DEFINITION OF CLASS:
This is advanced level investigative work involving research and conciliation of complaints and enforcement of applicable laws, regulations and Executive Orders. Work may also involve administration of auxiliary or supplemental functions developed to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the work unit or agency. Contacts include employees in other County departments, state and federal agencies; a range of persons in private businesses/not-for-profits; attorneys and officials in the civil justice system; consumers, civic groups, common ownership community boards; and others. The contacts are made to obtain case-specific or case law information; provide consumer education; serve on task forces and commissions as technical experts; make referrals; seek cooperation of complainants, respondents and witnesses; take or recommend action; mediate (formally or informally) in person and by telephone; testify authoritatively in court on high-profile or high-stakes matters; and in other ways process and resolve complaints and help solve related problems. Public service/assistance, which is provided on demand, is a primary reason for existence of the class. There is an ongoing duty to inform, educate and help (or sanction) property owners, consumers, merchants, civic groups and other parties. The duration of assistance may range from a brief, concise answer to a lengthy, involved process to determine the scope of the problem(s), identify pertinent issues, key parties and critical facts. Many times, investigations require specialized questioning and mature judgment to sort through information, obtain cooperation, avoid or minimize conflict or hostility and provide the appropriate governmental response.
An employee in this class is responsible for performing a variety of assignments involving investigation of complex legal issues that may involve unusual problems, such as human rights, consumer protection, or landlord/tenant cases, review of cases for jurisdiction, and/or overseeing important administrative or technical functions. Case investigation involves researching and conciliating complaints in which the issues of fact and applicability of the law are often unclear and which may involve complex, nonstandard legal, technical and practical variables and sensitive situations. The work is performed independently consistent with priorities, policies, procedures and standards. Unusual situations may be referred to the supervisor for assistance. Work is reviewed for effectiveness or results and objectives achieved, but techniques and approaches are expected to be technically sound and practically appropriate. Guidelines consist of Federal, State and local codes and regulations and agency policies and procedures which are stated in general terms, which may require the employee to use initiative and resourcefulness in deviating from traditional methods or researching new trends. The employee researches and interprets case law, court decisions, regulations and administrative guidelines to determine applicability to cases under investigation. The employee may use initiative and resourcefulness in deviating from traditional methods some times. The complexity of the work is characterized by the wide variety of processes and methods involved in the work and the level of investigation necessary to determine the facts of the case which are often unclear and involve a wide range of issues; the ambiguity of the laws, regulations and guides involved; the depth of analysis of incomplete or contradictory data in order to prepare lengthy written case documentation and determinations; and the creativity involved in developing an appropriate and acceptable settlement proposal. The work of this class is directly involved in and may affect the programs of the agencies involved and provides a complaint/conflict resolution service to the public. The work is primarily sedentary in nature, performed in a typical office setting, and most often is subject to common everyday risks. However, an employee may make occasional visits to businesses or residences where he/she is exposed to abusive, aggressive or unpredictable behavior by complainants, respondents or others.
EXAMPLE OF DUTIES: (Illustrative Only)
Plans and conducts complex investigations of complaints involving extensive
fact finding studies; unclear issues of fact or law; identification of
varied issues involved; need for additional information, and effective
methods for obtaining information; interview of complainant(s), respondent(s),
witnesses and experts; selection and analysis of respondent's business
records and company policies to develop evidence; review and interpretation
of legal documents, such as contracts, warranties and leases; maintenance
of detailed records of the fact finding process and evidence gathered.
Complaints may involve multiple issues, complainants or respondents or
sensitive and controversial issues in areas such as human rights, consumer
protection and common ownership communities.
Prepares lengthy and detailed formal documentation of findings and conclusions.
Determines if a violation of a law, regulation or Executive Order has occurred; analyzes and evaluates evidence; interprets State and Federal laws and regulations, County Code and Executive Orders. Regularly consults with attorneys and references court decisions and precedent cases to establish inferential violation. Prepares cases for administrative enforcement, hearings and court.
Conducts negotiations between parties to achieve settlement prior to a formal cause/no cause determination; drafts responses to Motions to Strike Interrogatories, responses to Appeals, Pre Determination Settlement Agreements, or Cease and Desist and Assurance of Discontinuance Agreements; secures signatures of all parties and monitors compliance; works with County Attorney when case escalates to a level which requires County Attorney representation.
Reviews complaints for jurisdiction and assignment.
Conducts formal and informal conciliation conferences.
Negotiates voluntary settlements.
Testifies in public hearings and court proceedings.
Provides technical and practical information in area(s) of assignment to the general public and participates in public education efforts by making presentations before civic groups, teaching courses, and preparing public information pamphlets; may represent the County in media interviews and may help maintain a website.
Serves as an expert in area of assignment on task forces, commissions and interagency or intergovernmental groups.
May recommend and draft regulations, operating procedures, proposed legislation, and/or public information materials.
Informs complainants, respondents and other parties of their legal rights and obligations, consistent with the programmatic area(s) of assignment and nature of the case.
Coordinates technical or administrative programs, such as the recruitment, training, assignment and assessment of volunteer investigative staff, the operation of an arbitration program to resolve complaints or the operation and administration of licensing programs.
Makes referrals to social service agencies, as appropriate, and may intervene according to guidelines to ensure assistance.
May review work of lower level employees, volunteers and interns.
Conducts special studies as necessary.
Coordinates investigations, enforcement, conciliation and public education efforts with other County agencies or agencies outside County government.
Performs related duties as required.
Experience: Four (4) years of experience in an investigatory capacity
directly related to field of assignment.
Education: Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Bachelor's Degree.
Equivalency: An equivalent combination of education and experience may be substituted.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
Considerable knowledge of County, State, and Federal laws, regulations, court decisions, and issues related to program area(s) of assignment and the ability to apply this knowledge to a variety of complex or unusual/nonstandard cases.
Considerable and detailed knowledge of and skill in applying methods and techniques of fact finding, interview techniques, analysis, and resolution of complex or unusual problems. This includes skill in reasoning and decision-making, ability to collect information that is not easily accessible, and ability to assess contradictory data and issues that are not readily apparent.
Considerable knowledge of the structure, practices, procedures and standards of businesses or of specific operating practices covered by the laws and regulations being enforced.
Knowledge of a technical specialty related to the field of assignment may be required.
Well-developed interpersonal skills to interact effectively with diverse contacts in emotionally-charged, high-profile or high-stakes matters.
Well-developed skill in handling complex negotiations with tact, resourcefulness, and good judgment. This includes ability to perceive, understand and effectively evaluate others' viewpoints, positions and opinions to resolve problems or reach objectives
Skill in oral communication to establish a fact-pattern, partly through communication with others, help mediate or negotiate settlements, and testify authoritatively in hearings and court.
Skill in written communication to review and prepare case documentation, settlement agreements, correspondence, information papers and other written materials.
Skill in using modern office software suites and specialized databases to communicate, use data and perform other tasks.
Skill in working independently, to include planning, organizing, and coordinating the work effort and interpreting policy and moving forward in areas of uncertainty.
Ability and willingness to attend meetings or perform work at locations outside the office when necessary.
Individuals appointed or promoted to this class will be required to serve a probationary period of six months, during which time performance will be carefully evaluated. Continuation in this class will be contingent upon successful completion of the probationary period.
MEDICAL PROTOCOL: Medical History Review
Class Established: July 1975
Revised: July 1983
February 2005 (M)