Chapter 4.15
EMPLOYMENT

Sections:

4.15.005    General provisions.

4.15.010    Recruitment.

4.15.020    Selection.

4.15.030    Pre-employment inquiries.

4.15.040    Promoted employee.

4.15.050    Probationary period.

4.15.060    Residency.

4.15.070    Driver’s license required.

4.15.080    Physical examination.

4.15.005 General provisions.

A. Discrimination. The city shall not refuse employment to a person, or bar a person from employment, or discriminate against a person in compensation or in a term, condition or privilege of employment because of the person’s race, religion, color, or national origin, or because of the person’s age, physical or mental disability, gender, marital status, changes in marital status, pregnancy or parenthood when the reasonable demands of the position do not require distinction on the basis of age, physical or mental disability, gender, marital status, changes in marital status, pregnancy or parenthood.

B. Minimum Age. The minimum age for city employment shall be in accordance with the minimum ages prescribed by state law.

C. No person who seeks employment or promotion with respect to any position may directly or indirectly give, render or pay any money, service or other valuable thing to any person for or in connection with his or her tests, appointment, proposed appointment, promotion or proposed promotion.

D. A person reemployed shall be appointed to the position in accordance with the pay and benefits scale in effect at the time of the new appointment. The fact that the person was formerly employed in accordance with a higher scale shall not be considered in making the new appointment.

E. Nepotism.

1. No person may be employed in a position by the city who is a spouse, domestic partner, or close relative of the city manager.

2. No person may be employed in a position in a department who is a spouse, domestic partner, or close relative of the department director.

3. In addition, no person may be employed in a direct or indirect supervisory position regarding a spouse, domestic partner, or close relative.

4. Department directors may not be spouses, domestic partners, or close relatives of one another.

5. “Domestic partners” means any person with whom the employee maintains shared household and conjugal relations.

6. “A close relative of an employee” means the employee’s child, parent, in-laws and sibling, whether in full, half, or step relationship, by blood or adoption. (Ord. 12-001 § 3, 2013)

4.15.010 Recruitment.

A. Each department director shall notify in writing both the city manager and the personnel officer as soon as practicable of the need to fill a vacant or a new position. The personnel officer shall coordinate with the department director and city manager to prepare the job announcement.

B. The personnel officer shall utilize appropriate recruiting measures to obtain qualified applicants. The personnel officer will provide the following information in the job announcement: the title and salary range of the class or position, the minimum qualifications required, the final date and time when applications will be accepted, whether examinations or testing will be required, and other pertinent information and requirements. If certain categories of individuals will receive preference in filling vacant positions, those categories should be listed.

C. Job announcements will be published for no less than 10 working days, unless a shorter period is approved by the city manager. The city manager may authorize a job announcement for five working days when necessary.

D. Subject to subsection (E) of this section, a copy of the job description will be furnished with the announcement and both are to be distributed to all city departments and the Mat-Su office of the Alaska State Employment Service.

E. A department director may restrict recruitment for a vacancy to current employees of the department, provided all of the following are met:

1. The department director has submitted a written request to the city manager and the personnel officer requesting in-department-only recruitment;

2. The number of budgeted job positions has not increased in the department; and

3. The city manager and personnel officer both approve the request in writing.

Once the preceding requirements have been met, then a copy of the job description furnished with the announcement shall be distributed to all employees in the department. The announcement will state that the position is available to current employees of the department only.

F. This section does not apply to the recruitment of department directors and volunteers. (Ord. 12-001 § 3, 2013)

4.15.020 Selection.

A. Filing Applications.

1. To be considered for a position, each applicant (including current city employees) must submit a city of Palmer application to the city of Palmer, Human Resource Department, 231 W. Evergreen Avenue, Palmer, Alaska 99645.

2. All applications must be submitted on or before the closing date and time specified in the announcement.

3. Applications received after the closing deadline shall not be accepted for the particular position in the announcement.

B. Minimum Qualification/Disqualification.

1. The personnel officer or designee shall screen applicants by reviewing the job applications.

2. The city may refuse to examine an applicant, or after examination may refuse to select an applicant or to place his or her name on an eligibility list, or may remove his or her name from an eligibility list, who:

a. Has failed to submit the application correctly or within the prescribed limit;

b. Is found to lack the minimum qualifications in the recruitment announcement or examination for the position;

c. Has withheld information of material fact or made a false statement of material fact in regard to his or her application;

d. Has used or attempted to use bribery to secure an advantage in the examination or appointment;

e. Has directly or indirectly obtained information regarding examinations to which he or she is not entitled; or

f. Other reasons which are not in violation of state or federal law.

