October 14, 2005

(For Board: October 28, 2005)

 

REPORT OF THE RULES, POLICY AND INDUSTRIAL

RELATIONS COMMITTEE/COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE

 

Honorable Board of Directors

Golden Gate Bridge, Highway

  and Transportation District

Honorable Members:

A meeting of the Rules, Policy and Industrial Relations Committee/Committee of the Whole was held in the Board Room, Administration Building, Toll Plaza, San Francisco, California, on Friday, October 14, 2005, at 9:00 a.m., Chair Pahre presiding.

Committee Members Present (5): Chair Pahre; Directors Hernández, Martini and Newhouse Segal; President Middlebrook (Ex Officio)

Committee Members Absent (2): Vice Chair Murray; Director McGoldrick

Other Directors Present (5): Directors Boro, Cochran, Eddie, Moylan and Reilly

Committee of the Whole Members Present (10): Directors Cochran, Eddie, Hernández, Martini, Newhouse Segal, Pahre and Reilly; Second Vice President Boro; First Vice President Moylan; President Middlebrook

Committee of the Whole Members Absent (9): Directors Ammiano, Brown, Dufty, Kerns, McGoldrick, Murray, Sandoval, Shahum and Stroeh

Staff Present: General Manager Celia G. Kupersmith; District Engineer Denis J. Mulligan; Auditor-Controller Joseph M. Wire; Secretary of the District Janet S. Tarantino; Attorneys David J. Miller and Jerry Schaefer; Deputy General Manager/Bridge Division Kary H. Witt; Deputy General Manager/Bus Division Susan C. Chiaroni; Deputy General Manager/Ferry Division James P. Swindler; Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Teri W. Mantony; Director of Human Resources Larry Daniel; DBE Program Administrator Aida S. Caputo; Executive Assistant to the General Manager Amorette Ko; Assistant Clerk of the Board Patsy Whala

Visitors Present:  Family of Director Newhouse Segal; Tom Harrison

 

1. Administer Oath of Office to Lynne Newhouse Segal

Secretary of the District Janet S. Tarantino administered the Oath of Office to Lynne Newhouse Segal, appointed to the Board of Directors of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District by the Board of Supervisors of the City and County San Francisco.

Director Newhouse Segal addressed the Board, thanking them for their warm wishes and hearty welcome and expressing her enthusiasm in becoming a member of such a distinguished Board of Directors.
   
2. Annual Progress Report on FY 04/05 Diversity Program for Contracts and Status Report on FY 05/06 Annual Overall Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Goals

In a memorandum to Committee, DBE Program Administrator Aida Caputo, Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Teri Mantony and General Manager Celia Kupersmith provided an annual progress report for the FY 04/05 Diversity Program for Contracts, a status report on the FY 05/06 Annual Overall Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Goals and an update on the DBE program.  A DBE is a small business concern that is at least 51% owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, historically ethnic minorities and women of any race. 

Annual Progress Report on FY 04/05 Diversity Program for Contracts

The report provided an analysis of DBE contract and procurement awards and commitments during FY 04/05.  The report also outlined total disbursements for District-wide contracts and procurements, as well as FTA-assisted contracts, and the amounts attributed to DBE contracts and subcontracts.  The report stated that although no annual overall DBE goal was established for District-wide contracts and procurements, the District achieved an overall 8% DBE participation during FY 04/05.  In addition, with an established annual DBE goal of 5% for Federal Transit Administration (FTA)-assisted contracts, the District anticipates achieving an 8% DBE participation for FTA contracts.  For Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)-assisted contracts, the District established a 12% overall project goal applicable to the Golden Gate Bridge Seismic Retrofit Phase IIIA – North Anchorage Housing/North Pylon project.  Since this project contains contracts that have not yet been awarded, it would be premature to report on the anticipated DBE participation at this time.

Status Report on FY 05/06 Annual Overall Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Goals

The report also stated that the Board of Directors, by Resolution No. 2005-057 at its meeting of June 24, 2005, approved for publication the proposed FY 05/06 annual overall DBE goals for contracts assisted by the United States Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT).  The Board authorized the General Manager to formally adopt the goals if no comments were received that required further consideration or modifications to the proposed goals.  The proposed 7% DBE goal was published in late July 2005 and no comments were received by the deadline of September 7, 2005.  Therefore, the District has adopted a 7% FY 05/06 Annual Overall DBE Goals applicable to FTA-assisted contracts and a 2% goal applicable to FHWA-assisted contracts.    

Update on Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program

 

In light of the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in May 2005, regarding the constitutionality of DBE programs (Western States Paving Co. vs. Washington State Department of Transportation), the permissibility of using race-conscious methods to achieve DBE participation is subject to question.  While the Court upheld the constitutionality of the federal DBE regulations, it found the application of the DBE Program unconstitutional in this case, because the defendant failed to demonstrate that its program was “narrowly tailored” to remedy the effects of racial/gender discrimination and did not have sufficient evidence to justify their DBE goals.  Since the issuance of the final DBE rule in February 1999, the District has relied upon race-neutral measures to meet its annual overall goals, making the District less likely to be challenged by unsuccessful bidders. The District will continue to use race-neutral measures to meet its annual overall goals and will closely monitor any guidance from the U.S. Department of Transportation that may be issued as a result of this recent court decision.  A copy of the report is available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

Action by the Board – None Required

   
3.

