October 2, 2008

Personnel Appeals Board to get the boot

The Personnel Appeals Board is likely to be abolished, but it’s doubtful anyone will notice.

The panel hasn’t met in at least 12 years, said city Councilor Frank Nicastro, a former mayor who chairs the city’s Salary Committee.

Officials are looking into the technicalities of dumping the board and letting the Salary Committee pick up the slack, such as it is.

Personnel Director Diane Ferguson said that axing the board would allow non-bargaining unit employees who want to appeal a firing or suspension to make a case to the Salary Committee.

She said it makes more sense for the appeals to go to a committee that at least meets regularly and knows how the personnel system operates rather than pleading to a panel that hasn’t met within memory.

It tried one time some years ago, Ferguson and Richard Lacey, a city lawyer, recalled. But the board couldn’t get a quorum so it gave up trying.

Nicastro said the proposal to dump the board “has a lot of merit” and deserves serious consideration.

One point that arose when the Salary Committee discussed the issue recently is that department heads are covered by a union contract that lays out who has the power to order them to do anything.

They would appeal grievances and punishments through their union, Ferguson said.

Several officials pointed out there is no role for the proposed chief operating officer in the union contracts, leaving it unclear how someone in the new job would have any clout over the municipal supervisors he’s supposed to oversee day to day.

“How’s the COO going to be able to do his job?” asked city Councilor Cliff Block, who opposes the position’s creation.

Nobody offered an answer.

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com


Anonymous said...

Great. Another well thought out proposal by our fearless City Leaders. Let's create a high paying position for someone that can't do the job they were hired to do. And then let's keep that little piece of information from the citizens so that they will support the idea.

Since the Union contracts stipulate who they report to then it would take a union negotiation to rewrite the contract. And we all know what the union thinks of the COO position.

Might as well kiss it goodbye. Nice of you all to waste our time and money with a pointless petition process.

Anonymous said...

Gotta love this town!!! So only the mayor can give orders to department heads and that is written in the contracts? It is too bad that we can never actually move for "ward" because everything is written in a contract that protects everybody, but the tax payers in this city!!! So if the union works so hard to elected the mayor and council in this town doesn't the mayor anwser to them? Seems like the reason we can get rid of Rosenthal to me!

Steve Collins said...

Well, it's more complicated than that. Some department heads work for a board, or they sort of work for a board, such as the comptroller and the Finance Board, the police chief and the Police Commission, the park director and the Park Board, etc.
It's going to be interesting see how it gets sorted out if the new position is created.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Stortz was/is on the right track!

If this goes ahead, just think of the arbitration ahead.

And lawyers fees!

Bill, I do appreciate your concern for Bristol: I hope others dod too!

Anonymous said...

The original purpose of the Personnel Appeals Board was to AVOID having elected officials get involved with personnel matters: to put the issue at arms length.

Seems like Frank wants his heavy hand in everything.

Anonymous said...

One more year and Frank will hopefully fulfill his promise and not run again. Please God, please.

john cullen said...

Perhaps a seasoned COO could actually answer all your questions and everyone wouldn't always be in a tither around here when it comes to the facts and reality. Right now, who would any of you doubters of the efficacy of the position go to for the answer? The Mayor? The Personnel Director? The Council? The Ordinance Committee? The City Council? The Unions?

You have, in reality, answered your questions - no one presently might be able to put the whole picture together for you, and it seems that only the folks on the Ordinance Committee and a bunch of 'citizens' care. They want someone who understands all this stuff in place to help City government work - it doesn't right now.

We just witnessed the BD of Ed get caught with their pants down with a planning Board decision to pan the Scalia site, and now a desperation site, heretofore REJECTED, is the FAVORED AND PROPOSED location for 60 million dollars worth of school. Don't you all feel good about that? And downtown and its surroundings are looking more and more like a scene from the Planet of the Apes. Somethings not clicking around here.

Most labor contracts are Management and Union contracts, not just Union contracts as we seem to believe here in Bristol. It would be a very sad thing to find that any of the bargained contracts in this city didn't have a Management Rights clause that allows the the City to designate who will administer the contract and who will direct the workforce governed by that contract. That would be really big and bad news.

Hopefully, some reluctant component of the presently comprised government will cobble together a sensible position description for this COO proposal we can all take a look at. If not, I'm still for it because it gives me hope of a more open, uniform and capable government down the road. I challenge anyone to give me a description of what we have seen occur over the past five years or how things happen at present, and then say we have anywhere else to go but up.

Stay well, john cullen

Anonymous said...

Cullen - why don't you just say that you and minor are hitched together at the hip and move on? And be a lot briefer about it, your ramblings are "gop-like" -wanting for substance.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this one of the things that Stortz was questioning?

Will we get an answer??

Anonymous said...

Stortz - please, please just stop it. No one cares about you.

Anonymous said...

Shut up Cliff off the old block

Anonymous said...

Bill, if that is you, DON't STOP!
Evidently you have someone worried.

If is is not you, I'm happy to see other(s) with opinions similar to yours.

I, and many others, do support you.

Anonymous said...

Cliff, has the COO question been answered?