Nebraska Revised Statute 23-2525
Chapter 23 Section 2525
County personnel officer; personnel rules and regulations for classified service.
The county personnel officer shall, with the assistance of two advisory groups, one of classified employees and one of department heads, prepare and submit to the personnel policy board proposed personnel rules and regulations for the classified service. He or she shall give reasonable notice thereof to the heads of all agencies, departments, county employee associations, and institutions affected thereby, and they shall be given an opportunity, upon request, to appear before the board and present their views thereon. The personnel policy board shall submit the rules and regulations for adoption or amendment and adoption by resolution of the board of county commissioners. Amendments thereto shall be made in the same manner. The rules and regulations shall provide:
(1) For a single integrated classification plan covering all positions in the county service except those expressly exempt from the County Civil Service Act, which shall group all positions into defined classes containing a descriptive class title and a code identifying each class, and which shall be based on similarity of duties performed and responsibilities assumed, so that the same qualifications may reasonably be required and the same schedule of pay may be equitably applied to all positions in the same class. After the classification plan has been approved by the personnel policy board, the county personnel officer shall be responsible for the administration and maintenance of the plan and for the allocation of each classified position. Any employee affected by the allocation of a position to a class shall, upon request, be given a reasonable opportunity to be heard thereon by the personnel policy board who shall issue an advisory opinion to the personnel officer;
(2) For a compensation plan for all employees in the classified service, comprising salary schedules, hours of work, premium payments, special allowances, and fringe benefits, considering the amount of money available, the prevailing rates of pay in government and private employment, the cost of living, the level of each class of position in the classification plan, and other relevant factors. Initial, intervening, and maximum rates of pay for each class shall be established to provide for steps in salary advancement without change of duty in recognition of demonstrated quality and length of service. The compensation plan and amendments thereto shall be adopted in the manner prescribed for rules and regulations and shall in no way limit the authority of the board of county commissioners relative to appropriations for salary and wage expenditures;
(3) For open competitive examinations to test the relative fitness of applicants for the respective positions. Competitive examination shall not be required for transferred employees transferring from positions in the state or a political subdivision to positions in the county pursuant to a merger of services or transferred employees transferring from positions in the state or a political subdivision to positions in the county due to the assumption of functions of the state or a political subdivision by the county. The rules and regulations shall provide for the public announcement of the holding of examinations and shall authorize the personnel officer to prescribe examination procedures and to place the names of successful candidates on eligible lists in accordance with their respective ratings. Examinations may be assembled or unassembled and may include various job-related examining techniques, such as rating training and experience, written tests, oral interviews, recognition of professional licensing, performance tests, investigations, and any other measures of ability to perform the duties of the position. Examinations shall be scored objectively and employment registers shall be established in the order of final score. Certification of eligibility for appointment to vacancies shall be in accordance with a formula which limits selection by the hiring department from among the highest ranking available and eligible candidates, but which also permits selective certification under appropriate conditions as prescribed in the rules and regulations;
(4) For promotions which shall give appropriate consideration to examinations and to record of performance, seniority, and conduct. Vacancies shall be filled by promotion whenever practicable and in the best interest of the service, and preference may be given to employees within the department in which the vacancy occurs;
(5) For the rejection of candidates who fail to comply with reasonable requirements of the personnel officer in regard to such factors as physical conditions, training, and experience or who have been guilty of infamous or disgraceful conduct, who are addicted to alcohol or narcotics, or who have attempted any deception or fraud in connection with an examination;
(6) Prohibiting disqualification of any person from taking an examination, from promotion or from holding a position because of race, sex, unless it constitutes a bona fide occupational qualification, or national origin, physical disabilities, age, political or religious opinions or affiliations, or other factors which have no bearing upon the individual's fitness to hold the position;
(7) For a period of probation not to exceed one year before appointment or promotion may be made complete, and during which period a probationer may be separated from his or her position without the right of appeal or hearing except as provided in section 23-2531. After a probationer has been separated, he or she may again be placed on the eligible list at the discretion of the personnel officer. The rules shall provide that a probationer shall be dropped from the payroll at the expiration of his or her probationary period if, within ten days prior thereto, the appointing authority has notified the personnel officer in writing that the services of the employee have been unsatisfactory;
(8) When an employee has been promoted but fails to satisfactorily perform the duties of the new position during the probationary period, he or she shall be returned to a position comparable to that held immediately prior to promotion at the current salary of such position;
(9) For temporary or seasonal appointments of limited terms of not to exceed one year;
(10) For part-time appointment where the employee accrues benefits of full-time employment on a basis proportional to the time worked;
(11) For emergency employment for not more than thirty days with or without examination, with the consent of the county personnel officer and department head;
(12) For provisional employment without competitive examination when there is no appropriate eligible list available. No such provisional employment shall continue longer than six months, nor shall successive provisional appointments be allowed;
(13) For transfer from a position in one department to a similar position in another department involving similar qualifications, duties, responsibilities, and salary ranges;
(14) For the transfer of employees of the state or a political subdivision to the county pursuant to a merger of services or due to the assumption of functions of the state or a political subdivision by the county;
(15) For layoff by reason of lack of funds or work or abolition of the position, or material change in duties or organization, for the layoff of nontenured employees first, and for reemployment of permanent employees so laid off, giving consideration in both layoff and reemployment to performance record and seniority in service;
(16) For establishment of a plan for resolving employee grievances and complaints;
(17) For hours of work, holidays, and attendance regulations in the various classes of positions in the classified service, and for annual, sick, and special leaves of absence, with or without pay, or at reduced pay;
(18) For the development of employee morale, safety, and training programs;
(19) For a procedure whereby an appointing authority may suspend, reduce, demote, or dismiss an employee for misconduct, inefficiency, incompetence, insubordination, malfeasance, or other unfitness to render effective service and for the investigation and public hearing of appeals of such suspended, reduced, demoted, or dismissed employee;
(20) For granting of leave without pay to a permanent employee to accept a position in the unclassified service, and for his or her return to a position comparable to that formerly held in the classified service at the conclusion of such service;
(21) For regulation covering political activity of employees in the classified service; and
(22) For other regulations not inconsistent with the County Civil Service Act and which may be necessary for its effective implementation.
