PUBLIC NOTICES

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ORDINANCE NO. 013-21
AN ORDINANCE APPROVING AND ADOPTING AMENDMENTS TO THE PERSONNEL POLICIES AND PROCEDURES MANUAL

OF THE CITY OF OPELIKA, ALABAMA

WHEREAS, the City of Opelika, Alabama, (the “City”) has previously adopted general provisions pertaining to personnel rules and regulations, including, but not limited to, staffing, separations, disciplinary actions, grievance procedures, compensation and employee benefits, which are set forth in the “Personnel Policies and Procedures of the City of Opelika” (hereinafter referred to as the “Personnel Manual”); and

WHEREAS, City staff has recommended to the City Council that the Personnel Manual be updated at the present time to provide for additional and revised policies and procedures pertaining to the administration of City employees and personnel; and

WHEREAS, the City Council realizes that periodic adjustments must be made to the Personnel Manual must be made in order to keep the manual current and consistent with state and federal labor and employment law requirements as well as policies, procedures, guidelines, rules and regulations established by the City on the local level for employees; and

WHEREAS, the City Council has determined that it is in the best interest of the public health, safety and general welfare to amend the Personnel Manual at this time as recommended by City staff to update the policies, procedures, guidelines, rules and regulations.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED, by the City Council (the “Council”) of the City of Opelika, Alabama (the “City”) as follows:

Section 1.  Amendments.  That the Personnel Manual of the City of Opelika, adopted on November 19, 2002, as previously amended, is further amended in the following respects:

(a) That Section 1.7 is amended to read as follows:

1.7 Equal Employment Opportunity

The City will provide equal employment opportunity to all individuals and will employ applicants on the basis of their job-related qualifications and performance potential without regard to race, color, sex, gender identification or expression, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital status, genetic information, pregnancy or any other characteristic prohibited by law (except where age, sex, or disability constitutes a bona fide occupational qualification).                 

(b) That Section 1.12.1 is hereby amended to read as follows:

1.12.1     Nepotism

No individual will be employed by the city in the classified, part-time, temporary, or contractual service, if he would be subject to administrative or supervisory control by a member of his immediate family.  For this purpose, immediate family will be interpreted to include an individual’s spouse, parent, child, brother, sister, grandparent, grandchild, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, and the like relationship of the individual’s spouse. Individuals who are employed in such situations at the time of adoption of this provision will be exempt from its restriction. In the event that such situation would be created because two (2) employees elect to be married, one or both employees may transfer to any non-conflicting comparable vacant position if he or she is qualified and such transfer is approved by the Mayor. If such transfer is not possible, or is not approved, one of the employees will be required to resign. If one of the employees does not resign, the Mayor will initiate action to dismiss one of them.

(c) That the first paragraph of Section 2.1.3 is hereby amended to read as follows:

2.1.3 Harassment Policy

It is the policy of the City of Opelika to provide a work environment free from all forms of harassment. The City of Opelika does not tolerate harassment of employees and others based on or related to, race, color, sex, gender identification or expression, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital status, genetic information, pregnancy or any other characteristic prohibited by law. This policy applies to the actions of Department Heads, Division Managers, Supervisors, co-workers, independent contractors and any other individual who comes into contact with an employee while an employee is performing his job duties. Department Heads, Division Managers, Supervisors and employees who violate this policy are subject to severe discipline, including termination of employment.

(d) That Section 2.1.3(C) is hereby amended to read as follows:

(C) Race, Color, Sex, Religion, National Origin, Age and Disability Harassment

(1)  Race, color, sex, gender identification or expression, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital status, genetic information, and pregnancy harassment is defined as unwelcome statements, name-calling or other verbal or physical conduct based upon an employee’s race, color, sex, gender identification or expression, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital status, genetic information, or pregnancy when any of the following occurs:

(a)  Submission to such conduct is made a term or condition of an individual’s continued employment, promotion or other condition of employment;

(b)  Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting an employee or job applicant; or

(c)  Such conduct is intended to interfere or results in interference with an employee’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

