(A)   The county shall be patient, fair and consistent in the administration of the organization and its employees. When problems arise, emphasis is on improvement and correction rather than punishment. However, willful, continued or inexcusable breaches of employment rules must be dealt with firmly under a uniform policy, applicable to all employees. Employee misconduct will result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.
   (B)   Employee misconduct shall include, but is not limited to, the following acts:
      (1)   Incompetence;
      (2)   Inefficiency;
      (3)   Dishonesty, including, but not limited to:
         (a)   Deliberately making or issuing falsified records, materials requisitions and the like;
         (b)   Lying;
         (c)   Personal use of county property or supplies;
         (d)   Theft of county property or supplies;
         (e)   Deliberate waste; and
         (f)   Supplying false information on an employment application.
      (4)   Improper conduct, disrespectful conduct, insubordination;
      (5)   Neglect of duty, including, but not limited to:
         (a)   Repeated tardiness;
         (b)   Leaving assigned work area without permission;
         (c)   Failure to attend scheduled meetings;
         (d)   Refusal to accept reasonable work assignment;
         (e)   Stopping work before specified time;
         (f)   Deliberate interruption of work;
         (g)   Loitering, loafing or sleeping on the job; and
         (h)   Unsatisfactory work or attitude.
      (6)   Failure to keep timesheets accurately or completing another employee’s timesheet;
      (7)   Fighting or horseplay on county’s premises at any time;
      (8)   Attempting bodily injury to another person;
      (9)   Failure to observe safety rules;
      (10)   Abusive or obscene language;
      (11)   Discourtesy to the public or fellow employees;
      (12)   Conviction of a felony;
      (13)   Untidy or inappropriate attire, torn uniforms and other failures to maintain a clean neat appearance;
      (14)   Reporting to work under the influence of intoxicants or illegal drugs;
      (15)   Use of intoxicants or illegal drugs while on the job;
      (16)   Gambling while on duty;
      (17)   Improperly discussing or disclosing confidential information;
      (18)   An accumulation of incidents of employee misconduct;
      (19)   Failure to follow any other rule, regulation, operating procedure or job requirement not specifically mentioned above;
      (20)   Frequent or excessive absenteeism;
      (21)   Failure to provide notice to the County Judge/Executive or department head by 9:00 a.m. of absence for any reason;
      (22)   Refusal to report to work when called, unless a bona fide emergency exists;
      (23)   Loss of driver’s license/driving privileges when driving is required for performance of assigned duties; and
      (24)   Solicitation and the distribution of non-work-related literature during work.
   (C)   When an employee commits any violation of division (B) above or fails to follow any rule, regulation, operating procedure or job requirement, one of the following measures shall apply, depending upon the circumstances involved and the severity of the offense. These discipline measures are not exclusive as situations may require more severe sanctions, depending on the nature of the violation.
      (1)   Verbal warning/reprimand (counseling). In the case of a minor infraction, the immediate supervisor, department head or the County Judge/Executive shall administer verbal counseling and explain the actions necessary to correct the problem as soon as possible after the offense.
      (2)   Written warning.
         (a)   If appropriate, the immediate supervisor or department head and/or the County Judge/Executive shall give the employee a written warning specifying the reason(s) for such warning, noting any previous verbal and/or written warnings. Written warnings shall state that the employee’s performance will now be reviewed on a regular basis for signs of improvement and explain the consequences of further infractions.
         (b)   The employee shall sign the written warning as evidence of his or her seeing and understanding the circumstances that resulted in the written warning being administered. The employee’s signature does not constitute agreement or disagreement with the warning, only verification that the employee has seen the warning. A copy of the written warning shall be placed in the employee’s personnel file.
      (3)   Suspension.
         (a)   In situations where the county has become aware of alleged or actual misconduct by an employee which, if true, could result in disciplinary action, the County Judge/Executive may suspend the employee with or without pay if it is determined that action is necessary to assure public confidence in governmental oversight of its employees, to assure the integrity of the county’s inquiry in the allegations or as a disciplinary action.
         (b)   In the event it is necessary to suspend an employee with pay, the following procedures shall be followed.
            1.   The county shall immediately provide written notification to the employee informing him or her of the suspension and the nature of the allegations being investigated. In the event it is deemed necessary to suspend the employee immediately upon learning of a particular situation, the employee shall be provided written verification of the suspension within 24 hours.
            2.   Consistent with existing personnel procedures, a copy of the written notice of suspension shall be filed in the employee’s personnel file. The investigation shall not be delayed for any reason and shall be conducted within a reasonable time.
            3.   If the allegations against the employee are valid, the County Judge/Executive shall invoke disciplinary action as deemed appropriate. These actions shall not include payment of wages in the event the suspension is extended beyond the investigation period.
            4.   If the allegations against the employee are found invalid, the employee shall immediately be returned to work.
            5.   During the time an employee is on suspension with pay, he or she is considered to be performing services for the county. Therefore, the employee must remain available to return to work within 24 hours of receiving written or verbal notice of return to work. In the event the employee is notified of reinstatement verbally to return to work, the county shall follow-up in writing within 24 hours.
            6.   Nothing in this policy or procedure should be construed as limiting the authority of the local government to suspend an employee without pay in those instances deemed appropriate.
            7.   In the event of a suspension, Fiscal Court shall be notified contemporaneously with the notice of the suspension.
      (4)   Pre-termination (dismissal) conference. An employee who has been notified of the intent to dismiss him or her has the right to appear personally, or with counsel, at a pre-termination conference held before the County Judge/Executive. The following procedures shall be followed in those instances where the employee desires a pre-termination conference.
         (a)   The request for a pre-termination conference must be made, in writing, to the County Judge/Executive within ten working days of the employee’s receipt of the notice of intent to dismiss, excluding the day it was received.
         (b)   The pre-termination conference shall be held within ten working days after receipt of the employee’s request, excluding the day it was received.
         (c)   The pre-termination conference is informal. It gives the employee the opportunity to respond to charges contained in the notice of intent to dismiss.
         (d)   Within five working days, excluding the day of the pre-termination conference, the County Judge/Executive shall uphold, alter, modify or rescind the intended dismissal. The employee  will be notified in writing of the County Judge/Executive’s decision and the reasons for it.
         (e)   Such action shall be recorded in the employee’s personnel file.
      (5)   Dismissal.
         (a)   Where minor offenses are continually repeated, or misconduct is serious enough for discharge on the first offense, the department head may recommend dismissal of an employee.
         (b)   The recommendation shall include the reason(s) for the dismissal, details of previous disciplinary action taken against the employee and the recommended effective date and time of dismissal.
         (c)   Final and formal dismissal of an employee shall come from the County Judge/ Executive (with or without departmental recommendation), who shall notify the employee in writing of the intent to dismiss.
         (d)   A copy of the notification shall be placed in the employee’s personnel file and a copy shall be provided contemporaneously to the Fiscal Court.
      (6)   Demotion or transfer.
         (a)   In the event that an employee fails to perform (for whatever reason) the duties as stated in the class specification, he or she may be transferred or demoted in lieu of taking any disciplinary action; provided, the employee meets the qualifications for the position and the position is vacant.
         (b)   Such actions shall be recorded in the employee’s personnel file and a copy of the determination provided to Fiscal Court.
(Ord. 4-2014, passed 7-31-2014, § 3.28)