Chapter 3.68
EXEMPT PERSONNEL

Sections:

3.68.005    Definition of terms.

3.68.010    Scope of chapter.

3.68.015    Exclusions.

3.68.020    Election.

3.68.030    Selection of exempt positions and personnel.

3.68.040    Termination of exempt appointment.

3.68.050    Salary plan and administration.

3.68.055    Acting appointments.

3.68.060    Statement of benefits.

3.68.070    Leave with pay.

3.68.080    Additional benefit programs.

3.68.090    Extent of authority.

3.68.005 Definition of terms.

The terms used in this chapter shall have the meaning as provided for in chapters 3A.02 and 3A.08 SCC, except where the context clearly indicates otherwise.

(Added Ord. 89-172, § 1, January 10, 1990).

3.68.010 Scope of chapter.

The provisions of this chapter apply to the following positions:

(1) Two positions designated by each district court judge;

(2) Two positions designated by each of the following elected officials: assessor, auditor, clerk, treasurer, prosecuting attorney, and each county councilmember;

(3) Four positions designated by the county executive;

(4) Eight positions designated by the sheriff in accordance with RCW 41.14.070; the chief of the corrections bureau established by SCC 2.15.010 plus a deputy bureau chief, director of administration, detention commander, community corrections commander, health services administrator, and psychiatrist; and the Commander of the Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force appointed by the sheriff in accordance with SCC 3.67.020;

(5) The department heads appointed by the executive and confirmed by the council;

(6) The division directors and division managers and deputy department heads of executive and administrative departments whose department head is appointed by the executive and confirmed by the council;

(7) The professional employees within the executive’s office;

(8) Deputy prosecuting attorneys in the prosecuting attorney’s office except as provided in Snohomish County Ordinance 83-147;

(9) The professional employees within the county council’s office;

(10) Two positions designated by each superior court judge, the superior court commissioners, the administrator, superior/juvenile court, the assistant administrator, superior court operations, the assistant administrator, juvenile court operations, the case flow administrative manager, superior court, the programs administrator, superior court, the human resources manager, superior/juvenile court, and the administrative assistant, superior/juvenile court; except that no law clerk/bailiff hired and designated pursuant to this chapter subsequent to December 31, 1992, shall be entitled to the leave benefits conferred by this chapter, but instead they shall receive, use and accrue vacation, sick and holiday benefits in accordance with chapter 3A.06 SCC;

(11) The administrator of the office of hearings administration and any deputy examiners selected and appointed pursuant to SCC 2.02.030 and 2.02.040;

(12) Any classified employee transferred, reclassified or promoted to an exempt position on or after the effective date of this subsection;

(13) The law and justice cabinet FTE appointed pursuant to SCC 3.68.030(7); and

(14) The professional county employees within the office of county performance auditor established by SCC 2.700.010, if any.

(Added Ord. 85-113, § 2, November 20, 1985; Amended Ord. 89-172, § 2, January 10, 1990; Amended Ord. 90-110, August 1, 1990; Amended Ord. 91-118, August 28, 1991; Amended Ord. 92-160, Dec. 21, 1992; Amended Ord. 97-008, April 2, 1997, Eff date April 13, 1997; Amended Ord. 01-117, November 7, 2001, Eff date November 19, 2001; Ord. 02-037, August 21, 2002, Eff date Sept. 6, 2002; Ord. 03-048, July 2, 2003; Eff date July 17, 2003; Amended Ord. 04-009, March 10, 2004, Eff date March 25, 2004; Amended Ord. 07-049, June 6, 2007, Eff date July 1, 2007; Amended Ord. 07-063, July 11, 2007, Eff date Sept. 1, 2007; Amended by Amended Ord. 08-014, April 30, 2008, Eff date May 17, 2008; Amended by Amended Ord. 08-137, Nov. 10, 2008, Eff date Jan. 1, 2009; Amended by Ord. 12-015, Apr. 4, 2012, Eff date Apr. 21, 2012; Amended by Amended Ord. 13-043, June 19, 2013, Eff date Jan. 1, 2014).