(2)  Prohibited actions include but are not limited to: use of derogatory terms or descriptions of an individual or group of individuals based on race, color, sex, gender identification or expression, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital status, genetic information, pregnancy or any other characteristic prohibited by law; stating stereotypical classifications concerning the race, color, sex, gender identification or expression, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital status, genetic information, pregnancy or any other characteristic prohibited by law  of an employee or group of employees; display of signs, pictures, cartoons, written statements or other material that denigrates or discriminates against any employee(s) based on the employee’s  race, color, sex, gender identification or expression, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital status, genetic information, pregnancy, or any other characteristic prohibited by law ; and general harassment, pushing, shoving or other intentional acts perpetrated in whole, or in part, because of the employee’s race, color, sex, gender identification or expression, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital status, genetic information, pregnancy or any other characteristic prohibited by law. In addition, harassing conduct includes, but is not limited to:  epithets, slurs or negative stereotyping; threatening bullying, intimidating or hostile acts; denigrating jokes; and written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group and that is placed on walls or elsewhere on the employer’s premises or circulated in the workplace.

(e) That Section 4.4.3 is hereby amended to read as follows:

4.4.3  Application Forms

All applications for employment will be submitted via the City of Opelika’s website. Applications should be submitted in accordance with the vacancy notice or advertisement instructions. Applications are accepted for vacant positions, except as listed below. Certain Police and Fire department positions require a lengthy application process. For this reason, job postings for those departments may be posted prior to an actual vacancy.

(f) That paragraph one of Section 4.5.2 is hereby amended to read as follows:

4.5.2     Selection of Classified and Part-Time Service Employees

Selections to fill vacancies in the classified and part-time services will be made by the appointing authority as established in paragraph 4.5.1. Each selection will be based on the knowledge, skills and abilities determined to be required for the position without regard to race, color, sex, gender identification or expression, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital status, genetic information, pregnancy or any other characteristic prohibited by law (except where such factor may constitute a bona fide occupational qualification). Reasonable accommodations for disabled individuals, who are otherwise qualified, will be made when practical. Consideration will also be given to the requirements of the city’s affirmative action plan.

(g) That Section 4.5.2.3 is hereby amended to read as follows:  

Section 4.5.2.3 Inquiries

Appropriate inquiries of former employers and other references, when required, and background checks will be made by the Human Resources Department.  Background checks may be performed by the Police department on applicants for police department positions.  If agreeable to an applicant, inquiries may also be made to his present employer.

(h) That the first paragraph of Section 4.6 is hereby amended to read as follows:

Section 4.6   Employment Offers

Employment offers for classified, and part-time service positions will be made in writing or verbally by the appointing authority. A copy of written offers will be provided the Human Resources Department. No individual may consider that an offer has been made to him until he has been so notified.

(i) That Section 4.6.2 is hereby amended to read as follows: 

Section 4.6.2 Contingency of Offer

All offers will be contingent upon the individual meeting the following requirements before he starts work, or within a reasonable time after starting to work, as established by the appointing authority in coordination with the Human Resources Department.  When agreed to by the Human Resources Director and the department head, the appointing authority may make such investigations and checks that are better accomplished by the department.

(a)  report of successful completion of a medical examination, when required;

(b) the individual successfully undergoing a criminal background investigation;

(c) the individual successfully demonstrating through a driving record check  that he will be accepted by the city’s insurance carrier under preferred rates, when driving is required because of job duties;

(d)  the individual successfully being issued a bond, when required because of job duties;

(e)  the individual successfully undergoing a drug test, when the individual is being hired for a safety sensitive position;

(f)  the individual successfully meeting any standards or certifications as required by law; and

(g)  the individual successfully meeting any other job-related requirements established at the time of the offer.

(j) That Section 4.7.3 is hereby amended to read as follows: 

Section 4.7.3 Evaluation

A probationary status employee’s performance will be evaluated at least every three (3) months during his probationary period. The first evaluation will come no later than during the third month. Subsequent evaluations will occur no later than at the end of each additional three (3) months of the probationary period. All evaluations will be conducted in accordance with SECTION 6 EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL.

