Wisconsin Personnel Commission's             Digest of Decisions        March, 1999 Version

Sections 403.12(14) through 403.12(17)(m)

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403.12(14) Duration of reclassification process

Where the record did not indicate that prior reclassifications of appellants' positions included either a review by DER or a request by appellants for the classification (Parole Board Member) they were now seeking, the appellants' failure to have appealed from previous decisions which granted their requests to intermediate classifications was not a bar to their classification, in the current appeal, to the PBM level, citing Vesperman et al. v. DOT & DER, 93-0101-PC, etc., 2/15/94. Fulk et al. v. DHSS & DER, 95-0004-PC, etc., 4/4/96

Where a request for reclassification was filed initially in 1973, and, after a series of inconclusive communications, no decision had been received by 1979 when the appellant filed another reclassification request which was denied on May 9, 1980, the reclassification request was not handled in a timely manner, but since the appellant did not establish that the denial was incorrect, he was not entitled to any independent relief. Shepard v. DP, 80-234, 237, 239-PC, 6/3/81


403.12(15)(a) Generally

In reviewing reallocation decisions placing positions at the objective rather than entry level in a progression series that requires knowledge and skill "upon appointment," the Commission looks to see whether all of the requirements for classification at the higher level have been met rather than looking at the majority of duties. DOT et al. v. DER, 84-0071,etc.-PC, 9/20/85; reversed by Dane County Circuit Court, DER v. Wis. Pers. Comm., 85-CV-5383, 7/9/86; reversed by Court of Appeals District IV, 86-1483, 1/22/87

Classification within a progression series is dependent upon an employe’s level of proficiency. This level of proficiency is typically reflected in the level of supervision and the types of duties and responsibilities assigned to the position, and is typically measured through evaluation of the quality and quantity of an employe’s work product. Nelson v. DER, 92-0310-PC, 9/17/96

While the general rule is that classification is based on the nature and level of assigned duties and responsibilities, not on the manner in which such duties and responsibilities are performed by the position incumbent, an exception to this rule is made when reviewing classification within a progression series. Nelson v. DER, 92-0310-PC, 9/17/96

Where positions were initially reallocated into a progression series based upon a proposed chart for converting the prior classifications into the new classifications based on length of service of the incumbents in positions, but where the length of service criteria were not included in the new class specifications, the language of the class specifications controlled in the event of any conflict between the length of service and the criteria in the class specification. Cutts v. DER, 92-0472-PC, 7/24/95

In an appeal of the effective date of a reclassification, the Commission has jurisdiction to determine whether the respondent's policy specifying the minimum qualifications necessary for reclass comported with the class specifications and, if so, whether respondents applied the policy to the appellant's position in a correct manner. Heath & Mork v. DOC & DER, 93-0143-PC, 6/23/94

The respondents' belief that the appellant was contemptuous of agency regulations and had a bad attitude was not an appropriate basis for denying reclassification as part of a progression series where the appellant's job performance was comparable to other employes at the higher level. Brey v. DHSS & DER, 89-0051-PC, 2/22/90

Appellants' assertion that the Industries Specialist (IS) series is a progression series was rejected where there was nothing in the position standard that differentiated the class levels on the basis of specified training, education or experience and where the lowest level (IS 1) was designated as the objective level. Holubowicz et al. v. DHSS & DER, 88-0039-PC, 1/25/89

Respondent improperly denied the reclassification of the appellant's position from JSS 2 to JSS 3 where appellant failed to pass a performance evaluation generally referred to as the Quality Performance Index, where the duties and responsibilities assigned to appellant's position were at the JSS 3 level and where the class specifications did not identify JSS as a progression series. McCabe v. DILHR & DER, 83-0204-PC, 7/6/84


