At its regular meeting on August 10, 2017, the Board instructed each of its divisions to prepare recommendations for the implementation of AB 119, the Public Employee Communication Chapter (PECC). The Board has now scheduled a meeting on August 31, 2017 to hear and act upon those recommendations. Based on the staff report to the Board, here are the recommendations from each division:
Office of the General Counsel (OGC)
The OGC is responsible for investigating charges alleging violations of the PECC. Notably, the PECC does not specify a procedure for such investigations. The OGC has recommended that PERB use its current procedures for investigating, hearing, and deciding PECC cases. In essence, the OGC recommends that a charge alleging a violation of the PECC be treated like any other unfair practice charge.
Division of Administrative Law
Similar to the OGC, the division of administrative law recommends that hearings on alleged violations of the PECC be conducted the same as any other unfair practice charge. This would entail complying with the Administrative Adjudication Bill of Rights pursuant to Government Code section 3541.3, subdivision (h).
State Mediation and Conciliation Service (SMCS)
The SMCS recommends developing a set of “frequently asked questions” (FAQ’s) on requesting and selecting private arbitrators for interest arbitration. The SMCS will also develop a tracking system to ensure compliance with statutory timeframes.
Appointment of Interest Arbitrator from PERB
In addition, the staff report also recommends developing a set of FAQ’s on how a city or county can request the appointment of an interest arbitrator from PERB. According to the FAQ’s, such requests should be directed to the Chief Administrative Law Judge at PERB. The Chief ALJ will then appoint either a PERB ALJ or other PERB employee to preside over the arbitration. The employer is responsible for the full cost of the PERB employee.
Notably, the staff report recommends that PERB adopt the Department of General Services Price Book for the Office of Administrative Hearings to determine how much to charge a city or county. According to the price book, the rate for an ALJ for 2017-18 is $270 per hour.