C. Examinations. An applicant will be eligible to take examinations if he or she meets the minimum qualifications established by the department director. These qualifications may include education, experience, and other factors as related to the ability of the applicant to perform with reasonable efficiency the essential functions of the position with or without an accommodation.

D. Examination Contents and Procedure.

1. All examinations required shall be practical and shall relate to the duties and responsibilities of the position for which the applicant is being examined and shall measure the relative capacity and fitness of the person examined to perform the essential functions of the class of positions to which they seek to be appointed (or promoted). The examination or other tests found reasonable by the personnel officer used to determine the fitness and relative ability of the applicant may consist of one or more of the following:

a. Written tests;

b. Performance tests;

c. Physical tests of strength, stamina or dexterity;

d. Evaluation of education, training and experience as shown on the application;

e. Interviews designed to determine general fitness for the position;

f. Pre-employment health examinations;

g. Drug test; and

h. Interviews.

In addition, for police officers, additional testing requirements may be required, including, but not limited to: polygraph examination, psychological examination, fingerprinting, extensive background investigation and criminal background review.

In addition, for all other police department employees, additional testing requirements may be required, including, but not limited to: fingerprinting, extensive background investigation and criminal background review.

2. Five working days before applications for the position close, the department director will submit for the personnel officer’s approval any examinations to be used to rank the applicants.

3. The department director may require information as to education, training and experience of applicants and such other information as the department director may reasonably deem pertinent. If the department director determines a need to contact any applicant for further information, the personnel officer shall contact the applicant and all applicants similarly situated shall be extended this same opportunity. The personnel officer may require any applicant for examination to submit documented proof of the possession of any license, certificate, degree or other qualification claimed or required and may refuse credit for such qualifications in the absence of proof.

E. Conduct of Examinations. Examinations shall be conducted at a testing site approved by the personnel officer or under the supervision of the department director. All examiners and monitors used in the conducting of examinations shall be provided with such instructions as may be required for fair and impartial administration.

F. Interviews. When an interview panel forms a part or all of the examination for a position, the city manager or designee shall appoint an interview board. This board shall consist of at least three members:

1. The director or designee of the department having the vacancy;

2. City of Palmer employee with the same job classification or higher as the position being filled; and

3. The personnel officer or designee. As a general rule, all applicants selected for interview shall be interviewed and rated by the same panel. Alternate members may be used only when determined necessary by the personnel officer.

G. Method of Ranking.

1. Vacancies will be filled by the most qualified applicant based on the criteria as established in subsection (G)(2) of this section.

2. Five working days before applications for the position close, the department director shall submit for the personnel officer’s approval the interview questions and the method of ranking to be used for hiring list eligibility.

H. Offering Positions.

1. Pre-Offer Procedure.

a. Qualified Candidates. The department director shall provide the names of the most qualified applicant(s) to the personnel officer.

b. Additional Information. If additional information is needed to document qualifications, a memo to the personnel officer shall be included.

c. References. Prior to selection of a candidate, the personnel officer shall check the references for the top candidates.

d. References – Palmer Police Department. Prior to selection of a candidate, the Palmer police department shall conduct background checks in accordance with Alaska law on candidates for employment.

2. Conditional Offers.

a. Notification of Conditions. Before making final selection of the most qualified applicant, the department director shall notify the personnel officer of any conditions of employment in writing.

b. Examples. Examples of conditions include without limitation the successful completion of a background investigation or post-offer medical examination, receipt of negative results of a post-offer drug test, or Alaska licensing.

c. Conditional Job Offer. The personnel officer will make conditional job offers for all non-department of public safety employees.

d. Conditional Job Offer – Palmer Police Department.

i. The chief of police shall make conditional job offers for Palmer police department employees.

ii. The conditions shall be based on the examples listed in this section.

iii. The chief of police shall forward all conditions of employment to the personnel officer.

e. Employment Effective Upon Written Approval. When the conditions have been met and the applicant accepts the position, employment becomes effective upon written approval of the personnel officer and city manager.

3. Positions Offered. The personnel officer shall make all offers of employment, transfer or promotion, either oral or written.

4. Employment.

a. All applicants must successfully pass the pre-employment drug screening prior to starting employment with the city.

b. All applicants must submit a copy of their driving record and a background report from the State Troopers during orientation with the personnel officer or designee.

c. The cost of the driving record and background report will be reimbursed during normal account payables procedures.

I. Eligibility List.

1. The department director may include in the position announcement that not only a position opening exists but that an eligibility list may be made of top qualified applicants based on the examination. In such case, the department director may establish an eligibility list and provide a copy to the personnel officer.