3.68.015 Exclusions.

The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to:

(1) All county elected officials, except for benefits provided in SCC 3.68.060(1) and 3.68.080;

(2) All personnel subject to collective bargaining agreements;

(3) All employees subject to the provisions of Title 3A SCC;

(5) Contract employees, including professional consultants;

(6) All personnel, including deputies and staff, of the sheriff’s office who are in "classified" service as defined by the county council or county executive; and

(7) All persons exempt under applicable state law, including court personnel to the extent governed by human resource rules or guidelines adopted by the court pursuant to Rules of General Application (GR) 29.

(Added Ord. 85-113, § 3, November 20, 1985; Ord. 07-091, Oct. 10, 2007, eff date Oct. 25, 2007).

3.68.020 Election.

Any classified employee who, prior to the effective date of this section, was transferred, reclassified or promoted to an exempt position and is holding such position on the effective date of this section, may elect to be subject to the provisions of this chapter; PROVIDED, Such election is submitted in writing to the director within 30 days after the enactment of this section.

(Added Ord. 91-118, August 28, 1991).

3.68.030 Selection of exempt positions and personnel.

(1) Each elected official shall designate the position or positions the official selects as exempt in accordance with SCC 3.68.010, in writing, which writing the official shall file with the council and executive. Each elected official shall designate the person selected to fill each exempt position designated, as provided herein in writing, which writing the official shall file with the council and executive. No elected official shall designate or appoint any spouse or relative, as defined in SCC 3A.12.050, to an exempt position, and, in the event such spouse or relative has been so designated or appointed, such designation or appointment shall be null and void, except where otherwise provided by law. Otherwise, such designation is irrevocable until such person leaves, or is dismissed from, or transfers from the position designated as exempt, or unless such position is transferred to the classified service.

(2) The deputy department heads, division directors, and division managers of executive and administrative departments shall be appointed by the department head, subject to the following:

(a) In making an appointment the department head shall consider the applicant’s qualifications, integrity and prior experience which are applicable to the duties of the office to which appointment is to be made.

(b) An applicant shall not be appointed to a position which is supervised by any spouse or relative of the applicant, as the term "relative" is defined in SCC 3A.12.050. The appointment of any employee to an exempt position supervised by any spouse or relative of that employee shall be null and void.

(c) Employees appointed to exempt positions prior to April 1, 1982 shall not be required to be re-appointed by way of the procedures provided in SCC 3.68.030(2) but shall serve in that position until that person leaves or is dismissed from the position, provided that the exempt employee is not supervised by a spouse or relative as defined in SCC 3A.12.050.

(3) Heads of executive and administrative departments shall be appointed by the executive and confirmed by the council on the basis of abilities, qualifications, integrity and prior experience which are applicable to the duties of the office to which the appointment is to be made. The executive shall notify the council, via submittal of the executive/council approval form (ECAF) described in SCC 2.48.118, within 10 business days of making an appointment. The ECAF shall include a request for confirmation in addition to information about the appointee, such as the appointee’s abilities, qualifications and prior experience as detailed in the appointee’s resume or curriculum vitae. The council shall confirm or reject the appointment by motion within 60 days of the appointment. Failure to confirm or reject an appointment within 60 days shall constitute council consent to the appointment. An appointee whose appointment is rejected by the council shall not be reappointed to the same position for a period of one year from the date of council action. No such department head shall be appointed or serve under the supervision of a spouse or relative, as that term is defined in SCC 3A.12.050.

(4) The superior court commissioners authorized by SCC 2.14.010 shall be appointed by the superior court judges or as otherwise provided by law.

(5) For purposes of this section, an employee shall be deemed to supervise another employee if the supervisory employee, as a regular matter, has the authority to hire, assign, promote, transfer, layoff, recall, suspend, discipline or discharge the other employee or to evaluate the performance of the other employee.

(6) The prohibition against the appointment and service of an employee who is a spouse or relative of the appointing elected official or of his or her supervisor shall apply to any exempt employee who is appointed to an exempt position on or after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this section and shall not apply to any employee appointed to the exempt service prior to the effective date of said ordinance.

(7) The law and justice cabinet FTE provided for in SCC 3.68.010(13) shall be appointed by simple majority vote of the following elected officials or their designees acting on behalf of the law and justice cabinet: the county executive, chair of the council law and justice/human services committee, director of corrections, chief of the corrections bureau established by SCC 2.15.010, presiding judges of the superior and district courts, prosecuting attorney, sheriff, and superior court clerk.

(8) The professional county employees within the office of county performance auditor shall be appointed as directed by the county council, provided that the performance auditor shall be appointed as set out in SCC 2.700.010.

