Civilian PPM: Employment

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Policy # 1: Recruitment and Selection

It is the policy of the City of Colorado Springs to attract and retain quality employees through national, regional, and local recruitment and effective selection processes.

Recruitment Process

  • Application Process: To be considered for a posted job announcement, applicants must submit their application electronically for regular and special full-time and part-time positions through the City of Colorado Springs’ (City) online applicant tracking system. Information regarding City employment may be found at www.coloradosprings.gov. Applicants with a disability may request an accommodation by contacting Human Resources or by sending an email to cityrecruiting@springsgov.com.
  • Job Posting: Jobs are posted for a minimum of 5 working days. An online employment application must be submitted to Human Resources by the closing date on the job announcement. Any exceptions must be approved by Human Resources.
  • Open Competitive Job Postings: City employees (regular, probationary, special, and hourly employees) who apply for jobs that are posted as open competitive will be considered along with external applicants.
  • Job Postings: The City supports career development, and encourages internal transfers and promotions to support employee growth.  Employees are eligible to apply for positions outside their department posted either internally or externally after one (1) year in their position (this period may be waived with the approval of the Chief Human Resources Officer).  Employees may apply for internal or external postings within their department at any time.
  • Internal Candidates: Prior to making a job offer to an internal candidate, the hiring department manager must communicate with the current department manager about the potential hiring decision.
  • Reemployment: A former employee may be considered for reemployment at the sole discretion of the hiring department head should a vacancy exist in the classification held by the employee prior to separation without a full recruitment process. However, the employee must have successfully completed probation (or a special/at-will employee who has completed a minimum of one year of continuous city service); and voluntarily resigned from the vacant position in good standing within the last six months and had been performing at a meets expectations level or better at the time of their resignation. Employees who previously separated under a City voluntary attrition program must comply with the vacancy requirements of the program prior to reemployment.
  • Rehire: Any former employee who was discharged from City employment shall not be eligible for rehire into a regular or special position without prior approval of the Chief Human Resources Officer or designee.
  • Drug Testing: When an applicant is hired into positions covered by Commercial Drivers License (CDL) requirements, he/she must pass an initial DOT drug test. Certain safety sensitive positions may also be required to complete post-offer/pre-employment drug screening.  Applicants will receive a Drug Testing Authorization Form to take to the drug testing facility along with instructions on where and when to complete the drug test.
  • Physical Examinations: Some positions may require a post-offer physical examination. Contact Human Resources for additional information.
  • Reference Checks: The Human Resources Department will be responsible for ensuring that employment references for applicants selected for a regular or special position are conducted. If the applicant is a current City hourly/temporary employee, references should be checked when offered a regular position if not done when the employee was initially hired. If a degree is required for the position, the Human Resources Department will verify educational requirements during the background check process.
  • Background Checks: Background checks are conducted by Human Resources or the hiring department for all new employees and current employees (as designated by Human Resources) on all new employees. Background checks may include a criminal background check and may also include (depending on the position) a motor vehicle check, verification of degree, credit check, credentials verification, verification of employment, or other information deemed relevant by the City.  All background checks conducted by a third party for the City are in conformity with the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and state and federal privacy and anti-discrimination laws.

Notification

The Human Resources Department or a designated representative is responsible for contacting the candidate selected for the position and making a job offer that may be contingent upon the candidate’s successful completion of a drug test, a review of the background  checks, and any other applicable pre-employment assessments. Following the verbal offer, the Human Resources Department sends a conditional offer letter to the candidate.

Benefits Orientation

All benefit eligible employees will be provided benefits information prior to beginning work. Benefits enrollment will be conducted by Human Resources.

Relocation Expense Reimbursement

Payment of relocation expenses may be used to help attract candidates for technical, professional, supervisory, management, and hard to fill positions. The hiring manager must obtain approval from Human Resources prior to offering or including relocation  in the job offer. The hiring manager and/or department head must approves the relocation reimbursement, complete necessary paperwork with the candidate, and reimburses the candidate for this expense out of the department’s budget.

Recruitment and Selection Record Retention

All records, materials, interview questions/responses, and/or examinations relating to the employment process shall be retained by the Human Resources Department or a designated representative for a minimum of two years from the date the position is filled in compliance with the requirements of the Colorado Municipal Records Retention Schedule.  Any information subject to legal hold shall be retained in accordance with the legal hold.  If any legal or compliance action concerning the process has been filed, all documents must be retained by the hiring authority and Human Resources until such action is resolved but not less than two years in compliance with the requirements of the Colorado Municipal Records Retention Schedule.

References

Drug and Alcohol Testing Manual, Sample Offer Letter on Intranet Page under Human Resources

Policy # 2: Employment

Types of Employment

Regular Full-Time Employee: An employee who has satisfactorily completed the original probationary period and regularly works a minimum of 40 hours per week.

Regular Part-time Employee: An employee who regularly works less than 40 hours a week, but 20 hours or more.

Probationary Employee

  • A new employee who is serving the original probationary period with the City in a regular position.
  • An existing employee who is serving a probationary period as a result of promotion, transfer to a position in a different classification, transfer to a position in the same classification with different duties and responsibilities and in a different Department, or demotion (voluntary) to a position in a different classification.
  • All probationary employees are considered to be at-will until the successful completion of their probationary period.