2. Within 30 days of the establishment of the eligibility list, the personnel officer shall notify all qualified applicants in writing whether their names have or have not been included on the eligibility list.

3. If a position for which an eligibility list exists becomes open for hiring, the personnel officer at the request of the department director and approval of the city manager may choose to hire from the eligibility list.

4. Filling Vacancy from Eligibility List.

a. To fill a vacancy by selection of a candidate from an eligibility list, the department director shall submit the eligibility list to the personnel officer and city manager.

b. This list may be for one or more positions in the same job position and shall indicate the number and identity of positions to be filled and the title of the position to which they have been allocated and shall include other material information.

c. The department director shall submit the list with his or her request to interview as far in advance as possible prior to the date he or she desires the employee to begin work.

d. The request shall be subject to approval of both the personnel officer and city manager.

e. The list submitted by the department director shall include the names of all candidates included in the highest rankings, normally the top five rankings, pursuant to the examination.

5. The period during which an eligibility list remains in effect shall be determined in writing by the department director upon the establishment of such list, but the period shall not exceed 24 months from the close of the application period for the position. If the department director chooses and receives city manager approval to commence the recruitment and selection procedure to fill a job position for which an eligibility list exists, then the eligibility list ceases to be effective.

6. The department director, after notifying the personnel officer in writing and receiving written approval from the personnel officer, may remove the name of an eligible candidate from the list for the following reasons:

a. The eligible candidate cannot be located by mail or the candidate has failed to respond within five days to a notice of inquiry regarding availability for appointment;

b. Upon written notification from the eligible candidate that he or she no longer desires consideration for a position in that class;

c. The eligible applicant declines position offered; or

d. Fails to report to duty within a reasonable time not to exceed 30 days.

J. Recruitment and Selection Records.

1. Within five days of the offer being accepted by the employee or the establishment of the eligibility list, the department director shall organize in an orderly manner and deliver to the personnel officer all records and documents pertinent to the recruitment and selection.

2. These records and documents shall include without limitation all announcements, a description of the selection procedure, all applications, all tests, all test results, all ranking sheets, all correspondence with applicants, all information regarding the methods and materials used, and all notes taken by raters.

K. This section does not apply to the selection of department directors and volunteers. (Ord. 16-012 § 3, 2016; Ord. 15-012 § 5, 2015; Ord. 14-034 § 3, 2014; Ord. 12-001 § 3, 2013)

4.15.030 Pre-employment inquiries.

The city may make pre-employment inquiries as authorized by law. (Ord. 12-001 § 3, 2013)

4.15.040 Promoted employee.

A promoted employee shall begin their probationary period subject to PMC 4.15.050. The probationary employee retains eligibility to take leave subject to Chapter 4.30 PMC. (Ord. 12-001 § 3, 2013)

4.15.050 Probationary period.

A. All new regular full-time and regular part-time employees are subject to the probationary requirements of this section.

B. At any time during the probationary period, the department director or city manager may summarily discharge the probationary employee from the position, with or without cause and without right of hearing or appeal; provided, however, such discharge will be made in conjunction with prior attorney consultation.

C. Written notice of such dismissal shall be given to the probationary employee before the action becomes effective.

D. All new, promoted, and demoted employees shall serve a probationary period.

1. Full-time employees shall serve a probationary period of six months or 1,040 hours worked, exclusive of overtime.

a. When an employee in a probationary status is transferred to another level, the probationary period for the new level shall start on the date of the transfer.

b. After an employee has successfully completed six months and 1,040 hours of work, exclusive of overtime, in the new level the employee may be advanced a maximum of two steps to the next higher pay step in the salary range of the class. That date becomes the employee’s merit anniversary date.

c. The probationary period may be extended at the discretion of the department director and approval of the personnel officer.

2. Part-time employees shall serve a probationary period of six months and 1,040 hours worked, exclusive of overtime.

a. After an employee has successfully completed six months and 1,040 hours of work, exclusive of overtime, the employee may be advanced a maximum of two steps to the next higher pay step in the salary range of class. That date becomes the employee’s merit anniversary date.

b. The probationary period may be extended at the discretion of the department director and approval of the personnel officer.

3. Uncertified police officer probationary period shall begin at day of hire and continue for six months after the successful completion of police academy and field training program.

E. A probationary employee is not entitled to PMC 4.50.060 before discharge, and a probationary employee is not entitled to severance pay upon discharge.

F. During the probationary period, a probationary employee accrues leave time, and shall be eligible for holiday benefits.

