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PERSONNEL POLICY OF THE CITY OF SEARCY

The purpose of this document is to establish and define a system which will govern all facets of employment with the City of Searcy. It is intended to create and maintain an equitable and efficient workplace environment for city employees at all levels. In addition, it will insure that supervisors have adequate management tools and standards and employees have a thorough understanding of their responsibilities and entitlements. It will define personnel rating requirements and outline provisions for the address of grievances and complaints.

These policies and procedures apply to all employees, but it is recognized that uniformed employees are governed by numerous state statutes. When an inadvertent conflict with these laws occurs, this document will be subordinate. The City Council possesses legislative powers defined by State Statute. This policy in no way addresses or affects these powers.

The use of gender specific pronouns has been avoided wherever possible. Whenever this would have lead to awkward phrasing the male pronoun is used. These pronouns are to be considered to refer to both genders equally.

The Mayor is the approving authority for these policies and will direct changes as he deems appropriate. The Human Resource Manager is responsible for review, updating and insuring compatibility with appropriate State Laws. The Human Resource Manager will develop and implement the necessary procedures to insure compliance with these policies.

Each director is responsible for the enforcement of these policies. All city employees are responsible for compliance with them and with any departmental directives generated by same.

This document will be reviewed and updated as required. Requests for changes or additions must be submitted to the Human Resource Manager in writing.

I.    EMPLOYMENT POLICIES.

A.     General:
The Mayor will exercise final authority concerning all personnel acquisitions, termination's and policies. The Human Resource Manager will insure compliance with all appropriate regulations and policies and will conduct preliminary hiring functions and provide recommendations to the mayor.

1.    The City of Searcy is committed providing equal opportunity with no regard to race, color, religion, national original sex, age handicap or veteran status and in compliance with all Federal and State Laws.

2. AT WILL:
The City of Searcy is an at-will employer. This means that the City or any of its employees may terminate the employment relationship at any time for any reason with the understanding that neither has an obligation to base that decision on anything but the intent not to continue the employment relationship. No policies or comments in this document or made during the employment process shall be construed in any way to waive this provision.

3.     HARASSMENT:
Harassment of city employees will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Any employee who believes he is being harassed should report it to the Human Resource Manager immediately. The Human Resource Manager will initiate appropriate action.
Harassment, may take the following forma:
a.     Sexual harassment, which is the act of offering or withholding career enhancements or benefits based on sexual favors or unsolicited sexual advances in the workplace.
b.    General harassment, which is any annoying, insulting, or unwelcome act that singles out an employee by race, sex, religion, national origin, handicap or unique characteristic. It may include, but is not limited to: verbal abuse, ridicule, or interference with work.

4.     DRUG-FREE WORKPLACE:
It is the policy of the City of Searcy to create a drug-free workplace in keeping with the spirit and intent of the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and its amendments . The use of controlled substances is inconsistent with the behavior expected of employees, subjects all employees and visitors to City facilities to unacceptable safety risks and undermines the City's ability to operate effectively and efficiently. Therefore, the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, sale or use of a controlled substance in the workplace or while engaged in City business of the City of Searcy or on the City's premises is strictly prohibited.

Such conduct is also prohibited during non-working hours to the extent that, in the opinion of the City, it impairs an employee's ability to perform on the job or threatens the reputation or integrity of the City.

B.    HIRING:
1.     General Department Directors shall submit applications to request filling a vacancy to the Human Resource Manager. All requisitions must be approved by the Mayor prior to initiation of the hiring process.

Applications for employment will be accepted from anyone who wishes to apply. Application forms are available at the office of the Human Resource Manager.

The City will attempt to fill vacancies with persons already employed. Employees are encouraged to apply for vacancies for which they are qualified and which offer promotional opportunities .

Position vacancies will be posted in the Human Resource Manager's office at least 10 days prior to the deadline for submission of applications. Copies of the job announcement will be distributed to City Departments and, as appropriate, to outside agencies which might provide applicants.