(k) That Section 4.7.8 is hereby amended to read as follows: 

Section 4.7.8 Appeals

A probationary status employee will not be eligible to file an appeal from a separation, or any disciplinary action taken against him, or to file a grievance as provided by the city grievance procedure unless such grievance is based upon his claim that he has been discriminated against because of race, color, sex, gender identification or expression, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital status, genetic information, pregnancy or any other characteristic prohibited by law.

(l) That Section 5.2.4 is hereby amended to read as follows: 

Section 5.2.4 Ineligible Employees

No employee who has been given a last written warning or suspension shall be eligible for promotion within eighteen (18) months of a final written warning action or within (12) months of a suspension action.

(m) That Section 5.3.4 is hereby amended to read as follows: 

Section 5.3.4 Selection

The appointing authority will ensure that each eligible applicant whose name is provided by the Human Resources Director is considered for the announced vacancy.  Such consideration will be based upon the criteria contained in paragraph 5.2 above. A department head may, at his discretion, establish an internal selection procedure for his department that includes the use of a screening committee to assist in the selection process. Such procedures, if established, will be coordinated with the Human Resources Department prior to implementation. All eligible employees who apply for the vacancy will be interviewed by the appointing authority. Upon completion of the selection process, the department head will immediately notify the Human Resources Department. The Department Head or the Human Resources department will notify in writing those employees who applied for the vacant position but were not selected by the appointing authority.  A copy of all written notifications will be provided to the Human Resources Department.

(n) That the first and second paragraphs of Section 5.7.1 are hereby amended to read as follows: 

Section 5.7.1 General

It is the policy of the City of Opelika to provide promotional opportunities whenever possible to qualified employees. Employees are encouraged to qualify themselves for advancement by developing new skills, by expanding the knowledge of their work, by assuming greater responsibilities, and by maintaining a high level of job performance, service, interest, and loyalty.     

The selection of candidates shall be determined in a manner whereby those individuals having demonstrated the required knowledge, skills, abilities and personal characteristics, while possessing the greatest potential qualities of leadership for the higher position, may be selected, regardless of race, color, sex, gender identification or expression, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital status, genetic information, pregnancy or any other characteristic prohibited by law (except where age, sex, or disability constitutes a bona fide occupational qualification).

(o) That Section 5.7.1(E) is hereby amended to read as follows: 

(E) Selection shall be made from among the best-qualified candidates, without discrimination among them for any reason such as race, color, sex, gender identification or expression, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital status, genetic information, pregnancy or any other characteristic prohibited by law (except where age, sex, or disability constitutes a bona fide occupational qualification).

(p) That the first paragraph of Section 4.5.2.3 is hereby amended to read as follows: 

Section 5.7.4 Posting Procedure

Vacancies will be posted citywide for a period of five (5) working days or as otherwise requested by the department head and approved by the

Mayor. Due to the time-in grade requirements for Sworn Police and Certified Fire Fighter positions, those positions will be posted only within the department except entry-level positions or as allowed in Section 5.8.6. Entry-level positions will be posted citywide.  Eligible employees who register for the vacancy within the time-period will be further considered in accordance with the following procedure:

(q) That Section 5.7.5(3) is hereby amended to read as follows: 

3.    The Mayor shall have overall authority and responsibility for the administration of all validated selection procedures, with the direct assistance of the Human Resource Director. The Mayor will make a good faith effort to recruit qualified minorities and females as examination or exercise panel members, assessors, or raters in its selection processes. It shall be the responsibility of the Mayor to ensure that, before assuming their duties, all exercise panel members, assessors, and raters receive appropriate training from a qualified source as determined by the Human Resources Department of the City of Opelika.

(r) That Section 5.8.2 is hereby amended to read as follows: 

Section 5.8.2 Time in Grade Requirements

The following total years of service within the Fire Department or Fire Service are required in order to promote as shown below. At least twenty-four (24) months service is required to be eligible for consideration for promotion to the next ranking positions within the Fire Department except Fire Chief and the Administrative Coordinator

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