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Civil Service Commission Rules and Regulations

Suspension, Demotion or Termination - Appeal & Hearing

Policy Number: 7.6.14

Effective Date: March 16, 2007

  1. An employee who wishes to appeal a suspension, demotion or termination may appeal to the Commission. A written appeal on the Employee’s Appeal Form available from the Commission shall be filed within 10 business days after receipt of the Notice of Disciplinary Action. The day of receipt is not counted. An appeal not on the Employee Appeal Form will not be accepted for filing.
    1. An appeal filed after the deadline is null and void and shall not be accepted for filing by the Commission.
    2. The appeal shall be styled “Employee versus the office or department” and not the elected/appointed official or department head.
    3. An employee cannot file an appeal of a disciplinary action occurring during an employee’s probationary period.
  2. The Civil Service Coordinator will request a response from the office or department. A response by the office or department should be made on the Department Response Form and filed in 10 business days. The day of receipt is not counted.

Hearing Procedures

Setting the Matter for Hearing

  1. The Commission will set the matter for hearing.
  2. The order of priority of appeals before the Commission is terminations, demotions and suspensions.

Notice of Hearing

  1. The employee must keep the Commission informed of their current address.
  2. The Commission will notify all parties of the hearing date, time and location. This notice will be given at least two weeks prior to the date of the hearing. A letter sent by certified mail to the last known address of the employee will constitute notice.

Attendance at the Hearing

  1. The employee must be present at the hearing and may represent themselves or be represented by another person. The employee should notify the Commission of the selection of a representative and who the representative will be. Any representative shall act as the spokesperson for the employee during the appeal process.
  2. If the employee is not present at the time of hearing, the Commission shall dismiss the appeal and enter a written order to that effect.
  3. The office or department must be present through the elected official, department head or representative.

Hearing

  1. Two Commissioners is a quorum which allows a hearing to proceed.
  2. The Commission has the authority to administer oaths to all witnesses. Once sworn, witnesses will be subject to penalties for perjury.
  3. At the beginning of the hearing, the disciplinary action shall be read including the date of occurrence and the rule or policy violated from the Department Response Form.
  4. The hearing shall be open to the public unless the employee notified the Commission in writing prior to the hearing date that the employee wishes the hearing to be closed.
  5. The office or department has the burden of proof and of going forward at the hearing.
  6. Either party may invoke “The Rule.” Texas Rule of Evidence 613 which means that all witnesses, excluding the office or department representative and the employee, will not be allowed to remain in the hearing and no witness shall discuss their testimony with other witnesses.
  7. Each party may make a brief opening statement to the Commission. The office or department will go first, followed by the employee.
  8. The office or department will present their witnesses first and has an opportunity to present rebuttal witnesses.
  9. The employee will present their witnesses second and be allowed to respond to the office or department.
  10. Each side may call witnesses and will be allowed to cross-examine each other’s witnesses.
  11. The Commission may ask any questions necessary of any party or witness or recall any witness if necessary for clarification.
  12. Any witness may be released by the Commission after giving testimony.
  13. Five copies of any document must be submitted.
  14. Each side shall have an opportunity to make a closing statement to the Commission. The office or department shall make the first closing statement followed by the employee. The office or department may choose to make a short rebuttal after the closing statement of the employee.
  15. The Commission may recess to deliberate in executive session.
  16. If an executive session is held, the Commission shall reconvene in open session and make a decision. The Commission may choose to deny the appeal and uphold the disciplinary action, impose a lesser penalty than the one taken by the office or department and may include an award of back pay, or overturn the disciplinary action. The Commission is not limited in the length of time a suspension may last.
  17. If the employee is to receive back pay by order of the Commission, the employee shall receive full compensation at the rate of pay that was provided for their position at the time of their appeal or the amount of compensation considered fair by the Commission. Should the office or department refuse to reinstate the employee as ordered by the Commission, the employee shall be entitled to their full salary just as though they had been reinstated as ordered.
  18. A written order shall be entered which clearly states whether the action will be upheld, dismissed or reduced. Such order shall be signed by the members of the commission who made the decision and sent to all parties.

Copy of the Record

A tape recording of all hearings will be on file in the Human Resources office. A copy will be provided upon request as permitted by law and payment of all costs in advance.

Appeal to District Court

Pursuant to chapter 158 of the Texas Local Government Code, an employee who on final decision by the Commission is demoted, suspended or removed from the employee’s position may appeal the Commission’s decision in district court within thirty (30) days of the date of the decision.