- Laws 1974, LB 995, § 9;
- Laws 2006, LB 808, § 17.
2. Open competitive examinations
A county board has no power or authority to bargain or agree that any appointment or promotion shall be based upon anything other than merit and fitness except as provided in the County Civil Service Act. Blakely v. Lancaster County, 284 Neb. 659, 825 N.W.2d 149 (2012).
Statutory requirements for appointments and promotions under a civil service act are mandatory, and appointing authorities must comply with them for an appointment or promotion to be valid. Blakely v. Lancaster County, 284 Neb. 659, 825 N.W.2d 149 (2012).
Under this section, a county department head cannot “reassign” a current department employee to fill a new position outside of applicable transfer rules or the competitive examination process. Blakely v. Lancaster County, 284 Neb. 659, 825 N.W.2d 149 (2012).
When a vacancy in the classified service is not filled by a transfer or under a statutory exception, subdivisions (3) and (4) of this section require a county to fill it through one of two types of examinations: open competitive examinations or promotional examinations. Blakely v. Lancaster County, 284 Neb. 659, 825 N.W.2d 149 (2012).
2. Open competitive examinations
A county department head’s preference for a junior employee in his own department created an arbitrary and capricious appointing procedure when the county was conducting open competitive examinations and not promotional examinations. Preference for a department head’s own employee is an invalid basis for a hiring decision in open competitive examinations. Blakely v. Lancaster County, 284 Neb. 659, 825 N.W.2d 149 (2012).
Subdivision (3) of this section does not prohibit examiners from evaluating subjective traits if those traits are relevant to an applicant’s fitness for a position. But when oral examinations are used to test an applicant’s subjective traits, the scoring must be guided by measurable standards. That is, the examinations must provide some reasonable means of judicial review. Blakely v. Lancaster County, 284 Neb. 659, 825 N.W.2d 149 (2012).
Subdivision (3) of this section requires a county to conduct open competitive examinations for vacancies in the classified service. Blakely v. Lancaster County, 284 Neb. 659, 825 N.W.2d 149 (2012).
Under subdivision (3) of this section, the Legislature intended to limit an appointing authority’s selection of an applicant to one of the applicants who scored highest on the final score of the examination process. When oral interviews are part of the examination process for an appointment to the civil service, an applicant’s score on an oral interview must be included in the final score. Blakely v. Lancaster County, 284 Neb. 659, 825 N.W.2d 149 (2012).
Under subdivision (4) of this section, a county is not conducting promotional examinations when it posts a position as available to all county employees and fails to consider seniority. Blakely v. Lancaster County, 284 Neb. 659, 825 N.W.2d 149 (2012).
Under subdivision (4) of this section, the Legislature intended a county to conduct promotional examinations, and appointing authorities must consider records of performance, seniority, and conduct when making promotions. Blakely v. Lancaster County, 284 Neb. 659, 825 N.W.2d 149 (2012).
When a civil service statute requires an appointing authority to consider seniority in making a promotion, that requirement must be respected. Blakely v. Lancaster County, 284 Neb. 659, 825 N.W.2d 149 (2012).
A county cannot implement any provision of the county employees’ collective bargaining agreement that would violate a provision of the County Civil Service Act. Blakely v. Lancaster County, 284 Neb. 659, 825 N.W.2d 149 (2012).
Subdivision (13) of this section does not preclude a county from defining a transfer to include transfers within the same department. Blakely v. Lancaster County, 284 Neb. 659, 825 N.W.2d 149 (2012).