(9) The chief of the corrections bureau shall be appointed as set out in SCC 2.15.020.

(Ord. 82-003, adopted March 22, 1982; Amended Ord. 85-113, § 4, November 20, 1985; Amended Ord. 96-008, § 1, April 13, 1996, Eff date April 18, 1996; Ord. 02-037, August 21, 2002; Eff. date Sept. 6, 2002; Amended Ord. 04-009, March 10, 2004, Eff date March 25, 2004; Ord. 04-059, July 28, 2004, Eff date Aug. 9, 2004; Amended Ord. 07-049, June 6, 2007, Eff date July 1, 2007; Amended by Amended Ord. 08-137, Nov. 10, 2008, Eff date Jan. 1, 2009; Amended by Ord. 12-015, Apr. 4, 2012, Eff date Apr. 21, 2012; Amended by Ord. 17-026, May 17, 2017, Eff date June 1, 2017).

*Code Reviser Note: The text shown in 3.68.030(8) above, in italic font, was added by Ord. 12-015 but was not shown with addition marks. This material is included pursuant to SCC 1.02.020(2)(g).

3.68.040 Termination of exempt appointment.

(1) An exempt employee, with the exception of the hearing examiner and any deputy examiners selected and appointed pursuant to SCC 2.02.030 and 2.02.040 and the performance auditor appointed pursuant to SCC 2.700.010, shall serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority and may be removed for any reason. Removal of an examiner shall be governed by SCC 2.02.050. Removal of a county employee appointed as performance auditor shall be governed by SCC 2.700.010.

(2) An employee holding regular status in the personnel system or civil service who was appointed to an exempt position between April 1, 1982 and August 9, 2004, upon termination of the exempt appointment, shall be eligible to return to the same or like position in any class in which regular status was held prior to exempt appointment, PROVIDED That:

(a) Such eligibility shall only extend to an existing position with the department or its equivalent in which regular status was held by the exempt employee prior to holding an exempt position.

(b) Termination of the exempt appointment was for reasons other than for cause.

(c) Where return of the exempt employee shall displace another employee, a layoff shall be declared subject to applicable layoff rules.

(d) Time spent in the exempt service shall be included in seniority computations.

(3) An exempt employee shall not exercise rights over any other employee occupying a position in Snohomish county except as provided by this section. This section shall not apply where prohibited by collective bargaining contract.

(4) Transfer of an exempt employee to an existing or new vacancy not previously held is permitted under subsection (2) of this section, subject to the availability of funds and provided the employee meets the minimum requirements for the classification. In all such cases, the exempt employee will be required to complete a probationary period before being granted regular status in the classification.

(5) Where the exempt employee’s return rights under subsection (2) of this section are not granted because his retention would not be in the best interests of the county, the employee may appeal such decision to the grievance board or civil service board, as appropriate. The decision of either board shall be binding.

(Ord. 82-003, adopted March 22, 1982; Amended Ord. 89-172, § 4, January 10, 1990; Amended Ord. 91-118, August 28, 1991; Ord. 04-059, July 28, 2004, Eff date Aug. 9, 2004; Amended Ord. 07-049, June 6, 2007, Eff date July 1, 2007; Amended by Ord. 12-015, Apr. 4, 2012, Eff date Apr. 21, 2012).

3.68.050 Salary plan and administration.

Exempt employees of the sheriff’s office shall be covered by the sheriff’s office exempt employees compensation plan. All other exempt county employees except superior court commissioners governed by SCC 2.14.030 shall be covered by the management and exempt employees compensation plan which shall be initially prepared by the personnel director and submitted to the executive and council for consideration and adoption. Amendments to either plan may be prepared from time to time by the personnel director or submittal to the executive and council after consideration of competitive salaries for the same or similar positions in the labor market, salary relationships within the county, the county’s ability to pay, results of collective bargaining and other applicable factors. The plan shall recommend salary ranges for each exempt position and shall specify rules for administration and advancement through the salary range. Any such plan is subject to the availability of funds and appropriations therefor. Any such plan or plan amendment shall be subject to the approval of the council and shall comply with all budgetary procedures.

(Added Ord. 85-113, § 5, November 20, 1985; Amended Ord. 89-172, § 5, January 10, 1990; Amended Ord. 91-023, February 20, 1991; Ord. 02-037, August 21, 2002; Eff. date Sept. 6, 2002).

