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Jo Clifton is the Politics Editor for the Austin Monitor.
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Civil service commissioners may get paid
Friday, January 24, 2020 by Jo Clifton
Under the city charter, members of the city’s Municipal Civil Service Commission hear appeals and make final decisions on cases of city employees who have been fired, demoted, put on disciplinary probation or denied a promotion. (This does not include police, fire and EMS.) For employees who request hearings before the commission, it can be a very long wait between the time of the request and the time of the hearing. The amount of time between an employee’s notice of appeal and the hearing of the appeal increased from 78 days in Fiscal Year 2018 to 149 days in FY 2019. This is a problem that could be addressed by scheduling extra meetings, said Council Member Alison Alter, who chairs the Council Audit & Finance Committee. But Alter recognized that scheduling an extra day of hearings could be a burden for the lawyers who make up the commission. Currently, those commissioners receive no compensation from the city, although under the city charter those commissioners may be paid for their services. Alter brought a resolution to Thursday’s Council meeting directing the city manager to establish a pay policy for the MCS commissioners if they are called upon to attend any special meetings. City Manager Spencer Cronk was directed to report back to the Audit & Finance Committee on establishment of a reasonable pay policy for the commissioners in order to keep the wait at 90 days or less for employees who file appeals. Council Member Jimmy Flannigan was the only member opposing the resolution.
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