1997 Regular Session
To: Fees and Salaries of Public Officers
By: Representative Flaggs
House Bill 1517
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 25-9-105, 25-9-107 AND 25-9-115, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REMOVE AUTHORIZATION FOR EXEMPTION FROM THE APPLICANT SELECTION PROCESS; TO REVISE CONTRACT PERSONNEL SUBJECT TO THE STATEWIDE PERSONNEL SYSTEM; TO REQUIRE THE POSTING OF ALL JOB OPENINGS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 25-9-105, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
25-9-105. It is the intent of this chapter to consolidate into one (1) state personnel system all agencies and employees now administered by the Mississippi Classification Commission, agencies and employees now administered by the Mississippi coordinated Merit System Council, and such other agencies and employees except as excluded by this chapter. The state personnel board established herein shall assume the total functions of personnel administration services (a) for those agencies and positions now required and operating under merit system rules due to federal statutory and regulatory provisions or state law, and (b) for all state agencies, departments and institutions except as excluded by this chapter. Provided, however, that state agencies which are not required by law to operate under merit system rules shall not request an exemption from the applicant selection process by specific job class or on an agency-wide basis. * * * No statute or executive order in effect February 1, 1981, or enacted or amended after February 1, 1981, shall be construed to exempt positions from the provisions of this chapter, unless such positions are clearly excluded by section 25-9-107 as nonstate service.
SECTION 2. Section 25-9-107, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
25-9-107. The following terms, when used in this chapter, unless a different meaning is plainly required by the context, shall have the following meanings:
(a) "Board" shall mean the State Personnel Board created under the provisions of this chapter.
(b) "State service" shall mean all employees of state departments, agencies and institutions as defined herein, except those officers and employees excluded by this chapter.
(c) "Nonstate service" shall mean the following officers and employees excluded from the state service by this chapter. The following are excluded from the state service:
(i) Members of the State Legislature, their staffs and other employees of the legislative branch;
(ii) The Governor and staff members of the immediate Office of the Governor;
(iii) Justices and judges of the judicial branch or members of appeals boards on a per diem basis;
(iv) The Lieutenant Governor, staff members of the immediate Office of the Lieutenant Governor and officers and employees directly appointed by the Lieutenant Governor;
(v) Officers and officials elected by popular vote and persons appointed to fill vacancies in elective offices;
(vi) Members of boards and commissioners appointed by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor or the State Legislature;
(vii) All academic officials, members of the teaching staffs and employees of the state institutions of higher learning, the State Board for Community and Junior Colleges, and community and junior colleges;
(viii) Officers and enlisted members of the National Guard of the state;
(ix) Prisoners, inmates, student or patient help working in or about institutions;
(x) Contract personnel; provided, that any agency which employs state service employees may enter into contracts for personal and professional services only with the prior written approval of the State Personnel Director. The State Personnel Director shall disapprove such contracts where the services to be provided could reasonably be performed by an employee in an authorized employment position. Prior to paying any warrant for such contractual services, the Auditor of Public Accounts, or the successor to those duties, shall determine whether the contract involved was for personal or professional services, and, if so, shall determine whether it was properly submitted to the State Personnel Director and approved; provided further, that physicians, dentists, architects, engineers, veterinarians, attorneys and utility rate experts who are employed for the purposes of professional services, and other specialized technical services related to facilities maintenance, shall be subject to the provisions of this paragraph;
(xi) Part-time employees; provided, however, part-time employees shall only be hired into authorized employment positions classified by the board, shall meet minimum qualifications as set by the board, and shall be paid in accordance with the Variable Compensation Plan as certified by the board;
(xii) Persons appointed on an emergency basis for the duration of the emergency; the effective date of the emergency appointments shall not be earlier than the date approved by the State Personnel Director, and shall be limited to thirty (30) working days. Emergency appointments may be extended to sixty (60) working days by the State Personnel Board;
(xiii) Physicians, dentists, veterinarians, nurse practitioners and attorneys, while serving in their professional capacities in authorized employment positions who are required by statute to be licensed, registered or otherwise certified as such, provided that the State Personnel Director shall verify that the statutory qualifications are met prior to issuance of a payroll warrant by the Auditor;
