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(A) Introduction and applicability. The following procedures are adopted pursuant to the Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights Act as contained in Sections 3250 et seq. of the California Government Code and so are intended to comply with the applicable provisions of Sections 11500 et seq. of the California Government Code (collectively, the Administrative Procedures Act,) and of Sections 1000-1050 of Title 1 of the California Code of Regulations (collectively, regulations of the Office of Administrative Hearings). To the extent any of the following procedures expressly conflict with an applicable requirement of the Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights Act, Administrative Procedures Act, or regulations of the Office of Administrative Hearings, the applicable statutory or regulatory provision shall control. These procedures shall not apply to an employee who does not meet the definition of a firefighter in this section.
(B) Scope. This section shall establish the procedures for issuance, administrative review, and appeal of a “punitive action” imposed on a “firefighter,” as those terms are defined in division (D). These procedures shall apply when the punitive action is based solely on events and circumstances involving the performance of a firefighter’s official duties, within the meaning of Sections 3250 et seq. of the California Government Code. The procedures in § 2.48.170(C) and (E) and § 2.48.180 shall not apply to a firefighter who is subject to the procedures set forth in this § 2.48.181.
(C) Supplemental rules. The City Manager or his or her designee is authorized to adopt supplemental rules for the conduct of appeal hearings governed by these procedures.
(1) ALJ. The term ALJ refers to an administrative law judge on the staff of the Office of Administrative Hearings. References to ALJ, alone, in these procedures do not include members of the Commission.
(2) COMMISSION OR COMMISSIONER. The term COMMISSION or COMMISSIONER refers to the members of the Civil Service Commission of the City of Alhambra. References to the COMMISSION or COMMISSIONER in these procedures do not include the ALJ.
(3) FIREFIGHTER. The term FIREFIGHTER includes city employees who have completed any applicable probationary period and hold one of the following job classifications: Assistant Fire Chief/Fire Marshal, Fire Battalion Chief, Fire Captain, Fire Engineer, Firefighter/Paramedic, and Firefighter.
(4) NOTICE OF APPEAL. The term NOTICE OF APPEAL refers to the document that may be submitted by a firefighter to appeal a punitive action in accordance with this section. For purposes of this section, a NOTICE OF APPEAL shall be considered to be a “notice of defense” within the meaning of Sections 11500 et seq. of the California Government Code.
(5) OAH. The term OAH refers to the Office of Administrative Hearings at the Los Angeles regional office to which the case is assigned.
(6) PARTY OR PARTIES. The terms PARTY or PARTIES may refer to the city or the firefighter who is subject to the punitive action, or both.
(7) PUNITIVE ACTION. The term PUNITIVE ACTION shall be as defined in Section 3251(c) of the California Government Code, specifically, written reprimand, suspension, reduction in pay, demotion, dismissal, and transfer for purposes of punishment. Where applicable, the definition of these terms shall be the same as in § 2.48.170.
(8) SERVE OR SERVICE. The terms SERVE or SERVICE mean delivery of a document by the means specified in Title 1, Section 1008 of the California Code of Regulations.
(9) WRITTEN DECISION. For purposes of this section, a WRITTEN DECISION shall be considered to be an “accusation” within the meaning of Sections 11500 et seq. of the California Government Code when punitive action is imposed. The WRITTEN DECISION is the written document notifying the firefighter of the punitive action.
(E) Notice of proposed punitive action. A firefighter for whom punitive action is proposed, shall be served with a written notice of the proposed punitive action and the time period within which a written request for an opportunity to be heard orally or in writing may be filed by the firefighter. Notification shall include a statement of the proposed punitive action and the reasons therefor, together with the materials upon which the punitive action is based and the right to respond, either orally or in writing.
(F) Administrative review of punitive action.
(1) Right to administrative review of punitive action. A firefighter shall have the right to request an administrative review of a punitive action. The administrative review shall be conducted prior to the effective date of the punitive action.
(2) Process for administrative review of punitive action.
(a) Upon receipt of the firefighter’s written request to respond to a proposed punitive action, the Fire Chief or his or her designee shall conduct any further necessary investigation and meet with the firefighter within five work shifts or business days to conduct the administrative review meeting.
(b) When the termination of a firefighter is under consideration, the appointing authority, or his or her designee, may participate in the administrative review meeting and, if the Fire Chief decides to terminate, the appointing authority, or his or her designee must concur in the decision of the Fire Chief before the firefighter is served with the written decision.
(G) Procedures following administrative review.
(1) Written decision imposing punitive action.
(a) Timing. At the conclusion of the administrative review meeting, if the Fire Chief or his or her designee decides to impose punitive action, he or she shall serve a written decision upon the firefighter and the Personnel Officer within 30 days.
