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.

Fiscal Year 2009-2010

Clinton Witte, Dianne Springer, Deborah Davis, Cindy Hanquist and Kerry Thompson v. Department of Health and Human Services (SCATA) The Appellants filed a grievance after they were denied bargaining time to attend a Special Master’s hearing.  The State Personnel Board designated Samuel Van Pelt as Hearing Officer, and the hearing was held in accordance with the 2007-2009 State Code Agencies Teachers Association and State of Nebraska labor contract.  The Respondent denied the bargaining time request as a Special Master’s hearing is not “bargaining”. 

The Hearing Officer found that the Appellants had the burden of proof in this matter and that the Appellants did not meet that burden, and recommended to the State Personnel Board that the grievance be dismissed.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommendation to dismiss the grievance.

Liz Wunderlich v. Department of Roads (RULES) Liz Wunderlich filed a grievance after an Engineer VII position was reclassified from an Engineer V without being opened to the selection process.  The Respondent alleged that the position was reclassified months after it had already been filled.  The State Personnel Board designated William J. Wood as Hearing Officer to determine whether or not this grievance was filed timely, and the hearing was held in accordance with the Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules. 

The Hearing Officer found that the grievance was not filed timely at the first step and recommended to the State Personnel Board that the grievance be dismissed.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommendation to dismiss the grievance.

Rodney Hill v. Department of Health and Human Services (NAPE) Rodney Hill filed a grievance after the Department of Health and Human Services disciplined him in the form of termination.  The parties agreed upon, and the State Personnel Board designated, James Titus as Hearing Officer and the hearing was held in accordance with the 2007-2009 NAPE/AFSCME and State of Nebraska Labor Contract.  The Appellant was disciplined in the form of termination for alleged neglect of a member at the Eastern Nebraska Veteran’s Home.

The Hearing Officer found that the member was neglected as he was left behind after a field trip and that the Appellant had been previously counseled for similar incidents.  He recommended to the State Personnel Board that the termination be affirmed.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommendation to affirm the department’s decision terminating the Appellant.

Donna Short v. Department of Health and Human Services #1 (NAPE) Donna Short filed a grievance after the Department of Health and Human Services disciplined her in the form of termination.  The parties agreed upon, and the State Personnel Board designated, Terri Weeks as Hearing Officer, and the hearing was held in accordance with the 2007-2009 NAPE/AFSCME and State of Nebraska Labor Contract.  The Appellant was disciplined in the form of termination for allegedly placing false information on her job application.

The Hearing Officer found that that the Appellant did provide false information on her employment application.  She recommended that the State Personnel Board uphold the decision to terminate the Appellant and dismiss the grievance.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommendation to uphold the termination and dismiss the grievance.

James Petersen v. Department of Health and Human Services (NAPE) James Petersen filed a grievance after the Department of Health and Human Services disciplined him in the form of termination.  The parties agreed upon, and the State Personnel Board designated, William Morris as Hearing Officer and the hearing was held in accordance with the 2009-2011 NAPE/AFSCME and State of Nebraska Labor Contract.  The Appellant was terminated after he refused to take a “for cause” drug test.

The Hearing Officer found that the Respondent proved by a greater weight of the evidence that it terminated the Appellant’s employment in good faith, for just cause, and in accordance with the principles of progressive discipline.  He recommended that the State Personnel Board uphold the decision to terminate the Appellant and dismiss the grievance.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommendation to uphold the termination and dismiss the grievance.

The Appellant appealed this decision to the District Court and the State Personnel Board Decision was affirmed by the District Court.

The Appellant appealed this decision to the Court of Appeals and the Court affirmed the District Court ruling.

The Appellant appealed this decision to the Nebraska Supreme Court and the Court denied the matter for further review.

Donald Clark v. Department of Correctional Services (RULES) Donald Clark filed a grievance after the Department of Correctional Services disciplined him in the form of termination.  The State Personnel Board designated William J. Wood as Hearing Officer and the hearing was held in accordance with the Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules.  The Appellant was terminated after he allegedly threatened to disable the software program used to count and track inmate information, if he was not given the 400 hours of compensatory/flex time he though he deserved for programming the software.

The Hearing Officer found that the action of the agency in terminating the employment of the Appellant should be upheld based on the severe lapse in judgment and potential damage to the institution.  He recommended that the State Personnel Board uphold the decision to terminate the Appellant and dismiss the grievance.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommendation to uphold the termination and dismiss the grievance.

The Appellant appealed this decision to the District Court. The District Court affirmed the State Personnel Board Decision.

The Appellant appealed this decision to the Court of Appeals, and the District Court Order was affirmed by the Court of Appeals.

