City of Rochester, NY
Monroe County
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Rochester City Council 9-24-1963. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Officers and employees — See Ch. 14.

§ 9-1 Declaration of policy.

A. 
The purpose of this grievance procedure is to provide an orderly process whereby every employee of the City may equitably and expeditiously settle grievances that may arise in the course of City employment, and shall have the right to present his or her grievance in accordance with the procedures provided herein, free from coercion, restraint, interferences, discrimination or reprisal. Every employee shall have the right to be represented by a person of his or her own choosing at all stages of this grievance procedure.
[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22]
B. 
It shall be a fundamental responsibility of persons in supervisory capacity at all levels, commensurate with the authority delegated to them by their superiors, to consider promptly and take appropriate action upon grievances presented to them by employees under their supervision. To such extent as is practicable, appropriate authority is hereby delegated to such persons with supervisory duties to take such steps as may be necessary to give effect to the provisions prescribed herein.

§ 9-2 Definitions.

As used herein, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
ANSWER
The respondent's explanation of the subject matter of a complaint.
CHAIR
The Chair of the Grievance Committee.
[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22]
CITY
The City of Rochester.
COMMITTEE
The Grievance Committee as established herein, including the Chair and the four members thereof.
[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22]
COMPLAINANT
The employee originating a grievance.
COMPLAINT
The written allegations constituting a grievance.
COUNCIL
The City Council of the City of Rochester.
DECISION
The written disposition and determination of grievance by the Committee.
EMPLOYEE
Any person directly employed and compensated by the City of Rochester, except persons employed in the legislative and judicial branch thereof.
GRIEVANCE
A claimed violation, misinterpretation or inequitable application of the existing rules, procedures, regulations, administrative orders or work rules of the City or a department or agency thereof, which relate to or involve employee health or safety, physical facilities, materials or equipment furnished to employees or supervision of employees; provided, however, that such term shall not include any matter involving an employee's rate of compensation, retirement benefits, disciplinary proceedings, discharge or any matter which is otherwise reviewable pursuant to law or any rule or regulation having the force and effect of law.
RESPONDENT
The individual against whom a grievance is asserted.
SUPERIORS
Persons regardless of title who are assigned to exercise any level of supervisory responsibility over City employee.

§ 9-3 Dispute as to propriety of grievance.

[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22]
Should a dispute arise as to whether or not any complaint is properly a matter for proceeding under the grievance procedure, the issue shall be sent by the complainant or his or her superior directly to the Grievance Committee, which shall decide that question, and its decision shall be final and binding, whereupon the complaint shall be returned for further processing to the stage from which the issue of proper jurisdiction originated.

§ 9-4 Procedures.

[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22]
The grievance procedure for employees of the City is hereby established as follows:
A. 
First stage. The first stage shall consist of the employee's presentation of his or her grievance to his or her immediate superior who shall, to such extent as he or she may deem appropriate, consult, in turn, with his or her superiors. The discussion and resolution of grievances at the first stage shall be on an oral and informal basis. If such grievance is not satisfactorily resolved at this first stage within three working days, such employee may proceed to the second stage.
B. 
Second stage. The second stage shall consist of the filing of the employee's grievance, in writing, with the head of his or her bureau or its equivalent. The bureau head shall investigate the grievance and shall dispose of it within seven working days. The decision shall be in writing to the employee filing the grievance with copies to the immediate superior and to the department head. In the process of investigating the grievance, the bureau head may consult with his or her superiors.
(1) 
The written grievance shall set forth the following information:
(a) 
Name, address and work location of complainant.
(b) 
Name, title and work location of respondent.
(c) 
Concise resume of acts alleged to constitute the grievance, including names, places, dates and times.
(d) 
Ruling of immediate superior.
(e) 
Other information complainant may think pertinent.
(f) 
Complainant shall sign the grievance.
(2) 
The bureau head shall forward the complete grievance file to the department head upon making disposition.
C. 
Third stage. Any City employee may appeal, by written request, to a five-member Grievance Committee established herein from a determination of a grievance made in accordance with these provisions by his or her bureau head. Such Grievance Committee shall promptly consider, review and determine such grievance and render a report and findings thereon to the Mayor as is hereinafter provided. The findings of the Grievance Committee shall be binding unless overruled by the Mayor.
[Amended 11-12-1985 by Ord. No. 85-480]

§ 9-5 Grievance Committee; powers and duties; meetings; procedure.