403.12(15)(m) Appeals sustained and denied

Collins v. DOT & DER, 84-0105-PC, 5/9/85

Auditor 2 and 3 Haney v. DOT & DER, 89-0091-PC, 6/15/90

Auditor - Senior and Advanced Nelson v. DER, 92-0310-PC, 9/17/96

Officer 1 and 2 Graff v. DHSS & DER, 88-0046-PC, 1/25/89

Personnel Specialist 4 and 5 Turner-Strickland v. DER, 88-0042-PC, 3/24/89

Social Worker 1 and 2 Brey v. DHSS & DER, 89-0051-PC, 2/22/90


403.12(16) Factor Evaluation System

Survey job content questionnaires were discoverable on reallocation appeals, even though the Commission lacks authority to review "survey methodology" per se, because the questionnaires were relevant to the evaluation of appellant's positions on the basis of the classification factors in question. Also, based on the record of the motion to compel discovery, it appeared respondent used the survey rating panel scores to determine the relative ranking of the positions surveyed, and then classification specifications were developed directly from the position descriptions of the positions so evaluated. Therefore, to the extent that the information sought on this discovery request ran to an attempt by appellants to show that the panel's factor evaluation was erroneous and resulted in their positions being placed in the wrong cluster and hence at the lower class level than should have been the case, it fell within the boundaries of relevance to a reallocation appeal and was properly discoverable. Mincy et al. v. DER, 90-0229, 0257-PC, 2/21/91 (ruling by examiner); rehearing denied, 3/12/91


403.12(16)(m) Appeals sustained and denied

Motor Vehicle Representative 4 and 5 Dell et al. v. DOT & DER, 87-0202-PC, 10/20/88; rehearing denied 12/8/88; Schram et al. v. DOT & DER, 87-0197-PC, 9/26/88; Zerbel et al. v. DOT & DER, 87-0032-PC, 2/11/88

Program and Planning Analyst 5 and 6; Blascoe et al. v. DHSS & DER, 94-0920-PC, 12/20/95

Regulation Compliance Investigation Supervisor I to Regulation Compliance Investigation Supervisor I Froh & Lach v. DER, 84-0130, 0136-PC, 2/13/85

Research Analyst 6 and 7 Klein v. DHSS & DER, 95-0074-PC, 12/20/95


403.12(17) Decisions based upon performance analysis

In reviewing the appellant's performance examination for reclassification, the Commission should give controlling weight to an appointing agency's interpretation of its own rules, policies and guidelines if that interpretation is clear and consistent. However, that interpretation is not required where the agency's guidelines were ambiguous. DILHR v. Wis. Pers. Comm. (Foust), Dane County Circuit Court, 85-CV-3206, 7/29/86

In a case where reclassification was based on successful completion of performance examination, the only question was whether the appellant's score on the exam was correct. Foust v. DILHR & DER, 84-0218-PC, 5/22/85; affirmed by Dane County Circuit Court, DILHR v. Wis. Pers. Comm. (Foust), 85-CV-3206, 7/29/86


403.12(17)(a) Generally

In a reclassification appeal where movement to the higher level is based on performance, the Commission must decide whether respondent's determination of unsatisfactory performance in the context of the higher class level was correct and the appellant had the burden of proof to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that respondent's evaluation of her performance was incorrect. Where the appellant challenged the respondent's procedure or policy with respect to which case files to score for purposes of her reclassification review, the more specific question is whether that policy or procedure constitutes an inaccurate or otherwise incorrect method of measuring employe performance. McNown [Williams] v. DILHR & DER, 94-0828-PC, 11/14/95

Respondent's policy to exclude from the sample of files selected for evaluating appellant's performance those files which received a failing score for reasons not attributable to appellant's performance on the file is inconsistent with the civil service code, §ER 3.015(2)(a), Wis. Adm. Code, which requires that regrades be determined on the basis of the incumbent employe's performance, not the performance of other employes. McNown [Williams] v. DILHR & DER, 94-0828-PC, 11/14/95

