Manatee County Government Administrative Center Commission Chambers, First Floor 9:00 a.m. - February 25, 2014
February 25, 2014 - Regular Meeting
Agenda Item #14

Personnel Policy Update


Contact and/or Presenter Information

Julie Bassett, Interim Director - Human Resources, Ext. 3864

Action Requested
Approve update to Personnel Policy XXV-G, Statements by County Employees to Attorneys, Law Firms, or Others Concerning Employees or County Business

Enabling/Regulating Authority
County Administrator / Human Resources Department

Background Discussion

For many years, the County's Personnel Policy has included a provision addressing how County employees should handle subpoenas and other attempts by outside attorneys, law firms, or investigators seeking to speak to employees concerning County matters.  The rule was instituted so as to ensure employees do not make unauthorized admissions on behalf of the County, so that the County may become aware of actual or likely claims against it, and so that the legal interests of employees and the County are best protected.  The rule has always made clear that employees are free to consult with attorneys concerning their own personal legal matters, but an employee organization has asserted that the rule can be applied so as to prohibit employees from exercising their rights granted in the Florida Public Employee Relations Act (PERA).  The County of course has never applied the rule in this way, nor has it ever disciplined any employee for engaging in such activity.  However, so as to make the County's position on its respect for employee rights under the PERA even more clear, and so as to avoid future charges by employee organizations that the County does not respect these rights, the Human Resources Department is recommending amending Section XXV-G of the Personnel Policy as follows:

G. Statements by County Employees to Attorneys, Law Firms, or Others Concerning Employees or County Business

County employees may from time to time be requested or subpoenaed to make a statement to an investigator, an attorney, or a law firm.  These statements may be concerned with an actual or contemplated legal action against the County.  Employees are not generally authorized to make representations to anyone regarding County business.  Therefore, should any employee receive either a request to make a statement or be subpoenaed regarding County business, the employee shall discuss the matter first with his or her department director and, prior to making any oral or written statements, discuss the matter with the County Attorney’s Office.  Nothing herein should be interpreted as preventing an employee from speaking with his or her own legal counsel regarding personal legal matters, nor from speaking with a representative of a labor association concerning any grievance, mutual aid or concerted activity as protected by Florida Statutes § 447.301.

County Attorney Review
Other (Requires explanation in field below)

Explanation of Other

The County Attorney's Office joins the Administration in making this recommendation and the amendment has been drafted and reviewed by Assistant County Attorney Robert Eschenfelder. 

Reviewing Attorney

Instructions to Board Records

Please send approved copy of agenda item to:
Julie.bassett@mymanatee.org and

Cost and Funds Source Account Number and Name

Amount and Frequency of Recurring Costs