Policy Manual

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    Policy No.: Resolution 16-112 Effective: 09/06/2016
    Revision No.: Review Date: xx/xx/xx
    Advisory Boards and Committees Guidelines

    OVERVIEW:   It shall be the policy of the Board of County Commissioners of Alachua County, Florida, that these Guidelines shall provide direction for the creation of new advisory boards and committees, the membership of advisory boards and committees, and the conduct of advisory boards and committees.  It is the intent of the Board of County Commissioners that these Guidelines completely supersede any previous policies or guidelines concerning advisory boards and committees. 
    PROVISIONS:
    Except as provided in the authorizing ordinances or resolutions of specific advisory boards and committees, these Guidelines should provide direction for advisory boards and committees.
    "Advisory boards or committees" are those bodies created by the Board of County Commissioners, whether entitled "board," "committee," "commission," "council," or the like, which are established by and have authority only to advise the Board of County Commissioners rather than to establish policies or make decisions for the Board of County Commissioners.
    I.                   Creation of Advisory Boards and Committees.
    Advisory boards and committees should be created by resolution of the Board of County Commissioners.  Resolutions creating advisory boards and committees should include, at a minimum:
    (a)               Legislative findings.
    (b)               Express creation of the advisory board or committee.
    (c)                Purpose and duties of the advisory board or committee.
    (d)              Designation as “standing” (continuing until dissolved) or “special” (continuing until a specified sunset date).
    (e)               Membership qualifications.
    (f)                Staggered terms for initial appointment (especially for standing advisory boards and committees).
    (g)               Provisions for operations of the advisory board or committee.
     
    II.                Membership on Advisory Boards and Committees.
     
    (1)               Appointments.  The Board of County Commissioners will appoint the members of advisory boards and committees.  Appointments will be made from applications of qualified potential members during a regular Board of County Commissioners meeting.
     
    (2)               Regular Members.  Advisory boards and committees should have an odd number of regular members.
     
    (3)               Alternate Members.  All advisory boards and committees should have at least one alternate member.  Attendance requirement detailed below applies to alternate members, as well as regular members.  An alternate member shall serve in place of an absent regular member, and shall have all rights and responsibilities of the absent regular member, including the right to vote.
     
    (4)               Attendance.  Advisory board and committee members should regularly attend all meetings of their respective advisory boards and committees.  Any regular or alternate member whose attendance is less than 50% of the last 6 consecutive meetings shall automatically be removed from the advisory board or committee.  Staff liaisons shall notify members by US mail, by email or through attendance reports when they are approaching removal due to lack of attendance.
     
    (5)               Quorum.  A quorum for an advisory board or committee is the number of members which constitute the majority of all regular positions which are currently filled.  Alternate members may make up a quorum.  When less than a quorum is present at a meeting, the advisory board or committee may meet in a workshop setting, during which no vote may be taken.  These workshops must be open to the public and minutes must be taken.
     
    (6)               Hold-overs.  Advisory board and committee members may continue to serve following the expirations of their terms until the Board of County Commissioners fills the position which would be vacated.
     
    (7)               Removals.  Advisory board and committee members serve at the pleasure of the Board of County Commissioners.  Any board or committee member may be removed for good cause by the Board of County Commission after consideration of the issue at a Board meeting.

     
    III.             Conduct of Advisory Boards and Committees.
    (1)               Governing Rules.  Except as may be provided by these Rules or by law, questions of order, the methods of organization and the conduct of business of the advisory boards and committees shall be governed by The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure (formerly known as Sturgis Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure) in all cases for which they are applicable
     
    (2)               Open to the Public.
     
    a.                  Meetings Open to Public.  All meetings of advisory boards and committees shall be open to the public in accordance with the Florida Government in the Sunshine Law, Section 286.011, Florida Statutes (Fla. Stat.).  Advisory board and committee members should consult their staff liaisons with any questions regarding open meetings or to request a presentation on the Florida Sunshine Law.
    b.                  Signs, Placards, Banners.  For public safety purposes, no signs or placards mounted on sticks, posts, poles or similar structures shall be allowed in advisory board and committee meeting rooms.  Other signs, placards, banners or other similar items shall not disrupt meetings or interfere with others’ visual rights.
    c.                   Persons with Disabilities.  All persons with disabilities shall be provided with the assistance necessary to enable them to effectively participate in advisory boards and committee meetings, consistent with Section 286.26, Fla. Stat.
     
