HB 1471 (Hugo) has been introduced in some form in six of the last seven General Assembly Sessions. VACo opposed this bill that sought to make several changes to local grievance procedures that apply to all localities and local government employees throughout the Commonwealth. Currently, many localities use a hearing officer or existing approved grievance boards or panels. This bill would have eliminated existing hearing panels and officer hearings and revert to a three-member panel at the choice of the grievant. These three-member panels are cumbersome to assemble and often have no experience in conducting such procedures, resulting in delay and inconsistency. In addition, the bill would shift interpretation of whether the relief granted is consistent with local policy from the Chief Administrative Officer of the locality to the Commonwealth’s Attorney, who may have no knowledge or experience in employment policy.
The main proponent of this bill in the past has been the Police Benevolent Society, and it is important to note that law enforcement employees have the option to choose either the local grievance process or the grievance process provided under the Law Enforcement Officers Procedural Guarantee Act. The bill died in a subcommittee of the House Counties Cities and Towns Committee.
VACo Contact: Phyllis Errico, Esq., CAE