Hourly Employee: A supplemental at-will employee who is employed for an indefinite period of time and receives no benefits except for those required by law.

Special Employee: A budgeted at-will full-time or part-time position established for an interim period and eligible for benefits.

Probationary Period

  • The probationary period shall be utilized for closely observing the employee's work to determine the employee's fitness for the position.
  • Exempt and non-exempt regular employees will serve a probationary period, not to exceed 12 months of active employment, as a result of original hire to a City position.
  • Regular and probationary employees will serve a new probationary period as a result of promotion or transfer to a position in a different classification, a reclassification, or in the same classification if the duties and responsibilities are different from the previous position and the position is in a different Department.
  • The Chief Human Resources Officer, or designee, at the written request of the Department Head, may approve an extension of the probationary period when the original probationary period is not a sufficient length of time to determine the employee's fitness for the position; however, the maximum length of probationary period, including any extensions, shall not exceed 18 months of active employment for both exempt and non-exempt employees.
  • Specific classifications may require extensive training prior to the commencement of measurable job performance. In these cases, the probationary period may be extended to provide an additional six months of probationary employment with approval of the Chief Human Resources Officer. The combined training and probationary period should not exceed the extension periods referenced above.

Conditions of Probation

  • Probationary employees may be dismissed at any time with or without notice or cause.
  • Probationary employees do not have appeal or grievance rights.
  • Probationary employees who fail to satisfactorily perform during the probationary period shall be terminated.
  • Hourly or special employment may not be credited toward completion of a probationary period.
  • Regular employees who fail to complete the probationary period in the new classification and/or position may be transferred back to a position in the former class if a vacancy is available and the former Department Head approves.
  • Regular probationary employees may voluntarily return to their former position or to a position in the same classification, providing such a position is vacant and the transfer is approved by the former Department Head.

Benefits Upon Reemployment:

Upon reemployment as defined in Policy #1 – Recruitment and Selection, benefits shall  be reinstated as follows:

  • Prior service credit will be used to determine vacation accrual rates.
  • Available sick leave balance at time of resignation will be reinstated, unless previously paid out due to prior separation being a retirement. However, employees rehired after January 1, 2011 will not be eligible for sick leave payout upon retirement.
  • Personal day will be reinstated, unless resignation and reemployment occur in the same calendar year and the employee previously used the personal day.
  • Regular employee’s prior service credit will be counted towards all City service for purposes of service awards.

Benefits Upon Transfer from Sworn to Civilian

The employee will retain any accrued sick leave balance earned while a Sworn employee. Such balance will be transferred for use by the employee in accordance with policy. Accrued vacation earned while a Sworn employee will be paid off effective the date of transfer. The employee’s vacation accrual rate will be based on total years of continuous civilian employment with the City. Service awards will be based on original hire date with the City. Retirement eligibility will be as prescribed by the State of Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA).

Length of Service for Service Awards

The City periodically recognizes employees for length of service. Length of service for the purpose of determining service awards includes all periods of active City employment in a regular position.  Employees in a special position may be recognized after 5 years of active service at the discretion of the Appointee or Department Director.  Awards for special employees will be purchased out of their respective Department’s budget.

Employment Restrictions

  • An employee may not hold simultaneous positions with the City, or any entity that is owned by the City and/or operates under the auspices of the City Council, if the combined hours exceed 40 hours per week. An exception, as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act, is occasional, sporadic part-time employment. Examples of this type employment are sports officials or instructors. The part-time employment cannot be in the Department/Division of the employee's regular assignment.
  • An individual under contract with the City or Colorado Springs Utilities may not become or remain an employee of the City or the Colorado Springs Utilities.
  • Individuals employed by the City must be at least 16 years of age, unless the position is seasonal. In certain seasonal positions, individuals who are 14 or older may be hired.
  • The City will not employ individuals who cannot establish proof of their legal right to work within the United States.

Other Employment

No employee shall engage in any employment or activity, which creates a conflict of interest or appearance of conflict of interest with their duties as a City employee.

If an employee holds a second job in addition to the City position, the employee must immediately notify their Department Director or Council/Mayoral Appointee in writing.  (In the case of the Police Department, approval by the Chief is required.) The employee shall consider the City position as primary and take appropriate steps to avoid jeopardizing the commitment to the primary position. The employee must ensure that the employment does not violate the Business Code of Ethics (Conflict of Interest) Policy # 39 and that no relationship exists between the second employer or activity, and any inspections, supervision, or contracts which are part of the employee's normal job with the City. The second job or self-employment may not be conducted during working hours, in City Buildings, nor may supplies or equipment be used to conduct such business.

Policy # 3: Employment Changes

An employee may be voluntarily or involuntarily promoted, transferred, or demoted.

Definitions

  • Promotion: Assignment to a higher classification.
  • Transfer: Assignment to a classification in the same Band and Zone.
  • Demotion: Assignment to a classification in a lower Band and/or Zone.
  • Approval Process
  • Employment changes within a department must be approved by the Director. If the change is to another department, the employee's current Director and the new Director must approve the change.
  • The action taken in regard to all requests for transfers/ demotions will be determined by the operating needs of the City.

Compensation Upon Change

  • Promotion will result in an increase in compensation commensurate with the skills and experience of the employee within the band/zone of the new class.
  • Voluntary transfer to a position in the same classification will result in no compensation change.
  • Voluntary demotion to lower classification or involuntary transfer or demotion for operational requirements will result in a change of salary appropriate for the employee's skills and qualifications within the new salary range.
  • Involuntary demotion for disciplinary reasons or unsatisfactory performance will result in a salary reduction.

