Mission - top
The mission of the Merit System Protection Board is to oversee the merit system and protect County Government Employees and Job Applicant rights guaranteed under the merit system law.
Composition of the Merit System Protection Board - top
The Merit System Protection Board is composed of three members who are appointed by the County Council, pursuant to Article 4, Section 403 of the Charter of Montgomery County, Maryland Board members are County residents and are not employed by the County in any other capacity. One member is appointed each year to serve a term of three years. No member can hold political office or participate in any campaign for any political or public office during the member's term of office. Members of the Board conduct work sessions and hearings in the evenings as required, and are compensated with a set annual salary as prescribed by law. The Board is supported with a part-time Executive Director and Executive Administrative Aide.
Current members are:
Julie Martin-Korb, Chair
Rodella E. Berry, Vice Chair
Raul E. Chavera Jr., Associate Member
Duties and Responsibilities of the Merit System Protection Board - top
The duties of the Merit System Protection Board are contained in Article 4, Merit System and Conflicts of Interest, Section 404, Duties of the Merit System Protection Board, of the Charter of Montgomery County, Maryland; Article II Merit System, Chapter 33, of the Montgomery County Code; and Section 1-12, Merit System Protection Board of the Montgomery County Personnel Regulations, 1994.
Section 404, Duties of the Merit System Protection Board, states as follows:
"Any employee under the merit system who is removed, demoted or suspended shall have, as a matter of right, an opportunity for a hearing before the Merit System Protection Board, which may assign the matter to a hearing examiner to conduct a hearing and provide the Board with a report and recommendations. The charges against the employee shall be stated in writing, in such form as the Board shall require."
If the Board assigns the matter to a hearing examiner, any party to the proceeding shall have, as a matter of right, an oral argument on the record before the Board prior to a final decision. The Board shall establish procedures consistent with law for the conduct of its hearings. The decisions of the Board in such appeals shall not be subject to review except by a court of competent jurisdiction. The Council shall provide by law for the investigation and resolution of formal grievances filed under the merit system and any additional duties or responsibilities of the Board. The Board shall conduct on a periodic basis special studies and audits of the administration of the merit and retirement pay systems and file written reports of its findings and recommendations with the Executive and the Council. The Board shall comment on any proposed changes in the merit system law or regulations in a timely manner as provided by law."
Section 33-7. County Executive and Merit System Protection Board Responsibilities, Article II, Merit System of the Montgomery County Code, defines the Merit System Protection Board responsibilities as follows:
"(a) Generally. In performing its functions, the Board is expected to protect the merit system and to protect employee and applicant rights guaranteed under the merit system, including protection against arbitrary and capricious recruitment and supervisory actions, support for recruitment and supervisory actions demonstrated by the facts to be proper, and to approach these matters without any bias or predilection to either supervisors or subordinates. The remedial and enforcement powers of the Board granted herein shall be fully exercised by the Board as needed to rectify personnel actions found to be improper. The Board shall comment on any proposed changes in the merit system law or regulations, at or before public hearing thereon. The Board, subject to the appropriation process, shall be responsible for establishing its staffing requirements necessary to properly implement its duties and to define the duties of such staff."
"(c) Classification Standards. The Board shall conduct or authorize periodic audits of classification assignments made by the Chief Administrative Officer and of the general structure and internal consistency of the classification plan, and submit findings and recommendations to the County Executive and County Council."
"(d) Personnel Regulations Review. The Merit System Protection Board shall meet and confer with the Chief Administrative Officer and employees and their organizations from time to time to review the need to amend these Regulations."
"(e) Adjudication. The Board shall hear and decide disciplinary appeals or grievances upon the request of a Merit System employee who has been removed, demoted or suspended and in such other cases as required herein."
"(f) Retirement. The Board may from time to time prepare and recommend to the Council modifications to the County's system of retirement pay."
"(g) Personnel Management Oversight. The Board shall review and study the administration of the County classification and retirement plans and other aspects of the Merit System and transmit to the Chief Administrative Officer, County Executive and the County Council its findings and recommendations. The Board shall conduct such special studies and audits on any matter relating to personnel as may be periodically requested by the County Council. All County agencies, departments and offices and County employees and organizations thereof shall cooperate with the Board and have adequate notice and an opportunity to participate in any such review initiated under this Section."
"(h) Publication. Consistent with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act, confidentiality, and other provisions of law, the Board shall publish, at least annually, abstracts of its decisions, rulings, opinions and interpretations, and maintain a permanent record of its decisions."
"(i) Public Forum. The Board shall convene at least annually a public forum on personnel management in the County Government to examine the implementation of Charter requirements and the Merit System law."
Section 1-12, (b) Audits, Investigations and Inquiries, of the Montgomery County Personnel Regulations, 1994 states:
"The Merit Board shall have the responsibility and authority to conduct audits, investigations or inquiries to assure that administration of the merit system is in compliance with the Merit System Law and these regulations. The results of each audit, investigation or inquiry shall be transmitted to the County Council, County Executive, and Chief Administrative Officer with appropriate recommendations for corrective action necessary."
Appeals Process - top
The Personnel Regulations provide an opportunity for Merit System employees and applicants to file appeals with the Merit System Protection Board. Once the notice of appeal has been filed, the Appellant has ten work days to submit additional information required by Section 30.4 Appeal Period of the Personnel Regulations. After this information is received, the appeal is processed in one of two ways.
First, if the appeal involves a suspension, demotion, or dismissal, a hearing is scheduled. In cases involving suspension or dismissal, at least ten work days advance notice of the pre-hearing is given, with thirty work days notice given in all other cases. Upon completion of the pre-hearing, a formal hearing date is agreed upon by all parties. After the hearing, the Board prepares and issues a written decision.
The second method for processing appeals requires the development of a written record. Upon receipt of the notice of appeal and supplemental information, the County is notified and has fifteen work days to respond. The Board then provides the Appellant an additional fifteen workdays to respond to or comment on the County's submission. The case is then placed on the Board's agenda. A copy of all documentation is provided to each Board member and the Board discusses the case at the next work session. If the Board is satisfied that the written record is complete, a decision is made on the basis of the record. If the Board believes additional information or clarification is needed, it either requests the information in writing or schedules a meeting for the purpose of receiving oral testimony. If a hearing is granted, all parties are given at least thirty days notice.