders filed a grievance against the Department of Health and Human Services when he was not selected for a promotion.  The State Personnel Board appointed Sue Dedick, and a hearing was held to rule on a Motion to Dismiss filed by the Respondent, in accordance with the provisions of the State of Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules and Regulations.  

The Hearing Officer found that the Respondent's Motion to Dismiss should be sustained since the Agency followed all of the established rules throughout the hiring process, and that withstanding, the issue of promotions becomes non-grievable.  The Hearing Officer recommended that the Personnel Board dismiss the appeal.

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

Bradley King v. Department of Health and Human Appeal: (Rules) Bradley King filed a grievance against the Department of Health and Human Services when he was not selected for a promotion.  The State Personnel Board appointed Sue Dedick, and a hearing was held to rule on a Motion to Dismiss filed by the Respondent, in accordance with the provisions of the State of Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules and Regulations.  

The Hearing Officer found that the Respondent's Motion to Dismiss should be sustained since the Agency followed all of the established rules throughout the hiring process, and that withstanding, the issue of promotions becomes non-grievable.  The Hearing Officer recommended that the Personnel Board dismiss the appeal.

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