Due Process Hearings

Involuntary demotions may be appealed in accordance with Policy and Procedure #47, Disciplinary Appeal and Post-Term Hearings.

Policy # 6: Position Classification

The City of Colorado Springs maintains a classification plan which groups like or similar positions in broad classifications which are linked to the appropriate labor markets for the purpose of establishing salaries.

Definitions

Position (job): A grouping of specific duties and responsibilities, assigned by management, to be performed by one employee. Each employee is assigned to a position which is in one of the following categories:

  • Regular: A budgeted, full-time position which receives full benefits
  • Regular, Part-Time: A position budgeted for a minimum of 20 hours per week, but no more than 39 hours per week, which receives pro-rated benefits
  • Hourly: A full-time or part-time supplemental position that only receives federal and state mandated benefits and is budgeted with temporary funds
  • Special: A budgeted full-time or part-time position established for an interim period and eligible for benefits.

Class: A group of positions that are sufficiently similar with respect to the type of work performed, level of difficulty or responsibility and qualifications to warrant like treatment for purposes of salary administration, recruitment and other human resource management activities.

Classification Plan: All the classes representative of the work performed by the City of Colorado Springs.

Reclassification: A change in the assigned duties and responsibilities which results in a change in the position's class. The change may be to a class of a lower, equal, or higher band/zone assignment.

  • Non-Exceptional Reclassification Requests
    Non-exceptional reclassification requests are those that represent a normal or typical progression within a classification series. An example of a non-exceptional reclassification would be from an Analyst I to an Analyst II.
  • Exceptional Reclassification Requests
    Exceptional reclassification requests are not part of a normal progression within a series or represent movement from one major employee classification band to a different band. An example of an exceptional request would be Senior Analyst to Principal Analyst or moving from a paraprofessional classification into a professional classification. Manager and Department Director concurrence is mandatory.

General Reclassification Procedures

If an employee believes that their duties and responsibilities have significantly changed and are not covered by their current classification, then the employee shall complete and submit to their supervisor a Request for Reclassification Form. An employee will receive a response within 90 days of submittal.

The immediate supervisor and/or Division Manager shall complete the Reclassification Request Form and make recommendations for approval or denial to the Department Director who shall, after consulting with Human Resources, determine the appropriate classification action within the City Classification System and notify the employee.

  • Non-Exceptional Reclassifications are submitted to Human Resources using the Standard Reclassification Request Form. Supporting documentation may be attached. Department Directors and Division Managers must approve the reclassification.
  • Exceptional Reclassification Requests are submitted to Human Resources and approved by the Reclassification Review Committee. The purpose of this committee is to maintain consistency and integrity within the City's classification system. The committee does not hear appeals.  Human Resources makes the final determination of which requests are Non-exceptional or Exceptional. Contact Human Resources with questions, or review the procedure on the intranet.
  • Minimum Qualifications: An employee whose position is reclassified must meet the minimum combined requirements for education and experience of the new classification.
  • Pay Upon Reclassification: The pay of an employee whose position is assigned to either a higher-level or lower-level classification shall be paid within the band/zone of the new class. Pay shall be commensurate with the employee's applicable education, skills, qualifications and experience.

    For reclassifications implemented during a budget year, pay increases will be absorbed in the Unit's budget without future increases to the baseline. To obtain increases in the baseline, Unit reclassification requests should be included in the next year's budget request and implemented upon approval of funding.
  • Effective Date: Salary increases shall be effective the date the change in duties and responsibilities occurred, retroactive no more than 60 days.

    Loss of License or Certification: An employee who is no longer qualified for the current classification because of the loss of, or failure to obtain, a required license or certification must immediately cease to function under the authority of such license or certification. The employee must provide immediate notice to their supervisor within 24 hours and may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Role of Human Resources

Human Resources shall provide advice and consultation to the departments/divisions on classification of positions. Human Resources is responsible for the design and maintenance of the classification system including, but not limited to the following:

  • The establishment of new classes of work to be added to the classification plan.
  • The assignment of classifications to appropriate bands/zones, taking into consideration organizational structure, level of responsibility, nature and scope of duties, relationship to existing classes and market survey data.
  • The preparation of an annual report identifying all classification changes requested and approved during the year.
  • The periodic review of positions assigned to a job family in order to assure the integrity of the classifications.

Role of the Department Director/Division Manager or Council/Mayoral Appointee

The Department Director/Division Manager or Council/Mayoral Appointee is responsible for maintaining the appropriate classification of the positions assigned to the organization. This involves the following:

  • Assignment of duties and responsibilities to a position.

Review, approval, coordination and implementation of changes in position classification, when the reclassification is to either an existing classification or a new classification, to ensure consistency of classification actions. Department Directors shall be responsible for approving the Request for Reclassification, which shall be evaluated and approved/denied according to reclassification procedures described above.

Policy # 44: Discipline

It is the policy of the City of Colorado Springs to provide a system of discipline which affords an opportunity for the resolution of unsatisfactory employee performance or conduct. The system includes an appeal procedure.

Coverage

The City of Colorado Springs reserves the right to determine the seriousness of an offense and the appropriate level of discipline.