(xiv) Personnel who are employed and paid from funds received from a federal grant program which has been approved by the Legislature or the Department of Finance and Administration whose length of employment has been determined to be time-limited in nature. This subparagraph shall apply to personnel employed under the provisions of the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act of 1973, as amended, and other special federal grant programs which are not a part of regular federally funded programs wherein appropriations and employment positions are appropriated by the Legislature. Such employees shall be paid in accordance with the Variable Compensation Plan and shall meet all qualifications required by federal statutes or by the Mississippi Classification Plan;
(xv) The administrative head who is in charge of any state department, agency, institution, board or commission, wherein the statute specifically authorizes the Governor, board, commission or other authority to appoint said administrative head; provided, however, that the salary of such administrative head shall be determined by the State Personnel Board in accordance with the Variable Compensation Plan unless otherwise fixed by statute;
(xvi) The State Personnel Board shall exclude top level positions if the incumbents determine and publicly advocate substantive program policy and report directly to the agency head, or the incumbents are required to maintain a direct confidential working relationship with a key excluded official. Provided further, a written job classification shall be approved by the board for each such position, and positions so excluded shall be paid in conformity with the Variable Compensation Plan;
(xvii) Employees whose employment is solely in connection with an agency's contract to produce, store or transport goods, and whose compensation is derived therefrom;
* * *
(xviii) The associate director, deputy directors and bureau directors within the Department of Agriculture and Commerce.
(d) "Agency" means any state board, commission, committee, council, department or unit thereof created by the Constitution or statutes if such board, commission, committee, council, department, unit or the head thereof, is authorized to appoint subordinate staff by the Constitution or statute, except a legislative or judicial board, commission, committee, council, department or unit thereof.
SECTION 3. Section 25-9-115, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
25-9-115. It shall be the specific duty and function of the State Personnel Board to:
(a) Represent the public interest in the improvement of personnel administration in the state departments, agencies and institutions covered by the State Personnel System;
(b) Determine appropriate goals and objectives for the State Personnel System and prescribe policies for their accomplishment, with the assistance of the Mississippi Personnel Advisory Council;
(c) Adopt and amend policies, rules and regulations establishing and maintaining the State Personnel System. Such rules and regulations shall not be applicable to the emergency hiring of employees by the Public Employees' Retirement System pursuant to Section 25-11-15(7). The rules and regulations of the Mississippi Classification Commission and the Mississippi Coordinated Merit System Council serving federal grant-aided agencies in effect on February 1, 1981, shall remain in effect until amended, changed, modified or repealed by the board;
(d) Ensure uniformity in all functions of personnel administration in those agencies required to comply with the provisions of this chapter;
(e) Appoint an employee appeals board, consisting of three (3) hearing officers, for the purpose of holding hearings, compiling evidence and rendering decisions on employee dismissals and other personnel matters as provided for in Sections 25-9-127 through 25-9-131;
(f) Assure uniformity in the administration of state and federal laws relating to merit administration;
(g) Establish an annual budget covering all the costs of board operations;
(h) With the assistance of the Mississippi Personnel Advisory Council, promote public understanding of the purposes, policies and practices of the State Personnel System and advise and assist the state departments, agencies and institutions in fostering sound principles of personnel management and securing the interest of institutions of learning and of civic, professional and other organizations in the improvement of personnel standards under the State Personnel System;
(i) Recommend policies and procedures for the establishment and abolishment of employment positions within state government and develop a system for the efficient use of personnel resources;
(j) Cooperate with state institutions of higher learning in implementing a career management program in state agencies for graduate students in public administration in order to provide state government with a steady flow of professional public managerial talent;
(k) Prescribe rules which shall provide that an employee in state service is not obliged, by reason of his employment, to contribute to a political fund or to render political service, and that he may not be removed or otherwise prejudiced for refusal to do so;
(l) Prescribe rules which shall provide that an employee in state service shall not use his official authority or influence to coerce the political action of a person or body;
(m) Annually report to the Governor and Legislature on the operation of the State Personnel System and the status of personnel administration in state government;
