Archive for Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bonner council creates board for city worker grievances

October 12, 2011

The Bonner Springs City Council Tuesday put the final touches on a policy that will create a review panel to deal with employee grievances.

The policy’s creation stemmed from a disagreement over the city manager’s contract in early August. Some council members voted not to renew the contract in part because they thought employee grievances were not handled properly. The revised personnel grievances policy creates a five-member board, including two members of an Employee Review Panel, to review disciplinary decisions made by supervisors if a city employee feels he or she been treated unfairly.

The committee would contain five members, including the human resources director. The other members would be two department heads and two employees selected from the Employee Review Panel. Members of the panel must be longtime employees who have taken a grievance training program with the human resources manager and who don’t have their own disciplinary issues.

The council has taken part in two previous discussions about revising the personnel policy to ensure employee discipline is handled fairly. Some council members Tuesday still wanted to see more involvement from the council in such situations.

Joe Perry, city attorney, repeated his position that involvement of elected officials could lead to lawsuits.

Council member Jeff Harrington said the council shouldn’t be involved in decisions because of the city manager form of government.

“In this form of government, we are contracting with a city manager to take care of those responsibilities, so we’re more or less usurping his authority (by getting involved),” he said.

Perry explained that if the city manager were to ignore the decision made by the Employee Review Committee, then the matter would be brought to the council. But some council members still wanted more of an awareness of problems and how they were handled.

“If somebody made a complaint about a supervisor, Jack would want to know, and if somebody made a complaint about Jack, we would want to know,” council member Racheal Haas said. “And that’s not a complaint about Jack, that’s whoever the city manager is.”

The council also agreed it was important to remind employees they could visit with the human resources director, Carol Sharp, whenever they had a problem and that they could be comfortable with her because she acted as a liaison between management and employees.

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