Crestwood Civil Service Board met 16 times during 2006


For the first time since April, Crestwood’s Civil Service Board has approved minutes of previous meetings.

Of 16 Civil Service Board meetings that took place in 2006, members last week approved minutes for 12 of those meetings. Minutes for March 7 and March 15 were previously approved, and additional minutes have yet to be approved for meetings that took place on April 12 and April 19.

The Civil Service Board began meeting March 7 to review and propose new civil-service rules and regulations. A 61-page draft of those proposals was given in December to aldermen and presented Jan. 9 to the Board of Aldermen.

Because approved minutes were available for just two Civil Service Board meetings until last week, aldermen believed it was necessary to schedule a work session Tuesday — after the Call went to press — to further discuss the proposed changes.

The Civil Service Board approved minutes for its March 7 and March 15 meetings during an April 5 meeting at the Government Center, according to the newly released minutes.

The Civil Service Board met on the following dates in 2006: March 7, March 15, March 22, March 29, April 5, April 12, April 19, April 26, May 3, May 10, June 12, Sept. 14, Nov. 8, Nov. 13, Nov. 16 and Dec. 28.

Besides the previous lack of meeting minutes, some aldermen have also questioned public awareness and notification of these meetings.

Ward 1 Alderman Richard Bland said last week that he was unaware that the Civil Service Board met as many as 16 times in 2006.

Assistant City Administrator Justina Tate previously said notice of a Dec. 28 Civil Service Board public hearing was posted on the bulletin board at the Government Center.

Notice was not, however, posted on the city’s Web site or published in the city’s newsletter. As of press time, the city’s Web site was still lacking minutes of 2006 Civil Service Board meetings, but did include a Civil Service Board section that lists the agendas for two meetings the board has scheduled in 2007. Tate and city staff members have said they are now working to also add 2006 agendas and minutes to that section.

The product of the 16 times the Civil Service Board met in 2006 is the newly proposed civil-service rules and regulations, which are a combination of federal and state laws passed in recent years and proposed changes to city policy. Board members Martha Duchild, Gretchen Huston and Catherine Barnes have expressed a desire to pass a new set of rules because no such document has been approved for civil-service employees in more than 10 years. Those members discussed four goals for their time on the board, according to minutes of their first meeting on March 7. These include:

• Setting a timeline for the review of civil-service rules and regulations.

• Performing a review and technical edit of the current rules and regulations.

• Determining policies that are in practice and/or have been formally adopted since the civil-service rules were last passed and offer suggested revisions to aldermen.

• Determining ways to educate employees on the civil-service rules.

In that first meeting, Duchild also suggested that once the new civil-service rules are adopted, a summary sheet should be sent to employees.

Board members also discussed some items that eventually turned into newly written proposals. These include the inclusion of “intent” language, clarification of the city administrator’s position as personnel director, the process for applicants and where they and employees can see required labor-law postings and the pay plan currently in use.

Under the final draft of proposed civil-service rules, a change to the civil-service rules is that the Civil Service Board “shall have the power and be required to” advise aldermen and the personnel director — who is now the city administrator — on personnel, “make any investigation which it may deem desirable” on personnel, report to aldermen at least once per year, approve civil-service rules, hear appeals for disciplinary action, perform other personnel duties that aldermen may require by ordinance, review the classification and pay plan annually and make decisions on grievance appeals. The proposals also state that the Civil Service Board will meet the first Tuesday in March, June, September and December or as directed by the mayor, Civil Service Board chairman or personnel director.

Minutes for the Civil Service Board’s Nov. 16 meeting show that the addition of these duties, specifically “render decision on grievance appeals,” would require aldermen to adopt a new ordinance to change Section 18-7 of the municipal code.

In the proposed draft of the civil-service rules and regulation, the board included a catch-all provision that the “rules and regulations are not intended to be a substitute for the good judgment, common sense, and discretion of City personnel. These rules and regulations supersede and replace all previous civil service rules and regulations.”

The proposal also states that all city employees are covered by the civil-service rules and regulations except for the elected officials, city administrator, assistant city administrator, police chief, fire chief, director of public services, community and economic-development manager, city attorney, prosecuting attorney, municipal court judge and all employees “designated as contract, temporary or seasonal employees.”

Mayor Roy Robinson has said that a “code of conduct” for all employees exempt from the civil-service rules likely will be considered this year.

At the Civil Service Board’s March 15 meeting, discussion first formed on the board’s proposal to designate the mayor and city administrator as city spokesmen. The minutes state, “Huston suggested that certain people be designated to speak with members of the press.”

That suggestion was then forwarded to City Administrator Frank Myers, who first attended a Civil Service Board meeting on June 12 and again on Sept. 14. At the June 12 meeting, the board discussed with Myers the possibility of including a media-relations section and the staff and board agreed that such a policy should be included.

As originally proposed, the media section read: “Contact with the press/media is limited to the mayor and city administrator, who shall be the designated spokespeople for the city of Crestwood. Upon their determination, and as warranted, this responsibility may be relegated to individual department heads.”

At the board’s Nov. 8 meeting, “board members agreed to recommend that all employees of the city direct the media and press to the mayor or city administrator.”

The final draft of that proposal eventually was changed to delete the limit on media contact to only the mayor and city administrator, but still designates them as city spokespeople. Duchild has said this was done not to prevent employees from talking with the media, but to discourage them from speaking on behalf of the city.

The current draft language also states that the mayor and city administrator may remove relegating press contact to department heads “when it is in the best interest of the city.”

Minutes also show that the Civil Service Board first discussed a provision in the city’s municipal code that restricts employment of elected officials’ relatives on March 29. On June 12, the board discussed including that ordinance in the civil-service code. The final draft of the proposed civil-service code shows that a husband, wife, brother-in-law or sister-in-law of an elected official cannot be employed by the city.

The final draft does not, however, include further relatives like children, grandchildren and parents of elected officials that are included as restrictions for employment in the city’s municipal code.

The proposed rules also contain a provision that allows for the city attorney and Civil Service Board to have access to written reprimands of employees for five years and a ban on dating or romantic relationships “between a supervisor/subordinate, between department heads or between the city administrator and any other employee.”

Robinson said the ban on dating was included at his request because of past problems the city has experienced with relationships between employees. But according to 2006 meeting minutes of the Civil Service Board, Robinson did not attend any of those meetings.