3.68.055 Acting appointments.

(1) An acting appointment to fill a vacant management and exempt position shall be permitted during the recruitment and selection process, when such appointment is necessary to insure operational continuity. An acting appointment may also be utilized, to replace an employee on leave or while organizational changes are being deliberated. Such an appointment shall not be permitted to circumvent confirmation decisions made by the council.

(2) Employees who receive an acting appointment to positions covered by the management and exempt employees compensation plan will be paid in accordance with normal county policy covering promotions, demotions, transfers, or initial employment, whichever is appropriate.

(3) Employees who are promoted, demoted, or transferred on an acting basis to an exempt position will continue to receive benefits as they did prior to appointment. New hires who receive an acting appointment are not eligible for benefits.

(4) Upon termination of an acting appointment, regular employees will be reinstated to their previous position without loss of status. Time spent in acting status will be considered as time in their regular position. New employee(s) will be terminated upon expiration of the acting appointment(s).

(5) Acting appointments shall not exceed six months unless an extension is granted by the council. At the completion of an acting appointment, the regular employee will return to the range and step that he/she would have occupied had he/she not received the acting appointment. Time spent in an acting capacity shall not be credited toward satisfying any time requirements under the management and exempt employees compensation plan.

(Added Ord. 89-172, § 6, January 10, 1990).

3.68.060 Statement of benefits.

(1) Exempt personnel and elected officials shall be eligible for the following benefits in the same manner and to the same extent as other, nonexempt employees not represented by collective bargaining, as provided for in chapter 3A.06 SCC.

(a) Retirement;

(b) Medical insurance;

(c) Dental insurance;

(d) Life insurance;

(e) Industrial insurance;

(f) Social Security;

(g) Legal holidays;

(h) Leave for jury duty and military leave.

(2) Exempt employees shall be eligible for leave with pay as provided in SCC 3.68.070 which shall replace:

(a) Compensatory time off;

(b) Overtime;

(c) Birthday leave;

(d) Maternity/paternity leave;

(e) Bereavement leave;

(f) Vacation leave;

(g) Sick leave.

(3) Consistent with the needs of the county, leave without pay may be granted to an exempt employee upon approval of the official to whom such employee is responsible. Such leaves may be extended, shortened or terminated by such official with reasonable notice to the employee.

(4) Other benefit programs later developed for nonexempt unrepresented employees shall accrue to exempt employees unless specifically denied in the implementing document or by amendment to this chapter.

(Ord. 82-003, adopted March 22, 1982; Amended Ord. 89-172, § 7, January 10, 1990).

3.68.070 Leave with pay.

(1) There is hereby established for each exempt employee a current leave account within which shall be retained the most recent leave entitlement and a reserve leave account within which shall be retained any balance of leave exceeding 80 days.

(2) Annually on January 1st each exempt employee shall be granted a current earned leave entitlement which shall be deposited to the current leave account in the amount specified according to the following schedule based on months of county service completed:

Months of County Service Completed as of January 1st of Each Year

Current Earned Leave Entitlement Granted Per Year *

0--12

25 days

13--36

35 days

37+

40 days**

*Exempt employees covered by the LEOFF retirement system shall receive an entitlement which is reduced by 12 days.

**Any employee hired prior to January 1, 1960, shall receive 45 days.

(3) When the balance in the current leave account exceeds 80 days, those days exceeding 80 will be moved to a reserve leave account.

(4) During the course of the year, each absence from work for any reason other than for legal holidays, jury or military leave and leave without pay as provided in SCC 3.68.060(3) shall be charged against the reserve leave account until the balance is depleted, and thereafter it will be charged against the current leave account.

(5) New exempt employees may not use more than one-half of their leave until they have completed six months of service.

(6) Upon termination from the exempt service, including voluntary resignation, up to 60 days accrued leave pay shall be made from the current leave account. Calculation of accrued leave pay upon termination shall be based upon a maximum rate of 30 days for each full year completed in the exempt service with a proration of any partial year. Before accrued leave pay is calculated for superior court commissioners, a prorated portion of the leave granted in the year of termination shall be forfeited from the reserve and/or current leave accounts based on the number of months remaining in that year.

