MUSKEGON BOARD OF CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSIONERS
Regular Meeting Minutes
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
4:00 p.m. City Hall, Room 203
I. CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by Commissioner David Wendtland at
Also present were Commissioner Norman Cunningham and Deborah
Groeneveld, Human Resources Director.
Also present were Jeff Lewis, LeighAnn Archer, Derrick Smith,
Mohammed Al-Shatel, Terees Williams, Lowell Kirksey, Jr., John Schrier,
Abiade, and Bryon Mazade.
The minutes of the February 19, 2013 regular Civil Service Commission
meeting were reviewed.
Motion was made by Norman Cunningham and seconded by David
Wendtland to approve the regular minutes of the February 19,
III. ACTION AGENDA
A. Lowell Kirksey, Jr. Decision. Bryon Mazade indicated that at the
February meeting Lowell Kirksey made his appeal, the Board heard the
City staff’s response, and all requested information and clarifications
have been provided to the Board.
Dave Wendtland asked Lowell if he had any further comments and
went on to say that he has reviewed both the February 19 minutes and
the actions the City has taken on this over time. Dave is comfortable
that the City’s action and were in compliance with the fair treatment of
Mr. Kirksey in terms of his ability to be recalled to positions. Dave
moved that the decision not be in Mr. Kirksey’s favor and that the City
did provide due diligence in the fair treatment in regards to this
Lowell said he didn’t agree. Lowell is still questioning the fact that he
is a non-represented employee and was offered a union position.
Lowell doesn’t understand even if a union individual did not want the
job, why would he as a non-represented employee be offered a union
job. He said that the guidelines state that you cannot move outside
your represented unit and he questioned the City as to why they feel it
is the proper procedure to offer a non-represented employee a union
Dave responded that the record is that the City has previously offered
a union position to non-represented employees when there has not
been a union employee filing for the position. Yes, there is precedence
for it and it is up to the City to make that determination as to your
eligibility to be recalled and then you must move through the proper
procedures and in this particular case I do not believe you did and
your actions has brought me to this conclusion.
Norman Cunningham said that Lowell did not attend the scheduled
doctor’s January 4 appointment and did not reschedule. There would
be no reason not to go through the evaluation even if you were not
agreeing with decision, and at least that part would have been
completed. You could have moved forward, but you failed to do that
and failed to reschedule. Part of my question earlier was the bumping
rights and it has been clarified for me that it was not a bump. This
was a job offering because there were no other employees wanting that
particular job to bump into with the rights to do that. I conquer with
the City’s position.
Lowell asked Norman, you stated bumping rights according to the fact
that no other union employee wanted to bump. As far as my bumping,
rights as a non-represented employee, I would think it would apply
differently being that I am a different classification. As it relates to Dr.
Lamson’s and our discussion, when I stated to him my concerns that I
was appealing to the Commission, Dr. Lamson stated to me that he did
not want to interview me until that was resolved. So as far as me not
rescheduling I stated to him that I would be more than willing to sit
down with him once I had a chance to appeal. I sent in a letter for this
to be reviewed on January 7 because I had some concerns, which I
stated to you at the February 19 meeting. It also states that you are
entitled to a timely response and being that in the timeframe that I had
to report to the doctor, it was like take it or leave it. Also, I stated in
the notification previously when they sent out the options that we were
generally given, two of the options were removed from the notification
sent to me at the time the job was stated to be open. I questioned why
that was done at that time. It was basically either you take this
position, or you resign your position with the City, and before we had
the option to remain on layoff. I am sitting here looking at a year from
retirement and I chose to take it. I understand it be that the last two
years of your salary is based on your retiring calculations. This job is
below the lowest position that was on my election notice with the City.
I go in and take a job that is probably going to be paying me $12,000-
14,000 less than my last position, and then I am close to retiring. It
seems like I was put in a rock and a hard place and you go back and
look at my first resume I listed and it states that I worked as a quality
tech. It doesn’t give you any full-fledge explanation of the duties I
performed. You take that and you choose that as a means of making a
judgment. I was totally refused an opportunity to bump into other
positions based on that same resume. So you had an updated
resume, but you chose to go back and use the old resume. It seems to
me that there should be some level of fairness here when judging a
person’s ability to do a job and then fabricating others to try and push
on to a person. As a supervisor, I did far more and performed at a
high level according to my evaluations, but when I chose to try and
bump into a position, I am ignored and refused based on that old
resume. Then you have a low-end job below everything in bumping
options and then you say he is okay for that. I do not see the fairness
and following the guidelines according to the Civil Service rules and
regulations as they were stated for full-time classified employees.
Dave said that the board understands that this decision is not in Mr.
