Why You Need Local Rules….

City of Lodi (2010) PERB Decision No. 2142-M (Issued on 11/16/10)

I recently participated in a seminar sponsored by the California Public Employee Relations Program on local rules under the MMBA. One piece of advice I gave to the audieence was that every local entity in California should have its own local rules. Surprisingly, there many local jurisdictions that have not adopted local rules under the MMBA. By not adopting local rules, the PERB model rules (2 Cal. Code of Regs., §61000 et. seq.) apply to the local jurisdiction by default.

One important point to remember is that if you are a local entity subject to PERB’s local rules by default, PERB will decide unit determination issues and conduct elections – not you.  One huge disadvantage to relying on PERB is that you have little control over how long the process takes. The recent City of Lodi decision is a great example of this.  PERB got involved in the City of Lodi case because the City’s local rules didn’t have a severance provision.  Here is the timeline in the Lodi case:

City of Lodi Timeline:

  1. March 19, 2008: Severance petition filed
  2. April 14, 2008: PERB determines there is sufficient proof of support
  3. May 6, 2008: Settlement conference held
  4. August 15, 2008: Formal hearing held
  5. October 28, 2008: Transcripts completed. (PERB noted that the transcripts were delayed due to the lack of a state budget).
  6. November 27, 2008: Closing briefs filed.
  7. December 17, 2008: Proposed decision issued. Appeal filed.
  8. November 16, 2010: Board decision issued.

Granted, I don’t know the background facts. Some of the delay may have been by mutual agreement or caused by circumstances that no one could control.  But the reality is that most cities and counties could have issued a decision on a severance petition faster than nine (9) months. So if you’re a local entity and you want to control your own destiny – I strongly advise you to adopt local rules.

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