(n) Require submission and approve organization and staffing plans of departments and agencies in state and nonstate service on such forms and according to such regulations as the board may prescribe to control and limit the growth of subordinate executive and administrative units and positions and to provide for agency staff reorganization without prior board approval when authority to reorganize has been delegated to an agency as provided in paragraph (p);
(o) In coordination with appointing authorities, set the annual salaries of those appointed officials whose salaries are not otherwise set by statute who work on a full-time basis in the capacity of agency head, executive director or administrator of any state department, agency, institution, board or commission under the jurisdiction of the State Personnel Board as provided in Section 25-9-101 et seq., in conformity with the State Personnel Board's compensation plan;
(p) Authorize the director to enter into formal agreements with department executive directors and agency directors in which employment positions within their agencies may be reallocated and organization charts amended without prior State Personnel Board approval; provided, however, that such agreements shall be revocable by the State Personnel Board and continuation shall be contingent upon the reallocations and reorganizations being conducted in accordance with rules and regulations promulgated by the State Personnel Board. In the event the State Personnel Board has delegated reallocation authority to an agency, this delegation does not remove the requirement that agencies submit personal services budget requests each fiscal year for the purpose of preparing personal services continuation budget projections. Such budget requests shall be prepared in accordance with the policies, rules and regulations promulgated by the Department of Finance and Administration, the Legislative Budget Office and the State Personnel Board. Prior to making any reallocation or reorganization effective, each appointing authority who has entered into an agreement as provided in this paragraph (p) shall certify to the State Personnel Board that the total annualized cost of any reallocation or reorganization, shall be equal to or less than the cost savings generated through downward reallocation or position abolishment of vacant positions.
The personnel board shall maintain a record of every personnel transaction executed under authority delegated pursuant to this paragraph (p) and shall annually report the total cost of these transactions, by agency, to the Legislative Budget Office and the Department of Finance and Administration.
The State Personnel Board shall prescribe rules requiring the State Personnel Director to perform a compliance audit and evaluation of personnel transactions executed under authority delegated pursuant to this paragraph (p) and to publish a report of the audit listing exceptions taken by the State Personnel Director not later than the first of October each year. In the event the State Personnel Board determines that an agency has misclassified an employee or position as a result of this delegated authority, the State Personnel Board shall be authorized to correct such misclassification regardless of the state service status of the employee holding such position. Authority to correct such misclassifications of filled positions shall be limited to one (1) year from the date which the State Personnel Board receives written notice of the reallocation;
(q) Require that if an employment position has been determined to be in need of reallocation from one occupational class to another, the employee occupying the position shall meet the minimum qualifications for the occupational class to which the position is being reallocated in order for the position to be eligible for the reallocation. However, when a reallocation is based upon an agency reorganization due to documented funds constraints, documented change in agency function, or legislative mandate, a position may be reallocated with prior approval of the State Personnel Board;
(r) Implement a reduction-in-force policy which shall apply uniformly to all state agencies and which shall require that the appointing authority develop an equitable and systematic plan for implementation of an agency-wide reduction-in-force. If a proposed reduction-in-force is the result of a curtailment of funds, the State Personnel Board shall review the proposed reduction-in-force plan only upon written certification of a funds shortage from the Department of Finance and Administration. Further, the State Personnel Board shall ensure that any reduction-in-force plan complies with all applicable policies, rules and regulations of the State Personnel Board;
(s) Implement a furlough (involuntary leave without pay) policy which shall apply uniformly to all executive and subordinate employees within an agency, regardless of job class. The State Personnel Board shall review furlough plans only upon written certification of a funds shortage from the Department of Finance and Administration. The State Personnel Board shall ensure that any furlough plan complies with all applicable policies, rules and regulations of the State Personnel Board;
(t) Require the posting of all job openings in state government agencies subject to the provisions of this chapter.
(u) This section shall stand repealed from and after June 30, 1998.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.