Chapter 2.04
PERSONNEL HEARINGS EXAMINER

Sections:

2.04.010    Creation and Duties.

2.04.020    Appointment and Term.

2.04.030    Qualifications.

2.04.040    Removal.

2.04.050    Vacancies.

2.04.060    Conflict of Interest and Recusal.

2.04.070    Conduct of Hearings.

2.04.080    Decisions and Appeals.

2.04.010 Creation and Duties.

The office of personnel hearings examiner is hereby created. The office of personnel hearings examiner shall consist of an independent contractor nominated and appointed in accordance with SCC 2.04.020. The personnel hearings examiner shall conduct quasi-judicial hearings at Step IV of the grievance process for classified county employees in accordance with SCC 2.04.070 and Chapter 3A.11 SCC.

(Ord. 97-089 § 5, Oct. 8, 1997, Eff date Oct. 19, 1997).

2.04.020 Appointment and Term.

The personnel hearings examiner shall be nominated by the county executive and appointed by the county council. Appointment shall be for a term of two years following the date of appointment. Appointment shall be contingent upon execution of a professional services contract containing such terms and conditions as the council may deem appropriate.

(Ord. 97-089 § 5, Oct. 8, 1997, Eff date Oct. 19, 1997).

2.04.030 Qualifications.

The personnel hearings examiner shall be appointed on the basis of qualifications to perform the duties of personnel hearings examiner. Qualifications for the position shall include experience in labor and personnel matters and training with regard to evidentiary and other legal issues pertinent to the conduct of quasi-judicial proceedings. The personnel hearing examiner shall hold no other elective or appointive office or position in county government.

(Ord. 97-089 § 5, Oct. 8, 1997, Eff date Oct. 19, 1997).

2.04.040 Removal.

The personnel hearings examiner may be removed from office for violation of the professional services contract or for such other cause as the council may deem appropriate by an affirmative vote of three members of the council.

(Ord. 97-089 § 5, Oct. 8, 1997, Eff date Oct. 19, 1997).

2.04.050 Vacancies.

In the event of resignation, removal, or abandonment of position, the county executive shall declare a vacancy in the office of personnel hearings examiner. Failure of the personnel hearings examiner to timely convene a Step IV hearing at the county’s request shall constitute abandonment of position. The county council may appoint a personnel hearings examiner pro tem to act as personnel hearings examiner until a successor is appointed pursuant to SCC 2.04.020.

(Ord. 97-089 § 5, Oct. 8, 1997, Eff date Oct. 19, 1997).

2.04.060 Conflict of Interest and Recusal.

The personnel hearings examiner shall not conduct or participate in any hearing or decision in which the examiner has a direct or indirect substantial financial or familial interest, or from which recusal is required by SCC 2.50.040. In the event of recusal, the county council may appoint a personnel hearings examiner pro tem to act as personnel hearings examiner for purposes of the grievance from which the personnel hearings examiner was recused.

(Ord. 97-089 § 5, Oct. 8, 1997, Eff date Oct. 19, 1997).

2.04.070 Conduct of Hearings.

(1) A grievance hearing before the personnel hearings examiner shall be open to the public except where the personnel hearings examiner determines upon request of a party that there is a substantial reason for closing the hearing.

(2) The parties to a grievance hearing shall be the grieving employee and the county. The personnel hearings examiner shall mail notice of the hearing date to the parties at least ten days in advance of the hearing date. The personnel hearings examiner may hear and rule on scheduling and other pre-hearing matters after providing reasonable opportunity for the parties to be heard.

(3) If the employee intends to be represented by legal counsel at the hearing, the employee shall notify the director of human resources prior to any formal action on the employee’s behalf by the employee’s attorney but in no event later than ten (10) days prior to the first scheduled hearing date. The county may be represented by the prosecuting attorney’s office.

(4) The personnel hearings examiner shall provide each party with an opportunity to make an opening statement, to present and cross-examine witnesses, to offer physical or documentary evidence, to make closing arguments, and to present relevant legal authority. Unless otherwise directed by the examiner, the county shall present its case first.

(5) All testimony shall be taken under oath. The personnel hearings examiner shall determine the admissibility and weight of all evidence offered at the hearing. The Rules of Evidence and Cross-Examination adopted by the Administrative Procedure Act, Ch. 34.05 RCW as currently codified in RCW 34.05.452 or hereafter amended shall apply to hearings before the personnel hearings examiner.

(6) The personnel hearings examiner shall cause a tape recording or similar record to be made of all proceedings before the examiner which, together with all physical and documentary evidence admitted by the examiner, shall constitute the record of the hearing.

(Ord. 97-089 § 5, Oct. 8, 1997, Eff date Oct. 19, 1997).

2.04.080 Decisions and Appeals.

(1) Within twenty days after a grievance hearing the personnel hearings examiner shall enter findings of fact and conclusions of law concerning the grievance, together with an order granting or denying the relief requested by the employee.

(2) The findings, conclusions, and order of the personnel hearings examiner are subject to appeal to the superior court only on the following grounds:

(a) that the personnel hearings examiner lacked or exceeded his jurisdiction;

(b) that a rule of procedure affecting the rights of the parties was violated to the prejudice of a party;

(c) that the decision of the personnel hearings examiner was contrary to law; or

(d) that the factual determinations of the personnel hearings examiner were not supported by substantial evidence.

(3) Any appeal from the decision of the personnel hearings examiner must be served on the opposing party and filed in superior court within twenty (21) days of the final decision of the personnel hearings examiner. In the absence of a timely appeal, the decision of the personnel hearings examiner shall be final and binding on all parties.

(Ord. 97-089 § 5, Oct. 8, 1997, Eff date Oct. 19, 1997).