Joseph Kisicki v. Department of Roads (RULES) Joseph Kisicki filed a grievance after he was disciplined with a written warning.  The Respondent alleged that the Appellant was not given a written warning, rather he was given a letter indicating that verbal counseling had taken place.  The State Personnel Board designated William J. Wood as Hearing Officer to determine whether or not this grievance was grievable, and the hearing was held in accordance with the Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules. 

The Hearing Officer found that the Appellant was not issued a written warning, but was verbally counseled, and therefore, the issue grieved was not grievable.  The Hearing Officer recommended to the State Personnel Board that the grievance be dismissed.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommendation to dismiss the grievance.

Brenda Hill v. Department of Health and Human Services (NAPE) Brenda Hill filed a grievance after the Department of Health and Human Services disciplined her in the form of termination.  The parties agreed upon, and the State Personnel Board designated, Terri Weeks as Hearing Officer and the hearing was held in accordance with the 2009-2011 NAPE/AFSCME and State of Nebraska Labor Contract.  The Appellant was disciplined in the form of termination for alleged neglect of a member at the Eastern Nebraska Veteran’s Home.

The Hearing Officer found that the Appellant did leave a member at a Senior Center and did not realize it until she received a phone call after she had clocked out for the day and was on her way home.  The Hearing Officer found that that action constituted neglect and combined with previous discipline, the action of termination was warranted.  She recommended to the State Personnel Board that the termination be affirmed.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommendation to affirm the department’s decision terminating the Appellant.

Cindy Harm v. Department of Health and Human Services (NAPE) Cindy Harm filed a grievance after the Department of Health and Human Services disciplined her in the form of termination.  The parties agreed upon, and the State Personnel Board designated, Terri Weeks as Hearing Officer and the hearing was held in accordance with the 2009-2011 NAPE/AFSCME and State of Nebraska Labor Contract.  The Appellant was disciplined in the form of termination for alleged neglect of a member at the Eastern Nebraska Veteran’s Home.

The Hearing Officer found that the Appellant did leave a member at a Senior Center and did not realize it until she received a phone call after she had clocked out for the day and was on her way home.  The Hearing Officer found that that action constituted neglect and combined with previous discipline, the action of termination was warranted.  She recommended to the State Personnel Board that the termination be affirmed.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommendation to affirm the department’s decision terminating the Appellant.

Harry Malone v. Department of Health and Human Services (NAPE) Harry Malone filed a grievance after the Department of Health and Human Services disciplined him in the form of termination.  The parties agreed upon and the State Personnel Board designated, William Morris as Hearing Officer and the hearing was held in accordance with the 2009-2011 NAPE/AFSCME and State of Nebraska Labor Contract.  The Appellant was disciplined in the form of termination for the alleged physical abuse of a resident at the Lincoln Regional Center.

The Hearing Officer found that the Respondent did not prove by a preponderance of the evidence that physical abuse occurred.  He recommended to the State Personnel Board that the Appellant be reinstated, with back pay, and all record of this incident be expunged from the Appellant’s personnel file.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommendation to uphold the appeal.

The Respondent appealed this decision to the District Court and the State Personnel Board Decision was affirmed.

Francis Hurst v. Department of Health and Human Services (RULES) Francis Hurst filed a grievance after the Department of Health and Human Services disciplined him in the form of termination.  The State Personnel Board designated William J. Wood as Hearing Officer and the hearing was held in accordance with the Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules.  The Appellant was disciplined in the form of termination for leaving the keys in his car, allegedly placing clients and the department at risk.

The Hearing Officer found that the termination of the Appellant was not imposed in good faith, or for good or just cause.  He recommended that the State Personnel Board reverse the discipline imposed by the Respondent.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommendation to reverse the department’s decision to terminate the Appellant.

Dennis Connot v. Department of Roads (RULES) Dennis Connot filed a grievance after a coworker was promoted to fill a vacant Highway District Operations and Maintenance Manager position.  The Respondent argued that the Appellant did not file a grievance based on the hiring process being completed improperly, rather that the Appellant was not promoted into the vacant position.  The State Personnel Board designated Samuel Van Pelt as Hearing Officer to determine whether or not this grievance was grievable, and the hearing was held in accordance with the Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules. 

The Hearing Officer found that the Appellant did not prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the appointment of his coworker was not done according to the Rules, nor did he prove that his grievance involved a grievable issue.  The Hearing Officer recommended to the State Personnel Board that the grievance be dismissed.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommendation to dismiss the grievance.  

Rodney Williams v. Department of Correctional Services (RULES) Rodney Williams filed a grievance after the Department of Correctional Services disciplined him in the form of termination.  The Respondent alleged that the Appellant had engaged in inappropriate communications with a subordinate.  The State Personnel Board designated Samuel Van Pelt as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was held in accordance with the Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules. 