2.    RESTRICTIONS:
The minimum age for permanent employment is 18 years. Police and firefighters are subject to state restrictions. Summer youth program employees may be as young as 14 in some cases.

Applicants who are not citizens of the United States must be able to prove, prior to employment, their status as a resident alien or provide proof of permission to work in the United States as authorized by the United States Naturalization Service. Applicants for Police Officers must be citizens of the United States.

Applicants shall be disqualified automatically for the following:
a.     Falsification or deliberate misrepresentation of information on the application form.
b.    Conviction of a felony which is related to the position being sought.
c.    Failure to submit the application with required documents within the prescribed time period.

3.    SELECTION:
Any of the following may be used as a selection device in a competitive hiring.
-Written Test
-Performance work sample test
-Application or resume evaluation
-Interview
-Education, training and experience
-Physical abilities test
-Background & reference checks
-Other discriminators as appropriate

Applicants shall be notified of the result of tests or interviews within 10 days of completion of testing for the position.
Complaints or allegations of errors must be submitted in writing to the Human Resource Manager within 10 days of receipt of the results.

The Human Resource Manager will organize and conduct all testing and interviews for city employment. The Mayor is the hiring and approval authority for all hiring actions. Persons selected for employment shall report to the Human Resource Manager prior to beginning work to complete tax withholding and benefit enrollment forms. New employees must present Social Security Cards and a valid drivers license will be required when motor vehicle operation is part of the job description.

New employees will be given a copy of their job description at this time and will sign a statement that they understand the responsibilities and requirements of their position. The rating procedure, to include provisions for rebuttal, will be explained by the Human Resource Manager at this time.

C.    TRAINING:
Any training necessary to perform a job for the City will be identified in the individual job description. In many cases, such training can be provided on-the-job by supervisory personnel. New employees will be informed of the necessity of successfully completing such training prior to hiring, and will acknowledge these requirements when signing for the job description.

Training which is not essential, but would improve an employee's ability to do his job, should be identified by supervisors on the performance appraisal. Such training will be provided whenever practical. Training required for all personnel, such as safety and drug-abuse awareness, will be provided by the Human Resources Management Office .

D.    NEPOTISM:
No employee shall in any manner be placed in a position under the direct supervision of a relative. All cases in which relatives of current employees are considered for hiring shall be specifically reviewed by the Human Resource Manager. For this policy "relative" is defined as persons related by blood within two generations, spouse's blood relatives, and persons living together.

E.    TYPES OF APPOINTMENT:
Employees will be appointed to positions within the following categories:
a.     Regular Positions Full time employees in this category are scheduled to work a minimum of 40 hours per week and will be entitled to all benefits the city offers.
Part time employees in this category are scheduled to work only part of the work week, not to exceed 35 hours on a regular basis. They will be entitled to limited benefits.

b.    Temporary Position These positions may be either full or part time for a designated time period. Employees in this category are not eligible for benefits.

c.    Temporary Emergency Position Employees in this category are scheduled to work full time or part time for the duration of an emergency, not to exceed a fiscal year. These employees are not eligible for benefits.

F.    PROBATION:
Non-uniform employees hired into full time positions shall be in probationary status for six months. This period may be extended for up to 90 days for extraordinary circumstances. Requests for extension must be submitted to the Human Resource Manager by supervisors no later than 5 working days prior to the culmination of the original probation period.

G.    WORK HOURS:
Department Directors may change or adjust hours of work for the employee with prior approval from the Mayor. Requests for such changes will be submitted in writing to the Human Resource Manager. Nonuniform employees shall be granted a non-paid mealtime of not less than 30 minutes and two paid rest periods of 15 minutes daily. Supervisors will designate these times.

Employees are expected to be at the work site on time and to work the hours scheduled . Unauthorized absences or tardiness will result in a corresponding loss of pay. Habitual absences will lead to disciplinary action.

H.    PAY:
All employees will be paid on a biweekly basis and shall receive a paycheck with itemized earnings and deductions every other Friday. Should payday fall on a holiday, paychecks will be issued the preceding day.

