Committee action on HB 1293 to take place Friday morning
HB 1293 (Hugo) proposes to make significant changes to local grievance procedures statewide. This bill was requested by a law enforcement association and it is important to note that they already have the option for a three-member panel hearing under the Law Enforcement Officers Procedural Guarantee Act. The bill would require that in the final step of all local grievance procedures, the parties must agree to either a certified hearing officer or three-member panel. This eliminates the opportunity for the jurisdiction to determine and state the final step of the process.
In addition, the bill invalidates all existing grievance procedures that have previously been approved by the Department of Human Resource Management. Therefore many jurisdictions would have to completely change their current grievance process.
VACo opposes this bill as it has in past sessions because it delays the grievance process and invalidates many well established and approved local grievance processes. VACo members should contact the Delegates on the Counties, Cities and Towns Committee to oppose HB 1293.
-It is often difficult to get the parties to agree on panel members. The three-member panel process involves the two parties picking a panel member then attempting to agree on a third panel member. This process is cumbersome and often causes long delays and inconsistencies.
-The bill would eliminate a number of longstanding impartial grievance panels used by localities that currently work well.
-The Police Benevolent Society, the main proponent of the bill, already has the option to request a three-member panel under the Law Enforcement Officers Procedural Guarantee Act. Yet the proponent seeks to unsettle local grievance procedures statewide that are efficient, thorough and apply to all local government employees.
-The administrative hearing officers are impartial professionals who have been certified by the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia.
-Many counties have grievance procedures that include an impartial panel, which were approved years ago by the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management.
House Counties, Cities and Towns Committee: Ingram (Chairman), Marshall, R.G., Marshall, D.W., Poindexter, Morefield, Stolle, Wilt, Morris, Hodges, Webert, Taylor, Austin, Campbell, Pillion, Collins, Spruill, Herring, Mason, Heretick, Boysko, Bell, John J., Krizek