In the absence of a showing by the appellant that respondents' discipline-free work record standard was inconsistent with some broader classification requirement, or had been inconsistently applied, this was the standard which was applied by the Commission. Jackson v. DOC & DER, 92-0839-PC, 6/23/93

In a Quality Performance Index review of unemployment compensation adjudications, the file must be able to stand by itself, without any additional clarification or explanation by the adjudicator. Vanover v. DILHR & DER, 89-0128-PC, 11/16/90

Where the issue for hearing merely referred to the correctness of the reclassification denial decision but the record clearly indicated the appellant's position had been reclassified and the appellant not regraded due to the failure to achieve minimum quality standards, the Commission liberally interpreted the issue for hearing as referencing the regrade decision. Vanover v. DILHR & DER, 89-0128-PC, 11/16/90

The appellant was unable to obtain a just cause review of a letter of reprimand in the context of a reclassification appeal where reclassification to the higher level was premised upon a 6 month discipline-free work record, the reprimand was issued within the 6 month period and the appellant could have grieved the reprimand but did not. Reclassification was denied where the appellant could not show that the respondent regularly ignored the 6 month discipline-free work record requirement. Cohn v. DHSS, 88-0028-PC, 1/25/89

The appellant's supervisor is not required to have first-hand knowledge of all of the incidents which served as the basis for an unsatisfactory performance evaluation. The supervisor did have first-hand knowledge of some of the incidents and reasonably relied on complaints filed by other staff members regarding the appellant's conduct. Reclassification was denied where one requirement for moving to the higher level was a satisfactory evaluation. Cohn v. DHSS, 88-0028-PC, 1/25/89

The respondents' determination of the effective date of the reclassification from Trooper II - Trooper III was rejected when it was affected by the decision of the deputy administrator of the State Patrol to delay approval of the action until the employe met the Measurable Standard of Activity (MSA), sole reliance on that criterion having been disapproved in earlier commission and court decisions. The Commission also held that it was within its province to examine the handling of the request at that level since even though the deputy administrator did not have the authority to finally approve the request, he could effectively delay the effective date by refusing to forward it to personnel, so his action was cognizable pursuant to §230.44(l)(b), Stats., as part of the overall reclassification action, and found that the amount of time taken to actually process the reclassification was not excessive. Michalski v. DOT, 82-228-PC, 6/9/83

The Commission determined that a test administered to determine whether Food Service Workers 2 (FSW-2) had attained the experience and demonstrated the performance required for reclassification to FSW-3 was unbiased and job related, that such an examination was not subject to the requirements of §230.16(4), Stats., and that the respondents' requirement of 12 months experience as a FSW-2 before reclassification to FSW-3 was consistent with the provisions of §Pers 3.02(4), Wis. Adm. Code, and not improper. Pittz v. DHSS & DP, 79-116-PC, 1/13/81


403.12(17)(m) Appeals sustained and denied

Officer 1 and 2 Jackson v. DOC & DER, 92-0839-PC, 6/23/93; Cohn v. DHSS, 88-0028-PC, 1/25/89

Unemployment Benefits Specialist 1 and 2 Vanover v. DILHR & DER, 89-0128-PC, 11/16/90

Unemployment Benefits Specialist 2 and 3 Anderson v. DILHR & DER, 84-0238-PC, 7/17/85; Foust v. DILHR & DER, 84-0218-PC, 5/22/85; affirmed by Dane County Circuit Court, DILHR v. Wis. Pers. Comm. (Foust), 85-CV-3206, 7/29/86; McNown [Williams] v. DILHR & DER, 94-0828-PC, 11/14/95; Soulier v. DILHR & DER, 89-0137-PC, 8/8/90; Soulier v. DILHR & DER, 88-0051-PC, 1/25/89

Trooper 2 to Trooper 3 Collins v. DOT & DER, 84-0105-PC, 5/9/85


While this digest has been prepared by Personnel Commission staff for the convenience of interested persons, it should be remembered that the decisions themselves are the ultimate source of Commission precedent.

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