Employees should notify their superior immediately upon a change of mailing address. It is important that this be correct in each employee's file to enable the mailing of necessary items such as tax documents. Employees should also notify their supervisors in case of a change in marital status.

I I.    PERFORMANCE EVALUATIONS.

Each employee's duties and responsibilities will be described in a job description maintained in the office of the Human Resource Manager. Employees and their supervisors will be given a copy of these job descriptions.

At least once each year supervisors will summarize their evaluations of each employee's performance on a performance rating form from the Human Resource Manager's office. This evaluation will include accomplishment of duties, work habits, any disciplinary actions and potential for promotional.

This will normally be prepared during the employees month of original hiring. One copy of the rating will be given to the employee, one copy will be retained by the supervisor and the original, signed by the employee, will be delivered to the Human Resource Manager for inclusion in the employee's permanent file . These ratings will be treated as sensitive information and will not be shown to anyone who does not have a valid job-related reason to see them.

Supervisors may prepare and submit a special rating at any time. Special ratings must be in one of the following categories:
a.     Exceptional--This rating will recognize an employee for performance substantially above normal for his position. These will be a primary consideration in selecting employees for promotion or higher rated jobs.
b.    Change of Status--Will be prepared when the employee changes supervisors, directorate or job description.
c.    Adverse--These ratings will be for sustained sub-standard performance, poor work habits or disruptions of the work place. They may be used as evidence in disciplinary or adverse actions such as suspension or termination.

An employee has the right to submit a rebuttal as an attachment to any rating containing negative comments and to request a hearing before the Human Resource Manager in the case of an adverse special report.

III. SALARIES.

A.    GENERAL .
Job descriptions will be the base document for determining salary of non-uniformed employees. The Human Resource Manager will present recommendations to the Mayor on establishment or alteration of salaries, degree of responsibility, and difficulty of functions. City finance and other pertinent information will be taken into consideration. Starting pay rates for identical job descriptions will be the same and will be equitable in the case of similar duties and requirements. The Mayor will make all final determinations pertaining to salaries.

Each job description will be reviewed by the Human Resource Manager at three year intervals to insure accuracy of the title, the duties required and the appropriateness of salary.

A review may be requested at any time by an employee or supervisor. These requests must be in writing on forms available in the Human Resource Manager's Office. The Human Resource Manager will provide a written response to all requests for review within. 60 days of receipt. Changes in job descriptions or salary based on a review must be approved by the Mayor.

B.    OVERTIME:
Overtime will be paid for hours worked in excess of 40 per week for non-uniformed employees upon approval of the Human Resource Manager. This approval will be based on an agreement between the employee and his supervisor before the accrual of compensatory time or overtime. Many job descriptions identify overtime as a requirement. Employees holding these positions are expected to work overtime whenever so directed by their supervisor. It is not necessary for supervisors to execute identical agreements with all of their employees. Employees will not be compensated for hours in excess of the normal work week in the absence of prior authorization from their supervisor. Overtime will be paid at the rate of 1 1/2 hours for each hour worked. Compensatory time also will be awarded at the rate of l 1/2 hours for each hour of overtime worked. Compensatory time may be accrued up to 40 hours and may not be carried in excess of 60 days. Management has the option to grant time off or pay for accrued compensatory time. When computing compensatory time or overtime, any part of an hour shall be rounded to the nearest quarter of an hour (seven minutes will be rounded down, eight minutes will be rounded up) . Compensatory time must be used prior to termination of employment. The City will not reimburse employees for such time. Uniformed employees will be paid as prescribed in appropriate regulations.

C.    HOLIDAY PAY:
Employees required to work on holidays will be paid 1 1/2 times their regular salary in addition to their normal holiday pay. Employees required to work on holidays will be scheduled for at least four hours work and will be paid for that amount if released before completing an actual four hours.