(b) Content. A written decision that imposes punitive action on a firefighter shall contain a statement of charges, which sets forth a description of the acts or omissions in violation of city rules, policies, or practices that support the punitive action imposed. The written decision shall further identify the effective date of the punitive action, which shall be no sooner than 48 hours from the decision of the Fire Chief or his or her designee.
(c) Enclosures. A written decision that imposes a punitive action, shall include the following enclosures:
1. A notice of right to appeal form;
2. Copies of Sections 11507.5, 11507.6, and 11507.7 of the California Government Code.
(d) Service of written decision. The written decision shall be served upon the firefighter. Service upon the firefighter shall be made in person or by registered mail addressed to the firefighter at the most recent address on file with the Personnel Department. It shall be the responsibility of the firefighter to keep the Personnel Department apprised of his or her current address.
(2) Right to appeal. Firefighters shall have the right to appeal any punitive action.
(3) Method of appeal.
(a) Filing deadline. Unless the Personnel Officer authorizes additional time in writing, the firefighter must serve by registered mail or personally deliver a signed written notice of appeal to the Personnel Officer within 15 days after he or she is served with the written decision.
(b) Firefighter’s response.
1. The notice of appeal must include a hearing request and may also include one or more of the following responses by the firefighter, as set forth in Section 11506 of the California Government Code:
A. An objection to the written decision upon the ground that it does not state acts or omissions upon which the city may proceed;
B. An objection to the form of the written decision on the ground that it is so indefinite or uncertain that the firefighter cannot identify the acts or omissions at issue or prepare a defense. Failure to object in the notice of appeal shall waive this objection;
C. An admission that the written decision is entirely, or in part, correct. Any remaining statements in the written decision shall be deemed denied; and/or
D. Presentation of a new matter by way of defense.
2. The firefighter, in his or her notice of appeal, shall indicate whether he or she desires an open or closed appeal hearing.
(H) Pre-appeal hearing procedures.
(1) Notice of availability or hearing-setting conference.
(a) Deadline. Within ten days from receipt of the notice of appeal, each party must submit a written notice of availability to the Personnel Officer identifying available dates for the appeal hearing, time estimates for the appeal hearing, and any other applicable information or documents, as set forth in Title 1, Section 1018 of the California Code of Regulations. Upon receipt of both parties’ notice of availability, the Personnel Officer will ascertain the availability of each of the Commission members. Alternatively, the Personnel Officer may choose to schedule a hearing-setting conference and will notify the parties and the Commission members in writing of the date of the hearing-setting conference.
(b) Topics for hearing-setting conference. The hearing-setting conference will deal with the matters set forth in Title 1, Section 1018 of the California Code of Regulations. Commission members and the parties must be prepared to discuss time estimates, availability, and other applicable information and documents, as set forth in Title 1, Section 1018 of the California Code of Regulations.
(2) Request for ALJ. Within 15 days after the hearing-setting conference, if any, or when the Personnel Officer is in receipt of all applicable information set forth in Title 1, Section 1018 of the California Code of Regulations, the Personnel Officer shall file a request in writing with the OAH, to assign an ALJ and set a date for the appeal hearing. The written request will provide the applicable information and documents set forth in Title 1, Section 1018 of the California Code of Regulations.
(3) Notice of hearing. The Personnel Officer shall serve by personal delivery or registered mail a notice of hearing to all parties containing the details provided by the OAH. The notice of hearing shall be substantially in the form contained in Section 11509 of the California Government Code.
(I) Hearing procedures.
(1) Hearing officers. Every appeal hearing shall be heard by a quorum of the Commission and an ALJ. The ALJ shall preside at the hearing, rule on the admission and exclusion of evidence, and advise the Commission on matters of law that are required to be within the jurisdiction of the ALJ pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act or regulations of the Office of Administrative Hearings. The Commission shall exercise all other powers relating to the conduct of the hearing. A Commissioner who does not hear all of the evidence shall not vote on the decision.
(2) Hearing. The firefighter shall appear personally, unless physically unable to do so, at the time and place of the hearing. The firefighter may be represented by any person he or she may choose and may present any relevant evidence. Cross-examination of witnesses shall be permitted. The conduct and decorum of the hearing shall be under the control of the Commission or ALJ with due regard to the rights and privileges of the parties appearing before the Commission and the ALJ.
(3) Public hearings. Appeal hearings shall be conducted in private, unless the firefighter requests a public hearing. The ALJ may exclude from any such public or private hearing, during the examination of a witness, any or all other witnesses in the matter being heard.
(Ord. 4671, passed 5-26-15)