In dealing with performance and conduct issues you will encounter corrective action and disciplinary action. Corrective action is a lower level of action and can include verbal counseling as well as letters such as warning or reprimand. Disciplinary action includes punitive/non-punitive suspensions, temporary reductions in step, demotions, and dismissal. (Please note that currently, only the Sheriff’s Office may take disciplinary action in the form of a punitive suspension.)
All disciplinary actions fall within the Skelly process. Arbitration is a step within the grievance process.
The Skelly process has three distinct steps which are: 1) the intent letter, 2) the written and/or oral response, and 3) the decision letter.
The intent letter informs the employee that a disciplinary action has been proposed. As part of the Skelly process, the employee is then given an opportunity to respond to the charges outlined in the intent letter, within the specified time frame, either orally or in writing before a decision is issued.If requested by the employee, the response is heard/reviewed by a reasonably impartial party who has not made up his/her mind about the case. This second step is also known as a Skelly hearing. The Skelly hearing provides an opportunity for the employee to present their side of the story before a decision is issued. The deciding official can sustain, mitigate, or overturn the proposed discipline.
Once a decision has been issued and a disciplinary action has been taken, the employee can (at his/her discresion) either grieve or appeal the discipline depending on what has been negotiated with their union. The grievance process may include the following steps:
- Meeting between the employee (with or without union representation) and the Department Head
- Appeal to Employee Relations
- Adjustment board
Alternatively the employee may choose to appeal the decision to the Civil Service Commission, in which case the Commission will formally hear the case from both sides and issue a decision in which they can sustain, reduce, or overturn the discipline.