1. The employee may not use personal leave until they have successfully completed their probationary period including any extensions.

2. The leave accrual will not be paid for an employee who leaves employment with the city of Palmer for any reason prior to successfully completing the probationary period including any extensions. (Ord. 16-012 § 3, 2016; Ord. 12-001 § 3, 2013)

4.15.060 Residency.

A. In accordance with the Charter, the city manager shall be a resident of the city during his or her tenure in office.

B. The city clerk shall be a resident of the city during his or her tenure in office within 180 days of hire.

C. All department directors, fire chief, and the police chief shall reside within five miles of the city limits within 180 days of hire. (Ord. 16-010 § 3, 2016; Ord. 12-001 § 3, 2013)

4.15.070 Driver’s license required.

All employees whose job description requires a valid Alaska driver’s license of a specific class or with or without endorsements, including a commercial driver’s license (CDL), shall obtain and maintain such driver’s license.

A. An employee, who is required to have a CDL whose operating privilege is suspended, revoked or canceled for any period, shall not operate any city vehicle for which such license or endorsement is required during the period of suspension, revocation, cancellation, loss or disqualification.

B. An employee whose operating privilege is suspended, revoked or canceled, who loses the privilege to operate a motor vehicle in any state for any period, shall notify his or her department director or the city manager of that fact before the end of the business day following the day the employee receives notice of the suspension, revocation, cancellation, loss or disqualification. An employee whose operating privilege is suspended, revoked, or canceled from operating a motor vehicle may not operate a city vehicle or his or her own personal vehicle for city business.

C. Violation of subsection (A) or (B) of this section constitutes cause for termination.

D. The suspension, revocation, cancellation, loss or disqualification of the operating privilege constitutes cause for involuntary demotion to a lower job classification for which the employee is qualified without the privilege. If there is no opening available in a lower job classification for which the employee is qualified without the operating privilege, the employee may be terminated.

E. In addition to the above, the employee may be terminated at the discretion of the city manager or may be required to:

1. Obtain a new, valid driver’s license of such class or with such endorsements, including a commercial driver’s license, that meets the requirements of his or her job description within 60 calendar days of the effective date of the suspension, revocation, cancellation, loss or disqualification;

2. Obtain a reinstatement of the prior operating privileges within 60 calendar days of the suspension, revocation, cancellation, loss or disqualification; or

3. Obtain limited license privileges and a new valid driver’s license or have the prior operating privileges reinstated such that the employee does not lack the driver’s license authority meeting the requirements for his or her job description for more than 60 calendar days, consecutive or nonconsecutive.

F. If an employee is subject to adverse action resulting from any change in license status or driving privileges, the provisions of PMC 4.50.040 and 4.50.050 must be followed. (Ord. 12-001 § 3, 2013)

4.15.080 Physical examination.

A. After an offer of an appointment to a position, the city may require an applicant to pass a physical examination conducted by a city-approved medical provider at city expense.

B. If the city manager or department director has reason to believe that a current employee has a physical or mental condition which substantially interferes with the employee’s ability to perform the essential functions of his/her position in a safe and proficient manner, the personnel officer or department director, with the prior written approval of the personnel officer, may in writing require the employee to submit to a fitness for duty examination. If the city selects the medical or mental health professional, the city shall pay for the fitness for duty examination. If the employee elects to obtain a second opinion it will be at the employee’s expense.

C. If an employee suffers an injury or illness which prevents the employee from fully performing his or her essential functions of his/her job, the employee’s department director may offer the employee light duty where such is approved by a medical or mental health professional and where the medical or mental health professional has released the employee for such light duty. The personnel officer shall be notified of the light duty status.

1. Light duty may be assigned in a department other than the employee’s home department with the concurrence of the receiving department director.

2. The employee’s department shall pay for all light duty pay if the employee works in a different department, at the discretion of the city manager.

3. If light duty is not available, the employee must remain off the job until released by a medical or mental health professional to perform the essential functions of his/her position with or without accommodation.

4. When the employee is able to perform the essential functions of his/her position and a medical or mental health professional’s written release to that effect has been received by the personnel officer, the employee shall be reassigned to the normal position in due course; provided, that:

a. The medical release is received within 18 weeks of notice of the injury or illness; and

b. The position still exists and is not then filled by a regular employee who is not in a promotional probationary period.

D. If an employee is unable to return to work due to injury or illness that prevents them from performing essential job functions due to injury or illness, the employee shall advise his or her department director in writing. The department director may request physician updates on the status of the employee. (Ord. 12-001 § 3, 2013)