2001 Regular Session
To: Fees, Salaries and Administration; Appropriations
By: Senator(s) Thames, Huggins, Williamson, Furniss, Gordon, Michel, White (5th), Kirby, White (29th), Hamilton, Walls, Gollott, Stogner, Lee, Robertson, King, Chaney, Turner, Carmichael, Ross, Carlton, Cuevas, Minor, Jordan, Jackson, Johnson (19th), Dawkins, Frazier, Harvey, Mettetal, Dickerson, Burton, Scoper, Moffatt
Senate Bill 2414
AN ACT TO REQUIRE THE PEER COMMITTEE TO ESTABLISH AND MAINTAIN A TOLL-FREE GRIEVANCE REPORTING TELEPHONE SYSTEM FOR THE RECEIPT AND REFERRAL FOR INVESTIGATION OF ALL COMPLAINTS CONCERNING EMPLOYEE COURTESY AND SERVICE FROM STATE AGENCIES THAT SERVE THE GENERAL PUBLIC; TO REQUIRE STATE AGENCIES THAT SERVE THE GENERAL PUBLIC TO POST IN A CONSPICUOUS PLACE A SIGN PRINTED THEREON THE TOLL-FREE TELEPHONE NUMBER; TO REQUIRE THE PEER COMMITTEE TO SUBMIT A SUMMARY OF THE COMPLAINT ACTIVITY TO THE MEMBERS OF THE JOINT LEGISLATIVE BUDGET COMMITTEE; TO AUTHORIZE THE PEER COMMITTEE TO CONDUCT A COMPLETE REVIEW OF ANY TELEPHONE COMPLAINT AT ITS DISCRETION; TO INSURE THE CONFIDENTIALITY OF PEER RECORDS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) In order to determine the effectiveness of a toll-free complaint hot line, the PEER Committee shall operate a toll-free complaint hot line for a period of six (6) months, beginning July 1, 2001, and ending December 31, 2001, as a pilot project. In conducting this pilot project, the PEER Committee shall select five (5) counties in the state, one (1) from each of the congressional districts as currently constituted, and shall notify all state agencies operating offices in such counties that they must post in a conspicuous place a sign printed with the question, "How am I serving you?," the toll-free telephone number of the Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review (PEER), and instructions on how complaints about agency courtesy and service may be referred to the PEER Committee. The Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review (PEER) shall provide each agency with a design for the above-described sign. All such signs shall be produced at the expense of each agency, and shall be posted in all agency offices in the five (5) counties selected by the PEER Committee for inclusion in the pilot project.
(2) The Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review (PEER) shall establish and maintain a toll-free grievance reporting telephone system for the receipt of all complaints concerning employee courtesy and service from state agencies that serve the general public in the five (5) counties selected by the PEER Committee for inclusion in the pilot project.
(3) Upon receipt of a complaint, the Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review (PEER) shall notify the executive director of any agency that was the subject of any telephone courtesy or service complaint and shall refer such complaint to the agency for investigation. Any agency which was the subject of a telephone complaint shall provide PEER with a report on corrective actions taken in response to such complaint.
(4) The Joint Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review (PEER), at its discretion, may retain any telephone courtesy or service complaint, or any component of such complaint, to serve as the basis for a complete performance evaluation, expenditure review, audit or investigation. Reports of the outcome of such performance evaluations, expenditure review, audits or investigations shall be made as provided for in Section 5-3-61. The authority to receive and refer telephone complaints on agency courtesy and service is supplemental to all other authority granted to the PEER Committee by law. Nothing included in this section shall be construed as diminishing the authority of the PEER Committee to conduct any performance evaluation, expenditure review, audit or investigation in accordance with any other provision of law.
(5) No report required under this section shall require the Joint Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review (PEER) to disclose any information which by committee rules is required to be kept confidential.
(6) For purposes of this section, the term "state agencies" means any agency as defined in Section 25-9-107(d).
SECTION 2. By December 15, 2001, the PEER Committee shall prepare a report to the Legislature on the effectiveness of this pilot project. The committee shall consider the following factors in preparing the study: the responsiveness of agencies to whom complaints were forwarded, the impact of the pilot program on PEER workload, the cost of handling each complaint, and any other factors the PEER Committee considers appropriate to an evaluation of the pilot project.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2001, and shall stand repealed from and after January 1, 2002.