Any exempt employee who is removed from an exempt position due to a conviction of a felony against the county shall forfeit any and all accrued leave. Where such felony charges are pending, accrued leave pay shall be withheld by the county until the result is known.

(7) Upon termination from the exempt service for the purpose of receiving LEOFF II or PERS retirement benefits, and immediately following termination of employment, an exempt employee may exchange unused accrued leave for retiree medical coverage subject to the following provisions:

(a) Leave to be exchanged shall only be that leave which is in excess of leave which may be compensated as shown in (6) above. Leave may be exchanged on the basis of 60 hours of exchanged leave shall equal one month of paid medical coverage for a retiree or retiree and spouse in the county’s retiree medical program.

(b) Leave may only be exchanged in 60 hour increments to a maximum of 720 hours.

(c) Leave which is not used, exchanged or compensated for prior to or upon termination shall be forfeited.

(d) Upon the death of a retiree, a surviving spouse who has been enrolled in the retiree medical plan may remain on the plan until paid medical coverage in (a) above has been exhausted.

(8) An exempt employee who becomes an elected official shall also be eligible for the above accrued leave pay as in (6) above.

(9) When an employee enters the exempt system from the personnel system or civil service, vacation and sick leave accruals earned in that service shall be frozen for use at a later date as follows:

(a) For each absence from work for other than legal holidays, jury or military leave and leave without pay, an exempt employee may designate whether such leave was required as a result of illness or for vacation purposes and such amount may be charged against vacation and/or sick leave accrued under the personnel or civil service plan. Accordingly, that amount of time will be charged to the appropriate frozen vacation or sick leave accruals earned during personnel or civil service employment. If no such designation is made the leave time will be deducted from exempt entitlement pursuant to SCC 3.68.070(4).

(b) Upon termination, the employee will be paid for such vacation and sick leave as provided in the rules applicable to the employment under which such vacation and sick leave was accrued.

(c) When an exempt employee transfers to classified employment, the employee’s frozen classified sick and vacation leave accounts, if any, will be reactivated, and unused leave days accrued under this section will be transferred to the employees sick and vacation leave accounts as apportioned by the employee; PROVIDED, That the employee transferring from the exempt system may either freeze the maximum accrual of exempt time as provided in SCC 3.68.070 for cash out upon discontinuance of service with the county or the employee may cash out the maximum accrual of exempt time as provided in SCC 3.68.070 upon transferring to a classified position; and, PROVIDED, FURTHER, That amounts of leave accrued under the exempt plan which exceed the maximum annual accrued leave pay of 30 days as provided in SCC 3.68.070(6) may be used by the employee for up to 24 months after the effective date of the transfer to a classified position. When such a transfer occurs after January 1st of a calendar year, monthly sick and vacation accruals shall begin January 1st of the following year at a rate which reflects total years of completed county service.

(10) Any person entering an exempt position after the effective date of this chapter shall receive as his/her entitlement for the year of entry into the exempt position, days of current leave entitlement provided in subsection (2), prorated in proportion to the time remaining in the year at the time of assuming the position. The leave entitlement allowable to those filling exempt positions on a part time or temporary basis shall be similarly prorated; however, a person working in an exempt position less than half-time shall receive no leave entitlement or other benefits under this chapter.

(11) Accurate records of leave accruals and use thereof shall be maintained by the supervising official of each exempt employee.

(Ord. 82-003, adopted March 22, 1982; Amended Ord. 85-113, § 7, November 20, 1985; Amended Ord. 89-172, § 8, January 10, 1990; Amended Ord. 91-118, August 28, 1991; Amended Ord. 92-139, Dec. 2, 1992; Ord. 02-037, August 21, 2002; Eff. date Sept. 6, 2002).

3.68.080 Additional benefit programs.

The personnel director shall be responsible to review all exempt benefit and leave provisions in order to insure that they continue to be competitive and will enhance the county’s ability to attract and retain qualified employees. Proposals for revisions to the current program may be submitted annually and should consider the opinions and desires of exempt employees. The director may form an advisory committee for that purpose.

(Ord. 82-003, adopted March 22, 1982).

3.68.090 Extent of authority.

Nothing in this chapter shall affect the application of any state statute or regulation which applies to positions or situations covered by this chapter and which has preempted the field of authority with respect thereto. Nothing in this chapter shall affect any constitutional rights of any county official or employee.

(Ord. 82-003, adopted March 22, 1982).