Approve Revisions to Human Resources Policies and Amend the Human Resources Guide

In a memorandum to Committee, Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Teri Mantony and General Manager Celia Kupersmith reported on staff’s recommendation to approve revisions to the Human Resources Guide (Guide) relative to Employment of Family Members (Nepotism), Temporary Assignment; Employment Statuses, Layoff and the Identification Card policies.

The report stated that staff continues to review and update the Guide on an ongoing basis.  The Guide applies to non-represented employees, but is frequently used as a guideline for represented positions when the relevant Memorandum of Understanding is silent on a particular subject.  The policies brought forward at this time cover various issues which have arisen either in the normal course of business or have resulted from recent District experience with layoffs and with rehires of laid off employees. 

Employment of Family Members (Nepotism)

The report stated that in a thorough review of the District’s current policy regarding “Employment of Family Members,” the District is restricted by California law regarding limitations it can place on the hiring of the spouse of a District employee.  Staff recommends that the current policy be rewritten for clarification purposes, as well as inclusion of more specific language and requirements in certain areas that are permissible under the law.

The report outlines the key changes in the proposed policy regarding nepotism, including the expressed intent to help avoid misunderstandings, acts of favoritism or the perception of favoritism.  The definition of a “relative” would be expanded to include domestic partners and half brothers and sisters.  The relatives of a domestic partner would be considered the same as those of a spouse (in-laws).  In addition, employees would be required to report a change in circumstances, such as marriage of two employees, becoming related to another employee, or when they share living quarters with one another.  This must be reported in writing within 30 days of such change.  This would allow the District to assess potential problems relative to supervision, safety, security, morale, potential conflicts of interests or hazards.  In the past employees were only encouraged to report these changes.  If an employee does not report a change in circumstances to the Human Resources, the employee subject to termination.   

If potential problems as cited above exist or could reasonably exist, efforts to assign job duties to minimize such problems would be made.  If no reasonable accommodation is feasible, the employee(s) could be terminated.  This was not the case in the past.  Employees would be asked to sign a statement of understanding regarding the relationship and any exception made to the policy.  This statement would reinforce the policy and remind employees that an exemption to the policy may be cancelled at any time by the General Manager. The revised, “Employment of Family Members (Nepotism)” policy, is provided as an attachment to this report.

Temporary Assignment

The report stated that current District policy allows the General Manager to appoint an employee to serve in a temporary assignment for a period of up to six months when situations such as special projects occur or when positions are under review for possible reorganization.  Staff recommends that the current policy be revised for clarification purposes.

The report outlined the key changes in the proposed policy regarding temporary assignment, including the clarification of a temporary assignment and the authorization for the General Manager to grant up to one additional six-month extension.  Further, assignments could be made to address emergency situations such as the need for heightened security.  In addition, the policy would now state that the employee must be capable of performing key functions of the assignment, although not necessarily all work associated with a specific position.  The reported noted that, for purposes of being placed in a position with “Acting Pay,” the individual must be qualified for the position.  The revised, “Temporary Assignment” policy, is provided as an attachment to this report.

Employment Statuses

The report stated that the Board of Directors, by Resolution No. 2001-151 at its meeting of September 28, 2001, approved a new Employment Statuses policy which addressed temporary employees and provisional employees.  Staff recommends that this policy be revised to reflect points of clarification and additional issues that have occurred since that time.

The report described employee statuses and outlined the key changes in the proposed policy.  The District has hired provisional employees on a case-by-case basis, and typically for positions which require extensive training and/or difficult recruitment.  The proposed policy change would include language which specifies that these positions will be used when not practical to place an existing employee in acting pay status or in a temporary assignment.  Provisional employees have been eligible for health benefits, sick and vacation accruals benefits and holiday pay; however, there have been circumstances when a provisional employee has requested District leave.  Since a provisional employee is usually filling in for a regular employee who is out on leave, it is not in the District’s best interest to have two employees out on leave with continued paid medical benefits for the same position.  Under this proposal, the District would allow leaves for provisional employees only if such leaves are mandated by law.  Staff proposes to add language to the policy which would state that a provisional employee who is unavailable for work can be terminated.  The revised, “Employment Statuses” policy, is provided as an attachment to this report.