Kirksey’s liking and we also understand that there is a difference in
opinion in what transpired. I would make the point that this doctor’s
appointment was on January 4 and the appeal was not filed until
January 8. So having an appeal in place before you saw the doctor
was not the case. That said we are not the final appeal process. I
think we have a full record of your position on this and we have a full
record from the City. I am satisfied that you have received fair
treatment. It is not a question whether you particularly cared for that
job; it is a question whether you were qualified. The final
determination and qualifications is with the City.
Motion was made by David Wendtland and seconded by Norman
Cunningham to deny Lowell Kirksey Jr.’s appeal.
B. Michael Fort Request for Leave of Absence. Dave went over the
request for leave of absence for Michael Fort. Deborah Groeneveld said
it was reviewed by staff and it is a legitimate request.
Motion was made by Norman Cunningham and seconded by David
Wendtland to approve Michael Fort’s leave of absence request.
IV. CIVIL SERVICE PERSONNEL DIRECTOR’S REPORT
Deborah Groeneveld said she has Mr. John Schrier’s document and
handed it out to the Board members, which is about what the role of the
Civil Service Commission is. Dave asked John to summarize the
handout. John said that much of what the Civil Service does could be
delegated to staff subject to an appeal of staff decision back to the Civil
Service. Your delegation can only be asked of those things that would be
administrative decision making, etc. Rulemaking on the other hand
would be a legislative matter that you could not delegate to staff. You
could have the staff draft for you, recommend, etc., but the actual
adoption of any rule needs to be made by the commission itself. The
opinion is based on looking at only the charter requirements. If you
choose to move forward, my suggestion would be that you direct staff to
prepare appropriate documents articulating what would be referred to
them for their initial decision. It should also spell out the appeal process
including time periods, and then back to you if someone does not agree
with the staff administrative decision. I also know that the rules are
going to have to be reviewed because there are a number of times in the
rules that say “the Civil Service Commission shall”. It seems to me that
this is also a place that should be corrected so there is not a conflict
between adopted policies and rules which should be consistent. For the
exception for rulemaking, you certainly defer to staff’s initial decision.
Appeals, suspension, and dismissals might as well start with the Civil
Dave asked if that the rules under which a personnel department
functions could be prepared by the staff, but then be adopted by the
Commission. John responded yes. Dave also went on to ask that any
appeal or enforcement of those rules by an employee would come to the
Commission? John said probably not, I would say that any suspensions
or dismissal go directly to the Civil Service. But if somebody doesn’t like
the department head’s decision consistent with the rules, I would allow
the personnel director to have first review. If they don’t like the
personnel director’s decision, then they come to the Civil Service
Commission to appeal. How this would be structured is if the employee
does not like what the delegated staff had to say, the employee would
then take it to the HR Director, and then if the employee didn’t like that
outcome, they would then appeal to the Civil Service Commission.
Dave asked the staff to proceed to drafting the personnel policies to avoid
conflict and then run by John, Deborah and work with Bryon.
Deborah asked John about the language “they shall make the rules for
examination and selection”, can they decide that we do that differently
than it is done, for example, if it is done with a certain test and you
decide you don’t want to buy that test anymore, you could just have an
interview process? John said it would still have to be a Rule 3 per the
charter mandate. Norman agreed.
Deborah presented the rest of the report with changes from an email
with the changes of a couple dates.
VIII. OLD BUSINESS
IX. OTHER BUSINESS
Norman announced that after over 60 years of living in the city of
Muskegon it is anticipated that by the end of the summer he will be
leaving to Ottawa County in the Grand Haven area. He requested that
the City look for another Civil Service Commissioner and will be happy to
stay on until one is found; Bryon is to look for Norman’s replacement.
Terees Williams addressed the commission and said she appreciates the
fact that the commission is moving in the right direction by putting
something in order so the employees know exactly how to proceed with
any grievance/appeal. One concern she has after talking to several
different employees who would like to attend the meetings, is the fact
that the meetings start during the time the employees are still at work.
In order for an employee to attend a meeting, we have to use time off to
come. This is not always feasible. She was wondering since this is a
body for the employees would it be possible for the meetings to start at a
time that employees would be able to attend.
Dave agreed and asked Bryon about what time the employees start and
finish their day. Bryon said there are some employees that start earlier
than others, but if a meeting started at some time after 5:00 pm it would
catch most of the employees. We will always have a problem because we
are a 24/7 operation so you are never going to catch everybody, for
example police and fire.
Dave said they will talk to David-George Newsome and see if it can be set
at 5:00, but if we do have a second or third shift employee, we could
always adjourn to a specific time. Bryon said that if an employee has an
appeal, their supervisor could give them release time, but if they just
want to attend a meeting, we can’t change the time. Generally, the
supervisor has accommodated the employee, if they have an appeal.
The meeting adjourned at 4:35 p.m.
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