City councilors are likely soon to eliminate Bristol’s Personnel Appeals Board.
Though the change would eliminate a layer of bureaucracy on paper, its practical impact is virtually nil.
The panel hasn’t met “in a very long time,” Personnel Director Diane Ferguson said, though it tried to hold a session about eight years ago but couldn’t muster a quorum.
The board’s purpose is to allow non-bargaining unit employees who want to appeal a firing or suspension to make their case, but most these days would simply use a union grievance procedure.
The proposed change would hand the responsibility for dealing with appeals to the Salary Committee instead.
“It’s a good idea. I think it makes sense,” city Councilor Frank Nicastro said
Nicastro said some might say the revision opens the door for councilors “to play politics.”
But, he said, “I don’t believe that” will happen if the three-person salary panel handles the appeals instead.
Ferguson has 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’s a committee that has not been called on in many, many years,” Ferguson said.
The Salary Committee unanimously endorsed the proposal last week.
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