Types of Offenses or Grounds for Discipline

  • Inappropriate conduct (see Policy and Procedure # 35, Standards of Conduct; # 36, Workplace Harassment; # 37, Drugs or Alcohol in the Workplace; # 38, Criminal Charges; # 39, Business Code of Ethics; # 40, Gratuities, Honorariums and Gifts; # 41, Smoking and Sale of Tobacco Products; and # 42, Political Activity).
  • Violations of City policies and procedures.
  • Failure to take corrective action in response to prior discipline or a performance improvement plan.
  • Unsatisfactory job performance (two consecutive performance reviews, no less than 30 days apart, with "Needs Improvement" ratings).

Role of Supervisors/Management

The appropriate level of supervisor and/or manager, as indicated below, is responsible for the following actions:

  • Conduct inquiry into allegations and determine level of investigation.
  • Determine whether employee actions warrant discipline.
  • Determine the appropriate level of discipline.
  • Notify employees in writing of disciplinary action, excluding verbal reprimands.
  • Prepare, in conjunction with the employee, the performance improvement plan, as appropriate.
    Coordinate and conduct disciplinary appeal hearings.
  • Conduct the pre-termination meetings (Division Managers, Department Directors, or Council/Mayoral Appointees) in accordance with Policy and Procedure # 46, Pre-Termination Meeting.

Role of Human Resources

Human Resources shall provide the following support:

Advise supervisors and managers concerning appropriate investigative methodology and disciplinary alternatives.

  • Maintain the record of disciplinary action in the employee’s official personnel file
  • Coordinate and facilitate the peer review process.

Coordinate the recording of all disciplinary appeals.

DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS

Authority: The City reserves the exclusive right to determine the type and level of disciplinary action.

Discipline

Type of Offense

Terms

Subject to Appeal

Verbal Reprimand

Minor incidents of misconduct or policy violations

Imposed by all levels of supervision and management
Informal written record maintained by the immediate supervisor

No

Written Reprimand

Failure to take corrective action
Serious policy violations or incidents of misconduct

Imposed by all levels of supervision and management
Written record maintained in the employee's official personnel file

No. Response to reprimand may be prepared by employee and placed in personnel file within 10 days of issuance. Employee may request removal of reprimand by the Department Director two (2) years from date imposed, as long as no additional discipline has occurred.

Suspension Without Pay

Failure to take corrective action
Serious violations of policy or incidents of misconduct

Imposed by the following levels of management, for time periods indicated:  Division Managers, Deputy Chiefs, Battalion Chiefs and Commanders up to 60 working days/Department Directors up to 90 working days/ Mayor/Council/Mayoral Appointee up to 120 working days.

Personnel Action Form (PAF) required.

Yes-To the Department Director/ Council/Mayoral Appointee.  Suspensions without pay greater than 30 hours may also be appealed to Peer Review. Suspensions without pay will not be removed from an employee’s file for record keeping purposes.

Suspension With Pay

Inability or unwillingness to perform important job functions

Imposed by all levels of supervision and management
One day written and signed Performance Improvement Plan executed by the employee and supervisor required for continued employment.
 Failure to agree may result in additional disciplinary action.
Requires prior review by next higher level of management

No

Reduction in Pay

Serious violations of policy or incidents of misconduct

Imposed by Division Manager, Department Director, Council/Mayoral Appointee or Mayor .
Reductions in salary up to 30 days pay, prorated over an appropriate period of time.
Personnel Action Form (PAF) required.

Yes-To the Department Director/ Council/Mayoral Appointee or Peer Review

Involuntary Demotion

Unsatisfactory job performance
 Disciplinary reasons relating to a serious violation or incident
Ÿ Failure to take corrective action regarding previous discipline

Imposed by Division Manager, Department Ÿ Director, Council/Mayoral Appointee or Mayor
Salary reduced to new classification
Coordinated with the Human Resources Manager 
Other review with the next higher level of management

 Personnel Action Form (PAF) required.

Yes-Supervisors/Managers  who are not at-will may appeal to the Department Director/ Council/Mayoral Appointee.  Any employee not in a supervisory or managerial capacity may appeal to Management or Peer Review.

Termination

Failure to correct unsatisfactory performance identified in a performance improvement plan
Disciplinary reasons relating to a serious violation or incident
Failure to take corrective action regarding previous discipline
Failure to correct problem behavior identified in a performance improvement plan

Imposed by Division Manager, Department Director, Council/Mayoral Appointee or Mayor
Pre-termination meeting required
Severance pay option may be an alternative and can only be granted by the Mayor upon approval of the City Council
Personnel Action Form (PAF) required.

Yes-To the Department Director/ Council/Mayoral Appointee

See Policy and Procedure #45 for Appeal information.

Disclosure Requirements

At the conclusion of the discipline process, all disciplinary actions, except verbal reprimands, require that the employee be notified in writing of the following:

  • Violation or incident
  • Required corrective action
  • Consequences of additional violations or incidents
  • Appeal rights and procedures for filing an appeal

Record Retention of Disciplinary Action

Records of disciplinary action will be maintained and distributed in accordance with the chart below.