[Amended 11-12-1985 by Ord. No. 85-480]
A. 
Grievance Committee; members. There is hereby established a Grievance Committee which shall consist of a Chair and four members, each of whom shall be appointed by the Mayor to serve at his or her pleasure.
[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22]
B. 
Powers and duties. The Grievance Committee is empowered to receive, investigate, adjust and adjudicate grievances, as herein defined, submitted to it in accordance with the procedures subsequently set forth. The jurisdiction of the Committee is limited to grievances of City employees.
(1) 
The Committee shall promptly consider all grievances properly presented to it and take such necessary action as is required hereby. The merits of all grievances shall be considered objectively, with due consideration to the harmonious interrelationship that is sought to be achieved among employees of the City and for the best interests of the public.
(2) 
The Committee in its discretion may conduct a hearing, under oath or otherwise, on any complaint before it, take testimony of the parties and their witnesses, receive documents or other papers submitted to it, issue subpoenas and establish rules for the conduct of its proceedings and hearings, not inconsistent with the provisions hereinafter set forth.
(3) 
Any such hearing may be conducted by any two or more of the members of the Committee designated by the Committee to act on its behalf; provided, however, that if less than the full Committee is present at such a hearing, the Committee thereof conducting such hearing shall render a report thereon to the full Committee and the full Committee shall thereupon make its report. A majority vote of the entire Committee shall determine all matters.
(4) 
The Committee shall make a determination of the grievance and shall reduce the same to a written decision, which shall be filed and served as hereinafter provided.
(5) 
The Committee has no power to discipline, to determine policies or administrative matters within the jurisdiction of the City Council or the Mayor, to consider matters involving salaries, appointments to positions or the failure to fill position vacancies or to incur any expense without prior approval of the Budget Director of the City of Rochester.
C. 
Meetings; quorum. A suitable place of meeting shall be provided for the Grievance Committee by the Mayor. The Chair shall preside at all meetings and hearings, except that in his or her absence the Committee may designate one of the members to act in his or her place. The Mayor shall provide necessary secretarial, stenographic and investigative assistance to the Chair of the Committee.
[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22]
D. 
Procedure. A grievance submitted on appeal to the Grievance Committee for determination shall be presented according to the following procedure:
(1) 
The employee or his or her representative shall notify the Grievance Committee in writing that he or she is appealing the bureau head's decision. A copy of such notice shall be forwarded to the bureau head, who shall in turn forward the entire grievance file to the Grievance Committee.
[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22]
(2) 
The appeal shall be signed by the complainant and filed with the Chair. Where the appeal contains incomplete information, the Chair and/or the Committee shall promptly seek the needed information from the complainant. In the event that such information is not furnished within a reasonable time, and within the time limited by the Chair and/or the Committee, the case may be closed without further proceedings.
[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22]
(3) 
The Chair may require the respondent to serve in writing an answer to the complaint. Such answer shall be signed by the respondent and filed with the Chair within a time specified by the Chair.
[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22]
(4) 
The Chair may refer a grievance for investigation if he or she deems such investigation necessary and shall refer the same for investigation if so directed by the Committee. The investigator shall make a preliminary investigation of the facts stated in the complaint and answer and make a written report thereon to the Chair.
[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22]
(5) 
The Committee shall consider the complaint, answer and report and take suitable action thereon. At any stage of these proceedings, the Committee shall have the right to summon the complainant, respondent and any and all persons considered necessary to an equitable and expeditious adjustment of the grievance. Proceedings shall be informal.
(6) 
The Committee in its discretion may conduct a hearing and the Chair shall preside at such hearing and direct its conduct including ruling on admissibility of evidence.
[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22]
(7) 
The burden of proof is on the complainant in such hearing.
(8) 
Copies of rules established by the Committee for the conduct of its proceedings and hearings shall be furnished each complainant and respondent.
(9) 
The report of the Committee shall contain a statement of the Committee's determination of fact, conclusions and findings. The Committee's findings shall be a final determination of the grievance, unless overruled by the Mayor, and shall be rendered no later than 14 days after submission to it of said grievance for settlement. The original decision shall be filed with the Mayor, and copies shall be sent to each employee involved, his or her representative, if any, the head of the department concerned and each member of the Committee. The Mayor shall have 10 days after the Committee reports its findings to him or her to overrule the Committee. Otherwise the Committee's findings shall be binding.
[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22]
(10) 
The Committee shall file with the Mayor all complaints, answers, reports and decisions, together with a stenographic record of all proceedings, and transcripts of hearings, to be retained as permanent records.
(11) 
The proceedings of the Committee shall be confidential and are not to be disclosed, except to its Chair, members, committee personnel and the parties to the grievance. Nothing herein contained, however, shall prevent the Mayor from making public the decisions of the Committee filed with him or her.
[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22]