    (3)               Public Comment.  Members of the public shall be given a reasonable opportunity to be heard on a proposition before advisory boards and committees.  The opportunity to be heard need not occur at the same meeting at which an advisory board or committee takes official action on the proposition if the opportunity occurs at a meeting that is during the decision making process and is within reasonable proximity in time before the meeting at which the advisory board or committee takes the official action.[1]
     
    (4)               Voting Conflicts. 
     
    No member of an advisory board or committee shall vote on a matter when the member has a voting conflict of interest as specified in Section 112.3143 or Section 286.012, Fla. Stat.  Prior to participating in a discussion, members abstaining from voting due to a voting conflict shall publically announce the conflict, shall disclose the nature of their conflict, and file a written memorandum (Ethic’s Commission Form 8A or 8B) to the staff liaison. 
     
    If a member recognizes that a voting conflict exists during the course of a discussion, the member shall immediately publically announce the conflict, disclose the nature of the conflict and abstain from voting.  Within 15 calendar days following that advisory board or committee meeting, the member shall file a written memorandum (Ethic’s Commission Form 8A and 8B) with the staff liaison. 
     
    The written memorandum shall be incorporated into the meeting minutes as an exhibit.  Advisory board and committee members who believe that they may have a voting conflict should consult their board or committee’s staff liaison before the meeting at which members will be asked to vote on an item upon which they may have a conflict.
     
    (5)               Work Plans and Reports of Accomplishments.  Advisory boards and committees shall prepare and update work plans and reports of accomplishments annually.  Work plans and reports of accomplishments should be on-file with staff liaisons by October 1 of each year.  Staff liaisons shall submit advisory board and committee work plans and reports of accomplishments to the Board of County Commissioners.  Advisory board and committee chairpersons are encouraged to present the work plans and reports of accomplishments to the Board of County Commissioners at a Board meeting.  The Board of County Commissioners encourages and welcomes issues of the advisory board and committees’ own initiative to be brought to the attention of the Board of County Commissioners.
     
    (6)               Public Records.  The public has the right to access public records.  Public records are:
     
    “all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings, data processing software, or other material, regardless of the physical form, characteristics, or means of transmission, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any agency.” Sec. 119.011(12), Fla. Stat.
     
    Most records created by or provided to advisory boards and committees, or their members in their capacity as members, are public records which must be made available to a person requesting them.  There are many exceptions for records or for certain information contained in those records.  Advisory board and committee members should consult their staff liaisons with any questions regarding public records or to request a presentation on the Florida Public Records Law.
     
    (7)               Coordination with Other Governments.  Advisory boards and committees should, when appropriate, coordinate with other local governments and boards or committees created by other local governments.  To protect the public’s right to participate in open meetings, this coordination shall be effected through the respective staff liaison or the advisory board or committee chairperson (or designee).
     
    (8)               Prohibited Remote Voting by a Member.  A member may participate in a discussion but no member shall cast a vote via telephone or video/audio appearance. 
     
    IV.             Staff Liaisons.  A staff liaison is a county staff member whose duty is to help to administer the meetings of the advisory boards or committees and to serve as a link between the advisory board, the County Manager, the County Attorney and the Board of County Commissioners.  The staff liaison’s tasks are:
    (1)               Publicly noticing the advisory board or committee meeting and reserving the meeting room.
    (2)               Reminding members of an up-coming meeting.
    (3)               Ensuring that all persons with disabilities are provided with the assistance necessary to enable them to effectively participate in the meetings.
    (4)               Preparing the agenda and agenda backup materials, and providing copies of the materials to members.
    (5)               Introducing new members to the board or committee and informing new members of the rules and process which governs the board or committee.
    (6)               Ensuring that minutes of the meetings are kept.
    (7)               Keeping attendance records of the meetings.
    (8)               Maintaining public records of the board or committee.
    (9)               Providing the work plans and reports of accomplishments to the Board of County Commissioners annually.
    Staff liaisons may perform a task not listed above if requested by an advisory board or committee if the task takes the staff liaison 30 minutes or less to perform.  If the task takes more than 30 minutes, the staff liaison may perform the task if the staff liaison’s department director preauthorizes the work.
    V.                Construction of These Guidelines.
    These Guidelines provide direction only.  No action taken inconsistent with these Guidelines shall be invalid solely because it was taken inconsistent with these Guidelines.


