Chapter 3.04


3.04.010    Purpose.

3.04.020    Scope.

3.04.030    Union labor agreements.

3.04.040    Authority and functions.

3.04.050    Administration.

3.04.060    Political activity.

3.04.070    Prohibited acts.

3.04.080    Severability.

3.04.010 Purpose.

It is the intent of this chapter to establish a centralized system of personnel management including, but not limited to the following functions: insuring an objective candidate recruitment and a standardized selection process; providing for written standardized personnel policies and procedures; providing a clear definition of personnel and employment functions; employing the most highly qualified personnel; developing a high level of staff morale, productivity and efficiency; administering cost effective self-insured and/or experienced based health and welfare plans which address the needs of a diverse work force; offering appropriate education and training which meet the needs of Whatcom County employees and is reflective of a changing work environment; and ensuring a safe work environment for employees and volunteers, including safety education programs which are preventive in nature. (Ord. 93-042 Exh. B; formerly 2.57.010. Ord. 82-36 § 2 (part)).

3.04.020 Scope.

This chapter applies in its entirety to all county positions except:

A. Those positions exempted from coverage by the County Charter;

B. Employees of the sheriff’s department in all matters of selection, appointment, promotion, transfer, reinstatement, demotion, discipline, suspension and discharge under the Whatcom County civil service commission rules and regulations;

C. The court reporters of the superior court, and any other employee of the court identified by the court to be exempt from this chapter;

D. Deputy prosecuting attorneys;

E. Any employees of the district court identified by the court to be exempt from this chapter;

F. Multi-agency groups who have no contractual agreement with the county for personnel services;

G. Those employees serving in temporary, seasonal, or part-time county positions. (Ord. 93-042 Exh. B; formerly 2.57.030. Ord. 82-36 § 2 (part)).

3.04.030 Union labor agreements.

The special requirements, if any, of collective bargaining agreements which affect any section of this chapter shall be respected in the interpretation and application of this chapter. (Ord. 93-042 Exh. B; formerly 2.57.040. Ord. 82-36 § 2 (part)).

3.04.040 Authority and functions.

Personnel system functions shall include the following elements:

A. Encourage and exercise leadership in the development of effective personnel administration within the various departments the county;

B. Foster employee effectiveness by developing programs for training, safety, health, counseling and welfare;

C. Evaluate from time to time the effectiveness of this chapter and of the policies made thereunder;

D. Develop an annual report outlining the activities and accomplishments of the personnel system;

E. Establish, maintain and administer a secure, centralized personnel record system for all employees in the county;

F. Establish, maintain, and administer the entry level and promotional recruitment, screening, and selection practices for all departments of Whatcom County, except those departments and positions covered by civil service or otherwise exempted from this chapter;

G. Promote good union-management relations; resolve grievances and personnel problems; participate in union negotiations; and assure compliance by all departments with the provisions of the various collective bargaining agreements between unions and the county;

H. Assist the prosecuting attorney’s office in arbitration proceedings and related litigation involving personnel matters;

I. Monitor and insure the county’s compliance with federal, state, and local laws or regulations dealing with personnel matters;

J. Maintain the affirmative action program and provide periodic reports to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Washington State Human Rights Commission, and similar agencies;

K. Conduct studies or research necessary to administer the personnel function including but not limited to wage studies, job analysis, reclassification of positions, and minority representation in employment;

L. Monitor the effectiveness of the merit and evaluation system, implementing changes when necessary;

M. Develop and periodically update written standardized personnel policies and procedures which affect county employees, hereinafter referred to as the “Whatcom County Employee’s Personnel Handbook.”

1. The “Whatcom County Employee’s Personnel Handbook” shall be developed after taking into account input from county administrators and from the employee groups affected.

2. The “Whatcom County Employee’s Personnel Handbook,” once approved by the county executive and adopted by resolution of the county council, may only be amended by resolution. (Ord. 93-042 Exh. B; formerly 2.57.050. Ord. 82-36 § 2 (part)).

3.04.050 Administration.

The director of the administrative services department shall have full authority and responsibility for the operation of the personnel system under the direction of the county executive. (Ord. 93-042 Exh. B; formerly 2.57.060. Ord. 82-36 § 2 (part), 1982).

3.04.060 Political activity.

A. Whatcom County recognizes the right of every employee to express his or her views as a citizen, to pursue legitimate involvement in the political system, and to vote as he or she pleases, provided that no county employee shall expend public funds, or supplies, or work towards the campaign of any candidate or issue while on county time unless the activity is permitted by law.

B. There shall be no discrimination of employees of Whatcom County with reference to their affiliation with any organization or union. (Ord. 93-042 Exh. B; formerly 2.57.120. Ord. 82-36 § 2 (part)).

3.04.070 Prohibited acts.

A. No person shall make any false statement, certificate, mark, rating or report with regard to any application, test, certification or appointment made under any provision of this chapter or in any manner commit or attempt to commit any fraud preventing the impartial execution of this chapter and related policies.

B. No person shall directly or indirectly give, render, pay, offer, solicit, or accept any money, service, or other valuable consideration for any appointment, proposed appointment, promotion or proposed promotion to, or any advantage in, a position with the county.

C. No employee of Whatcom County or other person shall defeat, deceive or obstruct any person in his or her right to examination, eligibility, certification, or appointment under this chapter, or furnish to any person any special or secret information for the purpose of affecting the rights or prospects of any person with respect to employment by the county.

D. Discovery of an unlawful act as identified above shall establish reasonable cause for immediate dismissal. (Ord. 93-042 Exh. B; formerly 2.57.140. Ord. 82-36 § 2 (part)).

3.04.080 Severability.

If any provision of this chapter is held to be invalid, the remainder of the chapter shall remain in effect. (Ord. 93-042 Exh. B; formerly 2.57.150. Ord. 82-36 § 2 (part)).


Prior legislation: Ords. 82-36, 80-8 and 80-6.