Layoff

The report further stated that the Board of Directors, by Resolution No. 2003-098 at its meeting of September 12, 2003, amended its layoff policy to allow a regular employee recall rights up to 24 months, as well as a 12-month extension, with the General Manager’s approval, along with three months of paid health coverage (COBRA).  Staff recommends that specific language be adopted for employees who are returning to work for temporary work either in positions which are in the same classification they left, or perhaps in a totally different classification for which they are qualified.  The District has allowed these individuals to be treated with “provisional status” in order to give them access to medical benefits and other District amenities.  The “Reinstatement” section of the Layoff policy would now be modified to include specific language to address employees who return to jobs other than the classification from which they were laid off and also for temporary work. 

The report outlines the key provisions which are patterned after those for an employee being recalled.  An employee returning to work in a position other than the one from which he/she was laid off would be reinstated with vacation accrual levels equivalent to that when laid off.  No service credit would be given for the time period of actual layoff.  Accumulated sick leave accruals at the time of layoff would be credited to the employee. Seniority would prevail for purposes of returning to the same classification from which the employee was laid off only when specifically provided in an MOU.  It would not apply to a non-represented employee. An employee working a temporary assignment during layoff would be eligible for medical benefits, provided they work the first scheduled day of the month (same as other employees).  Sick and vacation accruals would be earned at the rate at the time of layoff.  No service credit would be given for the actual layoff period or for the time spent in a temporary assignment.  These temporary employees would not be eligible for District leave policies other than as required by law.  The revised, “Layoff” policy, is provided as an attachment to this report.

Identification Card

The report further stated that the District issues an employee identification card upon hire for its regular employees, both part-time and full-time, as well as provisional employees.  This card allows them access to various areas throughout the District for which they are authorized, as well as free regularly scheduled transportation on the District’s Bus and Ferry systems.  The card also allows the employee to cross the Golden Gate Bridge in an automobile at no charge as either the vehicle’s driver or passenger.  Staff recommends that the policy be revised to include language regarding security access.

The report outlines the key changes to this policy that are increasingly important as the District moves from key access to electronic access throughout its facilities.  The policy clarifies that card access would be deactivated during disciplinary suspensions, and keys would be collected.  Employee benefits, including transportation and toll privileges would be retained.  Also, persons abusing use of the card itself, such as loaning it to someone else, would not only be subject to card confiscation, but the proposed policy will allow for disciplinary action up to and including termination.  The proposed policy would clearly state that temporary employees would not be granted transportation or toll privileges, unless it is specifically required to complete the assigned work.  The revised, “Identification Card” policy, is provided as an attachment to this report.

Finally, the staff report stated that all of these policy changes will be communicated to employees following Board approval.  Although the policies apply to non-represented employees, those bargaining units who currently have people in layoff status who are working temporary assignments or provisional employees will also be contacted.  The identification card and nepotism policy would apply to all employees, including union employees, and appropriate notification will be given to the unions as well as the employees.  A copy of the report, including the attachments, is available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

At the meeting, Teri Mantony summarized the staff report.  She informed the Committee that staff performed a survey with other companies in the Bay Area regarding the “Employment of Family Members (Nepotism)” policy and that survey is summarized in a chart which was attached to the staff report.  Ms. Mantony commended the efforts of the Human Resources Director Larry Daniel for his work on this project.   

Discussion ensued, including the following:

  • Director Martini requested clarification regarding the policy addressing relationships in the workplace.  In response, Ms. Kupersmith stated that some romantic relationships can show up in the workplace as sexual harassment cases.  Further, sexual harassment training and policies address such matters.
  • Director Hernández requested clarification on the proposed policy changes regarding a leave of absence for a provisional employee.  In response, Ms. Mantony stated that the proposed changes affect District policy only and do not affect any leaves for employees who are eligible for certain kinds of leave per state and federal laws.
  • Director Boro inquired as to the reason why a suspended employee would retain transportation and toll privileges.  In response, Ms. Mantony stated that transportation and toll privileges are considered employee benefits, and that employee benefits are retained during a period of suspension.  

Staff recommended, and the Committee concurred by motion made and seconded by Directors MARTINI/REILLY to forward the following recommendation to the Board of Directors for its consideration:

RECOMMENDATION

The Rules, Policy and Industrial Relations Committee recommends that the Board of Directors approve revisions to the following human resources policies, as outlined in Attachment A, and amend the Human Resources Guide accordingly:

  • Employment of Family Members (Nepotism);
  • Temporary Assignment;
  • Employment Statuses;
  • Layoff; and,
  • Identification Card.

Action by the Board - Resolution

NON-CONSENT CALENDAR

AYES (10):      Directors Cochran, Eddie, Hernández, Martini, Newhouse Segal, Pahre and Reilly; Second Vice President Boro; First Vice President Moylan; President Middlebrook

NOES (0):        None
   
4.

Public Comment

There was no public comment.
   
5.

Adjournment

All business having been concluded, the meeting was declared adjourned at 9:30 a.m.
   

Respectfully submitted,

Barbara L. Pahre, Chair

Rules, Policy and Industrial Relations Committee

Attachment:      Revised Policies from the Human Resources Guide