The Hearing Officer found that the Appellant did in fact, engage in inappropriate communications with a subordinate and that communication was in violation of agency policy; however, the Hearing Officer found that termination was neither progressive nor consistent with prior disciplines of DCS employees in similar circumstances. The Hearing Officer recommended to the State Personnel Board that the termination be set aside and a more appropriate form on discipline be imposed.  

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommendation to vacate and set aside the termination and remanded the case to DCS for the imposition of appropriate discipline.

John Weis v. Department of Health and Human Services (RULES) John Weis filed a grievance after the Department of Health and Human Services disciplined him in the form of termination.  The Respondent alleged that the Appellant had violated several agency work rules and State rules regarding the use of State equipment; abuse of leave and flexible work schedules; and alleged the Appellant attended a hearing for a speeding ticket during work hours without using leave.  The State Personnel Board designated William J. Wood as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was held in accordance with the Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules. 

The Hearing Officer found that the Appellant did use work time to appear in court for a personal matter, violated rules regarding the use of State equipment and made and received hundreds of personal calls on the agency’s office phone and Blackberry.  The Hearing Officer found that the discipline was imposed in a progressive manner, and that the agency acted in good faith and for cause.

The Hearing Officer recommended to the State Personnel Board that the appeal of the Appellant be denied and that the termination remain in effect.  The State Personnel Board accepted the recommendation.

The Appellant appealed the decision to the District Court.  The Respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss, and the District Court sustained the Motion.  

Luisa Genrich v. Department of Health and Human Services (NAPE) Luisa Genrich filed a grievance after she was disciplined in the form of termination.  The Appellant was disciplined for allegedly physically abusing a client.  The parties agreed upon, and the State Personnel Board designated, Melanie Whittamore-Mantzios as Hearing Officer and a hearing was held in accordance with the 2009-2011 NAPE/AFSCME and State of Nebraska labor contract. 

The Hearing Officer recommended to the State Personnel Board that the Respondent’s action be affirmed, as just cause existed, and the termination was justified under the Labor Contract.

The State Personnel Board voted unanimously to set aside the recommendation of the Hearing Officer and the termination of the Appellant, along with the finding that just cause existed for termination; and it was the State Personnel Board’s conclusion of law that the termination did not constitute progressive discipline.  The Appellant’s appeal was upheld.

The Respondent appealed the decision to District Court.  The District Court remanded the decision to the State Personnel Board for finding of facts.  The State Personnel Board adopted the finding of facts of the Hearing Officer and it was the State Personnel Board’s conclusion of law that the termination did not constitute progressive discipline.  The Appellant’s appeal was upheld. 

The Respondent appealed the Decision to the District Court, and the court reversed the State Personnel Board, stating Genrich’s termination is consistent with the decision of the Department of Health and Human Services.

John Shaw v. Department of Health and Human Services (NAPE) John Shaw filed a grievance after he was disciplined in the form of termination.  The Appellant was disciplined for allegedly failing to intervene in a physical altercation between a coworker and a client.  This alleged failure to act was constituted as “neglect” by the agency.  The parties agreed upon, and the State Personnel Board designated, Melanie Whittamore-Mantzios as Hearing Officer and a hearing was held in accordance with the 2009-2011 NAPE/AFSCME and State of Nebraska labor contract. 

The Hearing Officer recommended to the State Personnel Board that the Respondent’s action be affirmed.  She found that the Appellant’s lack of action did constitute neglect, and that just cause existed, and the termination was justified under the Labor Contract.  The State Personnel Board affirmed the recommendation.  

Terri Lovejoy v. Department of Correctional Services (NAPE) Terri Lovejoy filed a grievance after her transfer request was denied by the agency.  The Appellant requested a transfer to the Nebraska State Penitentiary from the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution, where she was employed as a Corrections Corporal.  The Respondent denied her request citing excessive leave usage.  The parties agreed upon, and the State Personnel Board designated C. Thomas White as Hearing Officer and a hearing was held in accordance with the 2009-2011 NAPE/AFSCME and State of Nebraska labor contract.  

The Hearing Officer found that the Respondent’s action did fall within a managerial prerogative, as attendance for a prison guard is critical to the functions of the agency.  He recommended to the State Personnel Board, and the Board affirmed, that the grievance be denied.

Joseph Pospisil v. Department of Correctional Services (RULES) Joseph Pospisil filed a grievance after the Department of Correctional Services disciplined him in the form of demotion.  The Respondent alleged that the Appellant had falsified KRONOS records to show that he had counseled a subordinate, altered the time records of several employees, and failed to maintain confidentiality during an investigation regarding these incidents.  The State Personnel Board designated William J. Wood as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was held in accordance with the Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules. 

The Hearing Officer found that the Appellant did violate several workplace policies, and provisions of the Rules.  He recommended to the State Personnel Board that the Respondent’s action of demotion be upheld and that the Appellant’s grievance be denied.  The State Personnel Board affirmed the recommendation.