D.    INSURANCE:
The City of Searcy provides a group health plan for all employees. Optional dependent coverage is available for eligible dependents including spouse, available for eligible dependents including spouse, unmarried children under age 19 and children past 19 who are handicapped or enrolled as full time students. All regular full time non-uniformed employees are also provided with disability life insurance and dental coverage. Detailed information on options and coverage will be given to the employee by the Huw.an Resource Manager upon hiring.

IV.    LEAVES:
        GENERAL:
The City provides paid leave time for all employees to be absent without loss of pay. Non-uniformed employees using leave time will be charged one hour for each hour of work missed and will be charged the hours in their normal shift for each full day missed. Uniformed employees will comply with the appropriate State and Civil Service regulations concerning leave.

Department Directors may advance any combination of up to 40 hours of vacation and sick leave to employees.
Any advanced leave outstanding upon termination of employment will be deducted from the employee's final pay.

A.    VACATION LEAVE:
Full time employees earn vacation leave from the time of employment. Annual leave entitlements are as follows:

Up to three years employment      =10 days.
Three to ten years employment     =15 days.
Ten to twenty years employment  = 20 days .
Twenty years and over                  =22 days.

Employees will obtain approval from their supervisor a minimum of one month prior to taking vacation leave. The number of personnel on vacation leave at one time will be determined by Department Directors based on departmental work loads. Seniority will determine priority for leave when other factors are equal.

A maximum of 15 days accumulated vacation may be carried over to the next year. Exceptions may be granted by Departmental Directors with approval of the Human Resource Manager.

Employees who are hospitalized due to sickness or injury while on vacation can have their leave changed to sick leave by the Human Resource Manager with documentation from an appropriate medical authority.

B.    SICK LEAVE
Regular employees earn sick leave at the rate of 8 days per year from the first day of employment. Accrual is limited to 60 days.

Sick leave may be used for serious illness or injury in an employee's immediate family. Legal family is defined for this purpose as spouse or dependents. Employees must notify their supervisor on the first day missed and daily thereafter to claim sick leave. Exception can be made by supervisors on a case by case basis. A physician's statement may be required by supervisors for any period.

Any employee absent from work more than 10 working days in excess of the normal convalescent time established by the Professional Activity Study may be required to see a physician selected by the City for an evaluation and a release to work.
Sick leave abuse will justify reasonable investigation and disciplinary action as deemed appropriate, to include termination of employment. Abuse on a work shift immediately before or after a holiday will result in denial of holiday pay.

HOLIDAYS:

All regular employees receive the following holidays:

New Years Day
M.L.K.'s Birthday
Presidents Day
Memorial Day
Independence Day
Labor Day
Veterans Day
Thanksgiving Day
Christmas Day
Employee's Birthday

Employees who wish to substitute another date for their birthday entitlement may do so with the approval of their supervisor.

D.    OTHER LEAVES:
1.     FUNERAL LEAVE Regular employees who have a death in their immediate family will receive up to three days with pay to arrange the funeral and conduct other related business. for this purpose immediate family is defined as parents, grandparents, siblings, children, daughter/Son-in-law, spouse and spouse's immediate family.

2.    JURY DUTY
Employees will be given leave at normal pay for time spent on jury duty. Verification of time will be required before reimbursement.

3.    EMERGENCY LEAVE
This may be granted for all or part of a day in the event of a situation which threatens the health and safety of employees. The Mayor must approve emergency leave.

4.    MILITARY LEAVE
Employees will be granted a leave of absence to fulfill training obligations with Armed Forces, Reserves or National Guard. This will not affect accrual of normal leave. Employees will be paid the difference in military compensation and their regular pay.
Military requirements for periods exceeding 30 consecutive days will be considered veterans reinstatement.

5.    MATERNITY LEAVE
Employees affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical condition will be treated the same as employees disabled for other illness or injury. Accrued sick leave and vacation time may be used for this purpose after which leave without pay must be used.

