Friday, January 30, 2015
VACo opposes major changes to local government grievance procedures
VACo opposes HB 1744 (Hugo), which seeks to make several changes to the grievance procedures that apply to all localities throughout the Commonwealth.
The bill, which also has some provisions regarding school board grievances, was recommended for reporting and referral to the House Counties, Cities and Towns Committee by the House Education Committee’s Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee on January 29.
The bill will be heard by the House Education Committee at 8 a.m. on Monday, February 2.
Please contact House Education Committee members to oppose HB 1744.
The bill seeks changes to the local government grievance procedures that make the system more cumbersome, lengthy and subject to inconsistent outcomes. Currently, most localities use a hearing officer chosen by executive secretary of the Supreme Court or longstanding impartial grievance boards. This bill would revert to a three-member panel at the choice of the grievant. These panels are cumbersome to assemble and have no experience in conducting such procedures.
- 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 bill would shift interpretation of local government policy from the Chief Administrative Officer to the Commonwealth’s Attorney. The Commonwealth’s Attorney may have no knowledge or experience in employment policy.
- 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 modify the process that is efficient, thorough and applies to all local government employees.
House Education Committee: Landes (Chairman), Lingamfelter, Rust, Cole, Pogge, Massie, Greason, Bell, Richard P., LeMunyon, Robinson, Yost, Yancey, Farrell, Davis, Leftwich, McClellan, Tyler, Bulova, Keam, Hester, Preston, Lindsey
VACo Contact: Phyllis Errico, CAE