Disciplinary Action

Employee

Immediate Supervisor

Division Manager

Department Director
Council/Mayoral Appointee

Human Resources
Personnel File

Verbal Reprimand

 

X

 

 

 

Written Reprimand

X

X

X

X

X

Suspension (With or Without pay)

X

X

X

X

X

Reduction in Pay

X

 

X

X

X

Involuntary Demotion

X

 

X

X

X

Policy # 45: Appeal Procedure

The appeal procedure is available to all regular City and Council/Mayoral Appointee employees who have been disciplined in accordance with Policy and Procedure # 44, Discipline, and are dissatisfied with the disciplinary action. Since some disciplinary actions may not be appealed, Policy and Procedure # 44, Discipline, should be reviewed prior to initiating any appeal.

Time Limits for Appeal

An employee who wants to exercise their appeal rights must complete the City of Colorado Springs Appeal Form and submit it to the appropriate party within 10 working days from the date the employee was informed in writing of the disciplinary action. The appeal hearing will be scheduled within 20 working days.

Appeal procedure time limits may be extended for good cause by the Department Director/ Council/Mayoral Appointee or the Peer Review Panel. Requests for extension and the response to such requests shall be in writing. The employee and the City of Colorado Springs shall each be allowed one reasonable postponement in the proceedings. A reasonable postponement shall not exceed 45 calendar days.

Appeal Options

Employees may appeal to a higher level of management in their department or under certain circumstances to Peer Review. Policy #44, Discipline, should be reviewed to determine which disciplinary actions may be heard by a Peer Review panel.  If the Division Manager issued the discipline, then the employee appeal to management would be heard by the Department Director. If the Department Director issued the discipline, the appeal would be to the Mayor,  or Mayor designee. If the Mayor imposed the discipline, then the employee may appeal to Peer Review or a Council/Mayoral Appointee.

If a Council/Mayoral Appointee employee is disciplined by a supervisor, the management appeal is to the Council/Mayoral Appointee. If the Council/Mayoral Appointee imposed the discipline, the appeal is to an alternate Council/Mayoral Appointee or to Peer Review.

The Appeal Form and Filing

The Appeal Form can be obtained from Human Resources or on the Intranet under Human Resources.

If the employee is appealing to management, the completed appeal form should be given to the Department Director or Council/Mayoral Appointee and a copy to the manager/supervisor who imposed the discipline. If a City employee selects the Peer Review appeal option, the completed appeal form should be given to a Human Resources Manager and a copy to the manager/supervisor who imposed the discipline. If a Council/Mayoral Appointee employee is appealing, the form should be given to the Appointee for appeal to an alternate Council/Mayoral Appointee and to Human Resources for an appeal to Peer Review.

Attendance

  • The employee may be accompanied by another regular employee.
  • Employees may be requested to appear as witnesses. If so requested, employees must attend the hearing.
  • An employee attending the hearing shall receive their normal pay.
  • The City of Colorado Springs will not tolerate reprisal against any employee involved in a hearing.
  • Employees and managers shall prioritize all hearings and adjust schedules to accommodate attendance.

Management Appeal Hearing Procedure

The hearing is administrative in nature and the Colorado Rules of Evidence are inapplicable.

  • The Manager should be prepared to present the facts relating to the termination decision.
  • The employee shall have the opportunity to present evidence and the reasons the disciplinary or termination decision should be changed.
  • The employee may be represented by an attorney.
  • Either party may call witnesses who can provide relevant information
  • Names of employee witnesses should be provided to the Hearing Officer or Facilitator in sufficient time to arrange attendance at the hearing.
  • Supervisor and employee shall present their positions utilizing witnesses, cross-examination, arguments, rebuttal, documents, or other evidence.
  • All hearings will be recorded and kept in Human Resources.
  • The employee shall be notified in writing within the prescribed time limits of the result of the hearing.

Hearing Record

All appeal hearings will be recorded and kept in Human Resources. Transcripts are available upon request, and the cost must be paid by the requesting employee.

Decisions

The decision-making authority hearing the appeal may affirm, deny, or modify (increase or decrease) the previously imposed disciplinary action. All decisions are final and binding and will be rendered in writing within 10 working days of the proceeding.

Records

If the appealed disciplinary action is reduced or overturned, the related documentation in the employee's personnel records will be adjusted accordingly.

Peer Review

The Peer Review Panel will operate under procedures detailed in Policy and Procedure # 48, Peer Review Operating Guidelines.

Policy # 48: Peer Review Operating Guidelines

It is the objective of the City of Colorado Springs to provide timely resolution of disputes involving disciplinary actions.  The Peer Review Process is provided as an alternative to the traditional management review of employee appeals of discipline.

Scope of Authority

The Peer Review Panel has the authority to affirm, modify (increase or decrease), or overturn the disciplinary action. The panel's decision is final and binding.

Questions the Panel may have regarding the correct interpretation of the City of Colorado Springs Policies and Procedures Manual, shall be directed to the Human Resources Manager or designee.

The Peer Review Panel may not hear appeals involving employee allegations of unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. If an employee believes the basis of the disciplinary action is illegal discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, then the employee should follow the appeal procedure set forth in Policy #45, Appeal Procedure.

The Peer Review Panel shall not hear any appeals of termination, appeals of suspension without pay for 30 hours or less, or appeals of involuntary demotions for employees in a supervisory or managerial capacity.  For appeals related to these actions, the employee must comply with Policy #45, Appeal Procedure, and Policy #47, Disciplinary Appeal and Post-Termination Meetings.