6.    LEAVE OF ABSENCE
Employees may be granted leave without pay for up to six months, renewable for six months. All such leaves in excess of ten consecutive duty days must be submitted to the Human Resource Manager f or approval by the Mayor.

V.    DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS

A.    GENERAL :
A disciplinary action against an employee must be for just cause, properly documented and appropriate in degree. Degree of discipline shall be determined by severity of the offense, length of employment and employee's past record, both good and bad. Employees have the right to appeal disciplinary actions and to submit a grievance for any adverse actions they consider unfair. The cause for any adverse action, to include specific date and time, must be documented by the supervisor taking the action. Forms for this documentation are available from the Human Resource Manager. A copy of any disciplinary action will be furnished to the employee, and the original will be given to the Human Resource Manager. Any notice of disciplinary action will be put in the employee's personal file. Any disciplinary action should be signed by the employee. This only indicates the employee has read it, not agreement. An employee's refusal to sign will be witnessed by his supervisor and another witness and so noted on the form.

B.    TYPES OF DISCIPLINARY ACTION:
1.     Oral Reprimand
This is a formal discussion between an employee and his supervisor, not to be confused with normal counseling or performance appraisal. A memorandum will be prepared of an oral reprimand, with a copy forwarded to the Human Resource Manager and a copy retained by the supervisor. Employees will be furnished a copy on request.

2.    Written Reprimand
A formal written censure. This will be placed in the employee's official file and is considered the first step in progressive discipline.

3.    Suspension
This is a disciplinary action which removes an employee temporarily from his job. An employee receives no pay while on disciplinary suspension. Suspensions will be delayed one working day and must be reported to the Human Resource Manager prior to beginning. Employees will be suspended with pay in the case of a pending termination of employment and may also be suspended with pay during an investigation.

4.    DEMOTION
An action which permanently places an employee in a position of less responsibility and reduced pay. An employee will be notified five working days prior to the effective date of a demotion. Department Directors will submit proposed demotions to the Human Resource Manager for approval by the Mayor.

5.    TERMINATION
A disciplinary action which removes an employee from the City work force. The Hlli~an Resource Manager will be notified immediately upon a Supervisor's decision to terminate an employee

There are certain actions which cannot be permitted to occur under any circumstances because of their impact on other employees or the public. Such offenses warrant termination on the first occurrence. Employees committing acts of this type will be immediately suspended with pay until the pre-termination hearing. Examples of such actions are:
a.     Insubordination.
b.     Falsification of official records.
c.    Two consecutive days absence without notification.
d.    Use or possession of alcohol or illegal drugs on duty. Being under the influence of same while on duty.
e.    Unauthorized possession of a firearm, while on duty.
f.    Violation of nondiscrimination or harassment policy.
g.    Soliciting or accepting gratuities from citizens.
g.    Unauthorized use of city property or equipment.
i.    Fighting or using obscene, abusive or threatening language or gestures.

Employees will receive a termination hearing prior to the action. The employee will be notified on a form provided by the Personnel Manager. This hearing is not to be confused with the appeal process.

An employee must be told specifically what infraction he is accused of and that termination is being recommended.
Employees will be given the opportunity to respond to all allegations during the pre-termination hearing.

C.    APPEAL S
Employees can appeal any disciplinary action with the exception of an oral reprimand.
1.     Employees can submit a written rebuttal to any disciplinary action to the Human Resource Manager.

2.    Appeal hearings can be requested on forms available in the Human Resource Manager's Office. Hearings must be requested within 5 days of the disciplinary action. The Human Resource Manager will notify the employee and supervisor of the date, place, and time of the hearing.

Each party may have any appropriate witnesses at the hearing. The Human Resource Manager will notify all parties of the Mayor's decision within 5 working days of the hearing. If a disciplinary action is overturned by appeal, the employee will have all rights, benefits and privileges restored immediately.

D.    GRIEVANCES
1.     Any employee may submit a grievance if he or she believes a policy, regulation, or action is being improperly applied. No reprisal of any kind will be taken against an employee for a grievance filed in good faith .

