(a) An employee shall have the right to protest any disciplinary action taken against him or her by his or her appointing authority; provided, however, an employee serving by temporary appointment and an employee having probationary status shall have no right to protest any such disciplinary action, unless such employee had permanent status in some other position at the time he or she was appointed to his or her present position. An employee desiring to protest any disciplinary action directed against him or her by his or her appointing authority shall file a protest in writing with the board and with his or her appointing authority within seven days of the date on which the disciplinary action was taken and request a hearing before the board. Within seven days after receipt of the protest, his or her appointing authority shall file with the chair of the board and mail to the employee by certified mail a statement specifying the charges against such employee on which the disciplinary action was based. Upon the filing of such charges, the chair shall call a meeting of the board to be held within 30 days after the filing of such charges to hear such protest, and shall forthwith give notice by certified mail to the employee and his or her appointing authority of the time and place of such meeting. The board shall have the authority to continue the hearing from time to time as may be necessary. In preparing for and conducting such hearing, the chair and secretary-treasurer of the board shall each have the power to administer oaths, and to subpoena and require the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, documents, and accounts pertaining to the subject under investigation.
(b) Subpoenas issued as herein provided shall be served, and the fees and allowances for the service thereof shall be the same, as is provided by law for the service of subpoena issued by the Circuit Court of Franklin County. The fees and allowances in connection with the service of such subpoena issued at the request of the appointing authority or the board shall constitute reasonable and necessary expenses of the board. Such subpoena issued at the request of the employee shall be served as aforesaid but only after such employee has deposited sufficient security with such sheriff or other officer as shall guarantee payment of such fees and allowances for such service. In the event any person is duly summoned to appear and testify or produce evidence, or both, before the board, and such person refuses to attend or testify or produce such evidence, or any of them, in obedience to such summons, the board shall have the right to invoke the aid of the circuit court at law. In such event, and upon proper showing by the board to the court, the court shall issue, or cause to be issued, an order or subpoena requiring such person to appear before the board and produce all evidence and give all testimony relating to the issue within his or her knowledge. Any person failing to obey any such summons by either of the officers of the board without good cause, to be determined by the court, may be punished by the court in the same method as is provided by law for contempt of the court and any person failing to obey any such order or subpoena of the court may be proceeded against by the court as is by law provided in the case of contempt of such court. In addition, any employee of the city who fails to obey any of such orders or subpoenas may be disciplined as provided in Section 45-30A-50.16.
(c) At the hearing the employee and his or her appointing authority shall each have the right to be represented by counsel. Such hearing shall be governed by rules of practice and procedure adopted by the board, and in conducting such hearing, the board shall not be bound by the technical rules of evidence. No informality of procedure in the conduct of such hearing shall invalidate any decision made by the board. At the conclusion of the hearing, the board shall render a decision (1) affirming the disciplinary action taken if it is reasonably satisfied from the evidence offered at the hearing that the disciplinary action taken was lawful or was not too severe; or (2) reversing the action of the appointing authority if it is reasonably satisfied from such evidence that the disciplinary action taken was not lawful; or (3) modifying the disciplinary action taken and prescribing the proper penalty if it is reasonably satisfied from such evidence that the employee was subject to some disciplinary action, but that the penalty imposed was too severe. If the board’s decision reduces the severity of the disciplinary action taken against the employee, the board, in its decision, may provide that the employee shall be reinstated with or without pay; provided, however, in the event any employee is so ordered to be reinstated with pay, such pay shall not exceed the amount that the employee as such earned during the 30 days next preceding the taking of the disciplinary action in question. A copy of the board’s decision shall be filed with the city clerk of the city and such decision shall become effective immediately upon such filing, and it shall become final 10 days thereafter unless reversed or modified as hereinafter provided. The personnel board shall be represented by the city attorney, or an attorney designated by the governing body of the city, and the attorney shall perform such duties as the board may direct and require. Any compensation paid the attorney shall be paid as in Section 45-30A-50.21.
Last modified: May 3, 2021