Proposition 10

Highlights: Clarifies and expands ground for discipline; Designation of Civil Service Commission as final authority on appeals.

Amended Text
Amending the Charter of the City of El Paso Section 6.13-1, Discharge During Probation; Section 6.13-2, Disciplinary Action; Reduction; Section 6.13-3, Causes of Suspension, Reduction or Discharge; Section 6.13-6, Action by Commission; Section 6.1-17, Hearing Officers; Section 6.13-7, Hearing Officer; and Section 6.13-8, Subsequent Action; and deleting Section 6.13-9 in its entirety; to read as follows:

A new employee may be discharged at any time during the probation period for any reasons but, for the record, a full statement of those reasons must be filed with the Human Resources Director within three days of the discharge.

A permanent employee may be discharged, suspended or reduced in rank or position as provided in this Charter or further defined in the Rules.

Section 6.13-3 CAUSES OF SUSPENSION, REDUCTION OR DISCHARGE. The following, which may be further defined in the Rules, may constitute causes for discharge, suspension or reduction in grade of permanent employees:
A. Conviction of a felony or of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude;
B. Brutality to a City prisoner;
C. Being under the influence of intoxicants or drugs or the use thereof while on duty;
D. Being physically or mentally unfit for City service;
E. Being wantonly offensive in conduct or language;
F. Performance of duty consistently below established minimum standards.
G. Negligence in care or misuse of City property;
H. Unexcused absence from duty for a period of three or more successive days;
I. Exerting improper use of political influence;
J. Inducing or assisting another to commit an unlawful act;
K. Exerting improper influence on behalf of a relative;
L. Engaging in improper political activity;
M. Violates the City's Ethics Ordinance;
N. Refusal to follow the lawful order of a superior or supervisor;
O. Subjecting a fellow employee or subordinate to unlawful intimidation, harassment or retaliation; and
P. For just cause.

A. If the Commission hears the appeal in a disciplinary case it will, by majority vote of its members present and voting, determine whether the evidence sustains the charges. If the Commission determines that the charges are sustained, in whole or in part, it will at once determine whether the good of the service requires that the appealed action be upheld or reduced. If the Commission determines that the charges are not sustained, the accused will be reinstated immediately and without prejudice, and will not be deprived of any salary for any period of suspension preceding the hearing.
B. In cases involving matters such as denial of promotion, the Commission shall review all facts in the cases and direct appropriate corrective steps, if necessary.
C. In conducting any hearing, the Commission must in all cases, afford full and free opportunity to all parties to present evidence relevant to the issue or issues involved. The burden of proving an alleged offense and of establishing just ground of discharge, suspension or reduction rests upon the City Manager or designee by whom the action was taken. A preponderance of the evidence is required to substantiate any charge.
D. Decisions of the Commission shall be final.

Section 6.1-17 HEARING OFFICERS.
The Commission will appoint one or more compensated hearing officers to hear appeals made under Section 6.13-4. The need for hearing officers in excess of one shall be determined jointly by the Commission and the City Manager. Hearing officers will perform those duties and functions necessary to render a recommendation to the Commission on the matter in dispute.
The hearing officers will serve at the Commission's pleasure, and will not be classified. Reasonable compensation shall be paid by the City.

Section 6.13-7 HEARING OFFICER.
A. The Hearing Officer shall have the power to establish appropriate procedures for the conduct of the hearing, issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses, make appropriate findings during the course of a hearing, prepare written recommendations to the Commission, and such other powers and duties as set forth in the Rules.
B. The principles established in Section 6.13-6, will apply equally to hearing officers.

Upon receipt of the Hearing Officer's opinion and recommendations where applicable, the Commission will review the written record of the hearing, review any written briefs or oral arguments which the parties are permitted by the Commission to submit in accordance with the Rules, and take one of the following actions:
A. Accept or modify the Hearing Officer's recommendations; or
B. Remand the matter to the Hearing officer for development of such additional facts and findings as the Commission deems necessary. Consistent with the remand, the Hearing Officer must conduct an additional hearing and render a further opinion or recommendations for its further action pursuant to this provision.

Proposition Question
Ballot Proposition No. 10

FOR ( ) Shall Sections 6.13-1, 6.13-2, 6.13-3, 6.13-6, 6.1-17, 6.13-7, and 6.13-8 of the City Charter be amended, and Section 6.13-9 be deleted in its entirety, relating to discharge, disciplinary action, and appeals: to state the processes for discharge during probation and for the discharge, suspension or reduction in rank or position of permanent employees; and to add four new grounds for discipline or reduction for the misuse of City property, assisting another to commit an unlawful act; refusal to follow a lawful order, and subjecting a fellow employee or subordinate to unlawful intimidation, harassment or retaliation; to provide the appeal process and manner by which the Civil Service Commission hears cases and considers the recommendations of a hearing officer; to provide that the Commission and the City Manager set compensation for hearing officers; to state that the decisions of the Commission shall be final; and to delete the provision relating to the perferral of charges by citizens directly to the Commission?