    [1] Consistent with Section 286.0114, Fla. Stat. (2015).
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Disciplinary Policy

Policy No.: 9-2 Effective: 05/08/12
Revision No.: 2 Review Date: 05/08/13

OVERVIEW: The disciplinary policy is established to secure cooperation in and orderliness of operations, safeguard optimum working conditions, correct unsatisfactory performance and improper behavior, provide for equitable treatment of employees and maximize productivity through efficient and effective management.

SCOPE: This policy applies to all classified employees of the Board of County Commissioners.

PROVISIONS:

  1. Intent. The disciplinary policy shall be administered in a progressive and constructive manner.
    1. The severity of the disciplinary action shall be related to the gravity of the offense, the employee’s record of prior disciplinary actions and the employee’s length of service.
    2. Nothing in this policy is intended to create additional property or procedural rights for employees beyond those rights guaranteed by federal and state law, unless such a provision is clearly labeled as a right of the employee.
    3. The intent of these procedures is to provide the employee fair notice of the alleged offenses, the basis for the allegations, the proposed discipline and a fair opportunity for the employee's side of the story to be heard by the deciding official.

  2. Guidelines for Disciplinary Actions. Progressive discipline shall be defined as more severe discipline administered for repeated violations of the same group of offenses or similar offenses.
    1. The list of offenses warranting discipline is not all inclusive and shall be used as a guide.
    2. Any improper behavior or performance not specifically enumerated in a departmental disciplinary policy or detailed in these Employee Policies shall be treated as similar listed offenses would be treated.
    3. Each department director shall be responsible for developing written departmental disciplinary policies unique to, and necessary for, the efficient and safe operation of the department.
    4. Departmental policies shall be used in addition to the guidelines in these Employee Policies, and shall be approved by the Administrating Official.
    5. The guidelines for handling disciplinary actions are divided into three groups to reflect the degree of severity of offenses.
    6. In any case where the penalty is reduced from the penalty proposed, the reason for such modification shall be noted in writing.
    7. No penalty higher than the proposed penalty or discipline for offenses other than those listed in the Notice of Proposed Discipline and lesser included offenses may be imposed. To do so requires canceling the proposed action and re-initiating a new action proposing the higher penalty or the different offenses. If the supervisor learns of additional offenses while a disciplinary action is pending, the supervisor should consult with the Human REsources Office and the County Attorney's Office before proceeding further.
    8. When major discipline is proposed and with the Administrating Official’s approval, the department director may place the employee on administrative leave with pay, until the disciplinary action is complete, when the employee’s presence:
      1. Creates a continuing danger to persons or property; and/or
      2. Interrupts orderly operations of the work unit.
      3. The department director may recommend administrative leave without pay only if the employee is first given notice and an opportunity to be heard regarding the leave without pay.
  3. Formal Disciplinary Action
    1. The supervisor initiating any formal disciplinary action must notify the Human Resources Office and the County Attorney’s Office before presenting an employee with a Notice of Proposed Disciplinary Action or a Notice of Disciplinary Action (Appendix C).
    2. Normally, action is proposed by a supervisor at one level and decided by a supervisor at a higher level after the applicable process is followed. The department director may delegate in writing the authority to propose and to decide disciplinary actions less than termination to lower level supervisory authority.
    3. Unless he or she is the official initiating the discipline, the department director's initial ona Notice of proposed Discipline simply signify an awareness of the proposed discipline, not a judgment about it or a determination about the evidence.
    4. The official who decides the discipline shall inform the employee of all rights of appeal and/or grievance.
    5. Written Instruction and Warning.
      1. The supervisor shall provide the employee a written Notice of Disciplinary Action. No notice of proposed action or pre-disciplinary hearing is required for a formal warning.
      2. Receipt of the notice shall be acknowledged by the employee or witnessed.
      3. The original Notice of Disciplinary Action shall be forwarded to the Human Resources Office for inclusion in the employee’s personnel record.
      4. Certain single acts of serious misconduct or unsatisfactory performance may be the basis for a formal warning without earlier documented interventions.
    6. Suspension.
      1. The employee shall be provided a written Notice of Proposed Disciplinary Action, indicating a suspension without pay is proposed.
      2. The employee shall have the opportunity for a pre-disciplinary hearing.
      3. The department director or designee shall determine the length of suspension within the guidelines of these Employee Policies. For any offense justifying termination, the department director may impose a suspension of up to 15 days without pay, or longer with the approval of the Administrating Official in lieu of termination.
      4. Notwithstanding any other policy provision, exempt employees shall not be suspended without pay for a period of less than one work week, except for instances of serious safety violations or serious workplace misconduct.
    7. Demotion.
      1. The supervisor proposing a demotion shall provide the employee a written Notice of Proposed Disciplinary Action, indicating a demotion is proposed
      2. The employee shall have the opportunity for a pre-disciplinary hearing.
    8. Termination. An employee shall be terminated only for just cause and after appropriate investigation in accordance with these Employee Policies.
      1. The supervisor proposing termination shall provide the employee a written Notice of Proposed Disciplinary Action, indicating termination is proposed.
      2. The employee shall have the opportunity for a pre-disciplinary hearing.