2.    All grievances will be submitted in writing on forms available from the Human Resource Manager. The Human Resource Director will conduct a preliminary hearing with the grievant and appropriate supervisor. Any party may have appropriate witnesses present.

If the grievance cannot be solved at this level, a second hearing will be arranged by the Human Resource Manager with the Mayor presiding. The grievant will be notified of the decision within 5 working days.

If a grievance charging the City with discrimination or unfair practices is simultaneously being considered by any board, agency or court, that grievance will be held in abeyance until the other authority has rendered a decision.

VI.    PERSONNEL ACTIONS
Personnel actions defined in this section are:
    Termination
    Resignation
    Retirement
    Re-employment
    Layoff Recall

A.    TERMINATION is involuntary separation from employment and is addressed in the preceding chapter. Employees in leave-without-pay status who do not return to work may be terminated by the supervisor with the approval of the Human Resource Manager.

B.    RESIGNATION is a voluntary separation from employment. In order to be eligible for re-employment, an employee must submit a written resignation to the appropriate supervisor no later than 10 working days prior to separation.

C.    RE-EMPLOYMENT Any person who has separated from City's employment in good standing will be considered for rehire if he meets the following requirements.
1.    That a timely resignation notice was submitted.
2.    That performance ratings were satisfactory during previous employment

D.    LAYOFF
In the event that a layoff is necessary for any reason, seniority and performance ratings will be the determining factors in which personnel will be let go. Employees in their initial probation period will be the first considered for layoff. Names of employees identified for layoff by Department Directors will be submitted in writing to the Human Resource Manager for final approval by the Mayor. Employees will be given as much prior notice as possible prior to layoff. any employee may extend insurance coverage when laid off. This policy is subordinated when it conflicts with current state or federal statutes.

E.    RECALL
Laid off employees have recall rights for 18 months. These employees will be recalled to the former positions in, order of seniority. Employees laid off during their initial probation period have no recall rights. Recall rights of laid off employees will be forfeited upon occurrence of any of the following:
1.     Refusal to accept recall to appropriate position.
2.    Failure to contact the appropriate city office or report for work within 7 days of notification of recall to work.
3.    Return of Certified Mail notification of recall as undeliverable. It is the responsibility of the laid off employee to insure that the Human Resource Manager has a current address for mailing of recall notices.
4.    Acceptance of another position with the City.

VI.    STANDARDS OF CONDUCT

A.    CONDUCT TOWARD THE PUBLIC
City employees will at all times be civil, orderly and courteous in their conduct toward the public. Employees must remember at all times that they represent the City when on duty. When dealing with discourteous or upset individuals it must be kept in mind that "The Customer is Always Right" .

B.    UNIFORMS AND PERSONAL APPEARANCE
Uniforms or a uniform allowance will be provided to personnel of certain departments as authorized by the Mayor. These employees will wear uniforms at all times while on duty. Uniforms will be kept as neat and clean as job conditions permit.
Employees not authorized uniforms will dress in appropriate attire for their departments. Department chiefs will be responsible for the appearance of employees under their supervision.

C.    Inclement Weather
In the event of hazardous road conditions employees must notify their superior of their inability to report for work. This notification must be made prior to the scheduled work period. An absence from, duty not authorized by a supervisor will be considered an absence without leave and will be without pay. In the event that conditions prevent opening departments, absences will be licensed and with pay.

D.    Outside Employment
Any employee considering additional employment should consult with his or her superior to insure there is no conflict of interest. Outside employment must not interfere with the timely and effective performance of duty for the city. Outside jobs may not be of a nature that would adversely affect the image of the City. City uniforms may not be worn on outside jobs. Members of the Police Department are exempt from this rule when employed off-duty as security personnel.

E.    Political Activity
All employees are urged to exercise their right to vote. Time off will be granted for this purpose when necessary.

F.    Outside Compensation
No tip, payment, reward, or any type of remuneration in addition to normal salary will be accepted by any City employee for the performance of their duties.