v. DOCKET NO. 94-T&P-617
DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
and DIVISION OF PERSONNEL,
Grievant, Brian K. Wetzel, filed this grievance seeking a higher title and pay on
June 1, 1994, stating:
My duties are that of Asst. Golf Supervisor, but my pay title is only Recreation Aid/Clerk.
Following adverse decisions at the lower levels, Grievant advanced an appeal to Level
IV on October 21, 1994. Following several continuances for good cause, a hearing was held
on February 13, 1996, at which time this case became mature for decision.
Grievant, currently classified as a Park Aide at Pipestem State Park, alleges that he performs substantially all of the duties that are performed by Phyllis Hopkins, an Office Assistant II, at the park's golf pro shop. Additionally, Grievant lends his considerable expertise as a professional golfer to Pipestem by conducting tournaments and giving lessons, as well as contributing his golfing services outside of the park to such places as Concord College and The Greenbrier. Without a doubt, these services reflect positively on Pipestem and the State, and produce revenues in the form of increased customer usage of the park. Grievant asks to be reclassified as an Office Assistant II, with all back pay and benefits.
In order for Grievant to prevail upon a claim of misclassification, he must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that his duties for the relevant period more closely matched another cited Personnel classification specification than that under which he is currently assigned. See generally, Hayes v. W. Va. Dept. of Natural Resources, Docket No. NR-88-038 (Mar. 28, 1989). Personnel specifications are to be read in "pyramid fashion," i.e., from top to bottom, with the different sections to be considered as going from the more general/more critical to the more specific/less critical, Captain v. W. Va. Div. of Health, Docket No. 90-H-471 (Apr. 4, 1991); for these purposes, the "Nature of Work" section of a classification specification is its most critical section. Atchison v. W. Va. Dept. of Health, Docket No. 90-H-444 (Apr. 22, 1991); See generally, Dollison v. W. Va. Dept. of Employment Security, Docket No. 89-ES-101 (Nov. 3, 1989). The key to the analysis is to ascertain whether Grievant's current classification constitutes the "best fit" for his required duties. Simmons v. W. Va. Dept. of HHR/Division of Personnel, Docket No. 90-H-433 (Mar. 28, 1991). The predominant duties of the position in question are class-controlling. Broaddus v. W. Va. Div. of Human Services, Docket Nos. 89-DHS-606, 607, 609 (Aug. 31, 1990). Finally, Personnel's interpretation and explanation of the classification specifications at issue, if said language is determined to be ambiguous, should be given great weight unlessclearly erroneous. See, W. Va. Dept. of Health v. Blankenship, 431 S.E.2d 681, 687 (W. Va. 1993).
Because the issue in this case involves proper classification, the relevant classification specifications are reproduced as follows:
Nature of Work
Under close supervision, performs a wide variety of general clerical and/or building and grounds maintenance work in a state park. Duties require some physical labor and usually vary seasonally. Performs related work as required.
Examples of Work
Nature of Work: Under general supervision, performs full-performance
level work in multiple-step clerical tasks calling for interpretation and
application of office procedures, rules and regulations. Performs related work
Distinguishing Characteristics: Performs tasks requiring interpretation
and adaptation of office procedures as the predominant portion of the job.
Tasks may include posting information to logs or ledgers, and checking for
completeness, typing a variety of documents, and calculating benefits. May
use a standard set of commands, screens, or menus to enter, access and
update or manipulate data.
At this level, the predominant tasks require the under-standing of the broader scope of the work function, and requires an ability to apply job knowledge or a specific skill to a variety of related tasks requiring multiple steps or decisions. Day-to-day tasks are routine, but initiative and established procedures are used to solve unusual problems. The steps of each task allow the employee to operate with a latitude of independence. Work is reviewed by the supervisor in process, randomly or upon completion. Contacts are usually informational and intergovernmental.
Examples of Work
Accordingly, this grievance is DENIED.
Any party or the West Virginia Division of Personnel may appeal this decision to the
circuit court of the county in which the grievance occurred, and such appeal must be filed
within thirty (30) days of receipt of this decision. W. Va. Code §29-6A-7. Neither the West
Virginia Education and State Employees Grievance Board nor any of its Administrative Law
Judges is a party to such appeal, and should not be so named. Any appealing party must
advise this office of the intent to appeal and provide the civil action number so that the
record can be prepared and transmitted to the appropriate court.
MARY JO SWARTZ
Administrative Law Judge
Dated: February 29, 1996