Eligibility

This policy will be for all regular, full-time, and part-time City and Council/Mayoral Appointee employees, with the exception of at-will employees.

Procedure

If the Peer Review Panel is selected, the employee must sign a Waiver of Due Process Rights. The initial panel meeting will be held within 20 working days following receipt of the appeal. A final and binding decision will be given in writing the day of the panel hearing, except in unusual circumstances.

  • Time Limits: Managers and employees are encouraged to work together to resolve disputes as quickly as possible. Time limits may be extended for good cause by the Department
  • Director, Council/Mayoral Appointee, Peer Review Panel, or Panel of Appointees. Requests for extension and the response to such requests shall be in writing. The employee and the City of Colorado Springs shall each be allowed one reasonable postponement in the proceedings. A reasonable postponement shall not exceed 45 calendar days.
  • Statute of Limitations: An employee who chooses the Peer Review Option must initiate a request for a Peer Review Panel hearing no later than 10 working days after the employee was notified of the disciplinary action.  

The Peer Review Facilitator

The primary facilitator (or an alternate facilitator if the primary facilitator is unavailable) will coordinate each Peer Review hearing. The role of the facilitator includes keeping the meeting focused on the issue before the panel, administering the oath to witnesses providing testimony, and guiding the panel on issues of evidence admissibility, relevance and cumulative witness testimony. The facilitator does not give opinions on the matter before the panel or vote on its outcome. The individual selected will process paperwork, summon witnesses, handle meeting logistics, and perform related tasks so that the panelists can concentrate on reaching a timely, fair decision. If the Facilitator has a conflict of interest with the case, he/she cannot serve with that panel. The Facilitator has 24 hours to notify the panelists that they've been selected as a panelist.

The Peer Review Panel

Each Peer Review Panel consists of five voting members (three peers and two non-peer employees). All eligible employees and managers (excluding managers at the executive level) will have the option of volunteering to be panelists.  Employees who have been the subject of disciplinary action or who have been on a Performance Improvement Plan or Last Chance Agreement in the preceding 12 months are not eligible to serve as panelists.

A

B

C

NONEXEMPT EMPLOYEES

EXEMPT(NON-MANAGERIAL) EMPLOYEES

MANAGERS

Box A will contain all nonexempt peer employees who are eligible to serve as a panelist.
Box B will contain exempt non-managerial employees who are eligible to serve as a panelist.
Box C will contain all managers who are eligible to serve as a panelist.

Training of new panelist(s) will be coordinated by Human Resources to ensure that the training requirement is satisfied. Employees and managers will be selected to ensure that the pool of panelists represents a cross section of the organization.

Selection Process

  • Nonexempt Employees: The employee will randomly select six names and choose three from Box A. The employee will then randomly select four names from Box C and choose two to serve as panelists and of those not selected, one from each peer and Non-Peer box will serve as an alternate.
  • Exempt (Non-managerial) Employees: The employee will randomly select six names and choose three from Box B. The employee will then randomly select four names from Box C and choose two to serve as panelists and of those not selected, one from each peer and Non-Peer box will serve as an alternate.
  • Managers Below Bands 1 and 2: The employee will randomly select six names and choose three from Box C. The employee will then randomly select four names from Box  A and/or Box B and choose two to serve as panelists and of those not selected, one from each Peer and Non-Peer box will serve as an alternate.  If the employee is a manager or supervisor, the panel members selected from Box C must be in the same Band or higher.

Conflict of Interest

To avoid conflicts of interest, panelists must disqualify themselves from a case in the following circumstances: 1) the panelist is related to any person involved with the appeal (including witnesses), 2) the panelist feels they may not be able to maintain their impartiality because of personal knowledge regarding the facts before the panel, or 3) the panelist has supervised or been in a reporting relationship with the appealing employee and/or the manager issuing the discipline. Under no circumstances is any person forced to serve as a panelist. In the event of someone declining or being disqualified after the manager's review, the facilitator will contact the employee, and he/she will select two more names from the box from which the panelist declined and choose one to replace the panelist.

Other Relevant Information

Panelists and facilitators are certified after completing a special training course. They shall maintain complete confidentiality at all times, except in cases where information regarding illegal conduct or information that is damaging to the organization is discovered through the Peer Review Process.

If they wish, employees can receive assistance in utilizing the process from Human Resources. The person who is filing the appeal must go before the panelists without legal representation. Witnesses must appear before the panel alone.

Scheduling the Meeting

Managers, employees and other witnesses will prioritize the meeting and timely adjust schedules to accommodate the meeting, as feasible.

The Peer Review Meeting

The panel will interview the employee filing the appeal, the supervisor, and any other witnesses with relevant information about the case. If both the employee and the supervisor agree, both parties may be present during witness testimony for the entire peer review hearing.  The supervisor and the employee may not call witnesses; may not cross-examine, argue or rebut witness testimony or evidence; may not direct statements or questions to the panel; and may not be present during panel deliberations.  However, both the supervisor and the employee will have the opportunity to give closing statements prior to deliberations. If employees are requested to appear as witnesses by the panel, they are required to appear. All witnesses providing testimony will take an oath before testifying.  If any employee is found to have knowingly provided false or misleading testimony, that employee is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination, and may also face criminal charges. In all cases, employees shall receive their normal pay and not be subject to reprisal. The employee/supervisor has the right to bring any pertinent information to the hearing. The Panel may request explanation of legal matters from the City Attorney's Office. After all evidence has been reviewed, the panel will vote by secret ballot to affirm, modify, or deny the employee's proposed remedy. Votes are counted until three like votes are found, then all votes are destroyed. Each panelist agrees in advance to sign the final decision form, regardless of his/her personal feelings about the case, and to treat all information as confidential.