  4. Disciplinary Process
    1. Written Notice
      1. The supervisor will give the employee a Notice of Proposed Disciplinary Action (Appendix C) containing the following:
        1. The specific accusations/charges against the employee;
        2. The facts supporting these accusations/charges;
        3. An explanation of the exact reasons and circumstances of the incident(s);
        4. Explanation of other factors such as counseling or other disciplinary action prior to the proposed disciplinary action;
        5. Explanation that future occurrences may result in cumulative and progressive discipline; and
        6. A date and time for a hearing with the department director or designee to allow the employee the opportunity to address the accusations/charges.
      2. Receipt of the Notice of Proposed Disciplinary Action shall be acknowledged by the employee or witnessed. The employee shall be given a minimum of five working (Monday-Friday, less County holidays) days to review the Notice of Proposed Disciplinary Action before the pre-disciplinary hearing is held.
    2. Pre-Disciplinary Hearing
      1. The employee shall have the opportunity for a hearing with the employee’s supervisor and department director or designee to review the basis for the proposed disciplinary action, without unreasonable delay and after a reasonable period of time to prepare for the hearing. Except as specifically stated in these Employee Policies or under unusual circumstances that will be explained in the record of the hearing, or at the written request or with the written consent of the employee, five working days is normally a reasonable period of time between providing notice of the proposed discipline and conducting the pre-disciplinary hearing.
      2. In cases of proposed termination, the department director shall conduct the pre-disciplinary hearing.
      3. At the hearing, the employee may explain his or her version of the facts, and present written documentation and witnesses, but is not entitled to cross-examine witnesses. County employees with relevant information are required to testify at the request of the County representative or the employee facing discipline.
      4. The department director or designee shall make a written summary of the hearing.
      5. If the employee chooses not to respond and/or attend the hearing after proper notice, the department director or designee shall take action on the available information.
    3. Decision on Discipline.
      1. The decision of the department director or designee to impose discipline will be documented in a Notice of Disciplinary Action (Appendix C) containing the reasons for the action and the employee’s right of appeal or grievance.
a. In cases of proposed termination, the department director shall conduct the pre-disciplinary hearing, and shall be responsible for providing the employee the final Notice of Disciplinary Action.
b. A copy of the Notice of Disciplinary Action shall be furnished to the employee, receipt of which will be acknowledged or witnessed in writing. The original Notice of Disciplinary Action shall be forwarded to the Human Resources Office for inclusion in the employee's personnel record.
ii) If, following the pre-disciplinary hearing, the department director or designee finds that a proposed offense is not proven, but a similar and included offense in a lower category is proven based on all the evidence, and the department director or designee finds that, under the circumstances, the employee received a fair notice and opportunity to be heard on the lower offense, the department director or designee may impose discipline based on finding the employee has committed the lower offense, even though it was not specified in the Notice of Proposed Discipline.