The employee and the supervisor/manager will be notified in writing of the panel's decision the day of the hearing, except in unusual circumstances, but no later than 10 working days after the conclusion of the panel hearing.

Appeal record files are confidential, and will be maintained separately from the employee's personnel files by Human Resources, except in cases where a disciplinary action was upheld or modified. In these cases, the disciplinary action, or modified disciplinary action will be placed in the employee's personnel file along with the summary of the panel. Access to this file will be managed by Human Resources. These records will be accessible only on a "need-to-know" basis. By written request from the employee, a copy of an appeal and related response(s) may be placed in the employee's personnel file.

Appeal hearings before Peer Review Panels will be recorded and the tapes kept by Human Resources.

Responsibilities

  • Any employee filing an appeal is responsible for following established Peer Review Panel procedures, respecting the rights, obligations, and confidentiality of all others involved in this procedure and seeking a fair resolution to the issue.
  • Panelists are responsible for conducting thorough investigations, for making consistent judgments on appeals, maintaining confidentiality, and for following the "Code of Ethics" (Attachment B).
  • The Facilitator will have responsibility for scheduling meetings, contacting panelists and providing all necessary resources to conduct the meeting. The Facilitator will also open and record the Panelists' ballots until a majority decision is recorded, will ask the panel to sign the appeal form, and deliver the decision to the employee and manager/supervisor. After reviewing all relevant information, the Facilitator is responsible for issuing a confidential summary of the case. The anonymous summary (with involved names removed) will be made accessible to future Panelists. The Facilitator is responsible for conveying information of a harmful or illegal nature to management. The facilitator will, in concert with the City Attorney's Office, assure the legality of the findings of the Peer Review Panel.
  • The Human Resources Department is responsible for proper and consistent administration of this policy.
  • All personnel involved in appeal reviews and investigations are responsible for maintaining confidentiality of information. Any violation of this confidential information will result in disqualification from future panels and possible disciplinary action and/or legal liability.

City of Colorado Springs may choose not to provide the employee with legal representation if the legal action is taken by an employee against a panelist for violating confidentiality surrounding Peer Review proceedings.

Policy # 4: Separation

Types of Separation

  • Resignation: A resignation is a voluntary separation from employment. An employee is expected to provide written notice a minimum of 10 working days prior to the effective date of the resignation.
  • Retirement: Retirement is a voluntary separation from employment for reasons of age and service or medical condition for which the employee receives an immediate annuity. To be considered retired an employee must have made application for retirement prior to the date of separation.
  • Termination: A termination is an involuntary separation from employment. If a supervisor/manager is considering termination of a regular employee, a pre-termination meeting must be held in accordance with Policy and Procedure #46, Pre-Termination Meeting. If it is determined by the immediate supervisor that an employee is not suited for a position during the initial probationary period, the employee may be terminated with approval of the Department Director.  At the discretion of Department Director/Division Manager or Council/Mayoral Appointee, regular employees, who are in a probationary period as a result of a change in classification or transfer to another position in the same classification, may be placed in a vacant position in the former classification with the commensurate salary.
  • Reduction in Force: If for any reason, including but not limited to, budget or operational considerations, the City determines that it is necessary to have a reduction in workforce, policies and procedures, appropriate for the circumstances, will be developed and distributed at the time. Employees identified in the reduction in workforce will be considered under the policies and procedures promulgated at the time.

Out-Processing

 

VACATION

SICK LEAVE

COBRA
(medical, dental, vision, and EAP coverage)

SPECIAL PROCEDURE

Resignation

Pay for all accrued, unused vacation at base salary rate

No payment

Notice mailed within 14 days of date of separation

See steps listed below

Retirement for those employees eligible for sick leave accrual on or before 12/31/10

Pay for all accrued, unused vacation at base salary rate

Pay ½ of accrued sick leave hours in excess of 480 hours* to the RHS plan

Notice mailed within 14 days of date of separation

Notify PERA 60 days in advance of retirement; see steps listed below

Retirement for those employees hired or rehired after 12/31/10

Pay for all accrued, unused vacation at base salary rate

No payment

Notice mailed within 14 days of date of separation

Notify PERA 60 days in advance of retirement; see steps listed below

Termination

Pay for all accrued, unused vacation at base salary rate

No payment

Notice mailed within 14 days of date of separation

See steps listed below

*Employees in the At-Will Senior Manager Benefit program should refer to Policy #62.

The supervisor should complete the following steps when an employee is separating:

  • Complete the Personnel Action Form and send to Payroll as soon as possible to ensure timely preparation of final paycheck. The final paycheck for separating employees shall be available for pickup the next regularly scheduled payday.
  • Collect all City property including, but not limited to credit cards, tools, keys, laptop computers, files, pagers, identification badge, etc.
  • Verify whether repayment to the City is required because of educational assistance reimbursement.

Payment if Employee is Deceased

Any payment due to a deceased employee will be paid to the employee’s estate.

Exit Program

All regular employees separating due to resignation or retirement and all probationary or special employees separating due to resignation or termination will be given the option to complete an exit questionnaire and attend an exit interview with a member of Human Resources staff.

  • The Human Resources Contact from the separating employee’s department is responsible for providing the employee with the Exit Questionnaire and information on how to schedule the Human Resources Exit Interview
  • The departing employee should be granted duty time to complete the Exit Questionnaire and Exit Interview if operational needs allow,
  • Employee questionnaire and interview results will be compiled in a management report wherein employees are not identified; and
  • If information received suggests a violation of policy or law, the situation will be looked into and, if necessary, corrective action taken.

References

Policy and Procedure #46, Pre-Termination Meeting; #2, Employment, Conditions of Employment, PERA Retirement Brochures

Policy # 46: Pre-Termination Meeting

No regular City or other Council/Mayoral Appointee employee shall be terminated without being afforded a pre-termination meeting.

Management Responsibility

The Department Director/Division Manager or Council/Mayoral Appointee shall schedule and conduct the pre-termination meeting. In cases where the Department Director/Division Manager is unavailable or unusual circumstances create a conflict of interest, the employee will meet with the next highest level. If a Council/Mayoral Appointee is unavailable or circumstances create a conflict of interest, another Council/Mayoral Appointee shall be designated to serve in this capacity.

Notice Requirements

The employee shall be provided advance written notice of the meeting that shall include the following:

  • Purpose of the meeting.
  • General statement of allegations.
  • Proposed action to be taken.
  • Assurance that the employee will have the opportunity to respond to the allegation and the evidence.

Procedure

The meeting is an internal matter to be determined by the City.

  • The Director/Manager should be prepared to state the facts relating to the possible termination.
  • The employee shall have the opportunity to respond to the allegations and present evidence and the reasons the decision to terminate should not be finalized.
  • Either party may submit a list of individuals who have relevant information.
  • All pre-termination meetings will be recorded.

Attendance

  • The employee may be accompanied by another regular employee.
  • An employee attending the hearing shall receive their normal pay.
  • The employee may have an attorney present, but the attorney may not participate in the proceeding.

Meeting Record

All pre-termination meetings will be recorded. Transcripts are available upon request from Human Resources; however, the cost must be paid by the employee making the request. The City of Colorado Springs will not tolerate reprisal against any employee involved in a pre-termination meeting.

Decision

Following the pre-termination meeting, the Department Director/Division Manager or Council/Mayoral Appointee may conduct further investigation and request additional information from any or all of the parties. After consideration of the evidence, the decision-maker will make one of the following decisions:

  • To terminate
  • To impose the discipline
  • To eliminate the discipline
  • To accept resignation

The decision shall be communicated in writing to the employee with a copy to Human Resources for inclusion in the employee's personnel file.

Policy # 47: Disciplinary Appeal and Post Termination Hearings

Regular full-time and part-time City and Council/Mayoral Appointee employees in Bands 3 through 6 are entitled to a due process hearing following disciplinary action subject to appeal as specified in Policy and Procedure # 44, Discipline, and involuntary demotions as defined in Policy and Procedure # 3, Employment Changes.

Attendance

  • The employee may be accompanied by another regular employee.
  • Employees may be requested to appear as witnesses. If so requested, employees must attend the hearing.
  • An employee attending the hearing shall receive their normal pay.
  • The City of Colorado Springs will not tolerate reprisal against any employee involved in a hearing.
  • Employees and managers shall prioritize all hearings and adjust schedules to accommodate attendance.

Procedure

The hearing is administrative in nature and the Colorado Rules of Evidence are inapplicable.

  • The Manager should be prepared to present the facts relating to the termination decision.
  • The employee shall have the opportunity to present evidence and the reasons the disciplinary or termination decision should be changed.
  • The employee may be represented by an attorney.
  • Either party may call witnesses.
  • Names of employee witnesses should be provided to the Hearing Officer or Facilitator in sufficient time to arrange attendance at the hearing.
  • Supervisor and employee shall present their positions utilizing witnesses, cross-examination, arguments, rebuttal, documents, or other evidence.
  • All hearings will be recorded and kept in Human Resources.

The employee shall be notified in writing within the prescribed time limits of the result of the hearing.

Policy # 5 Personnel Records

Official employee records shall be maintained in City of Colorado Springs Human Resources. The employee shall receive a copy of all material that is forwarded for inclusion in the employee's record. Employees may review, and upon request, receive a copy of any information in their record.

Internal Accessibility

Unless otherwise directed by court order, only administrative, management, supervisory personnel with a need to know, or person in-interest may review an employee's personnel file.

Employees who want a copy of their personnel file must submit a request to Human Resources and pay the same charge per page as paid for external requests.

External Accessibility

  • Open Records Act: Personnel records shall be released in accordance with the Open Records Act.
  • Employee References: External release of employment information shall be limited to the dates of employment, classification history, and salary information, unless authorized in a release executed by the employee. Any requests for additional information should be directed to Human Resources and will be handled in accordance with applicable state laws.

Changes in Personal Information

Employees are responsible for notifying their Department Director/Division Manager or Council/Mayoral Appointee and Human Resources within five (5) working days of any change in name, address and/or telephone number. Human Resources will forward information to Payroll.  Employees are encouraged to update any changes in their personal information through the Employee Self-Service System.

References: Policy and Procedure # 52, Open Records Act Compliance