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Section One: Administration

1.1     General Provisions

1.1.1   Purpose and Authorization
The purpose of these personnel rules and regulations is to establish a system of administration governing employment within the Town of Essex.  This system shall be based on sound principles of personnel management which ensure that the recruitment, selection, retention, and advancement of personnel are based on ability, knowledge, education, and skill under fair and open competition.  The personnel system shall be administered without regard to age, color, disability, gender, genetics, military service, national origin, ancestry, race, religion, past participation in discrimination complaints, or sexual orientation.

The Town of Essex Personnel By-law and these rules and regulations are adopted pursuant to the authority granted by M.G.L. Ch. 40 §§ 21A and 104C and M.G.L. Ch. 41 §§ 108A and 108C.

1.1.2   Application
All Town departments and positions shall be subject to the provisions of these regulations excluding a) those employees under contract who are legally exempt from personnel by-laws, rules, and regulations (i.e. the Town Administrator, the Chief of Police, and the Town Accountant), b) all elected officials except the Town Clerk, c) employees of the Manchester-Essex Regional School District, and d) employees who are members of collective bargaining units.  No vendor, independent contractor, or consultant employed from time to time to provide services shall be entitled to any rights or benefits provided under these personnel rules and regulations.

1.1.3   Rules of Interpretation
a.      These rules and regulations are intended to be in accordance with all applicable state and federal laws.  In the event of inconsistencies, the applicable state or federal law shall apply.
b.      Words using the singular number may extend and be applied to several persons.

1.1.4   Definitions
The following words as used in these rules and regulations shall, unless a different meaning is plainly required by the context or specifically prescribed, have the following meanings:

a.      “appointing authority” shall mean any board or official authorized by General Law or otherwise to appoint employees.
b.      “department head” shall mean the individual in charge of a department’s operations and activities.  A department head may be an appointing authority.
c.      “employee” shall mean any person in the service of the Town under any contract of hire, express or implied, oral or written, for salary or wages excluding vendors, independent contractors, or consultants employed from time to time to provide services.  All employees covered by these rules and regulations, except those appointed to serve a term of office, shall be considered “at will” employees.
d.      “grievance” shall mean a dispute between an employee and his supervisors arising out of an exercise of administrative discretion by such supervisor or supervisors.
e.      “permanent employee” shall mean any employee whose position or employment requires his or her services in at least 40 weeks of every year.  
f.      “permanent employee, full-time” shall mean any permanent employee whose position of employment requires his or her services at least 30 hours per week.  All permanent, full-time employees are eligible for fringe benefits from the Town.
g.      “permanent employee, part-time” shall mean any permanent employee whose position of employment requires his or her services during regularly scheduled hours but less than 30 hours per week.  Only those permanent, part-time employees working at least 20 hours per week are eligible for fringe benefits from the Town.
h.      “temporary employee” shall mean an employee in the Town’s service holding a non-permanent appointment of a transitory nature.
i.      “Town” shall mean the Town of Essex, Massachusetts.
j.      “work week” shall mean the amount of time in hours ordinarily required by the position of employment in question during a period of seven consecutive days.

1.2     Administration of These Rules and Regulations

1.2.1   Responsibilities of the Personnel Board
The Personnel Board shall be responsible for the adoption of rules and regulations in accordance with the Town’s Personnel By-law.  With the assistance of the Town’s Personnel Officer, the Personnel Board shall be responsible for the following:

a.      administration and necessary revision of these rules and regulations;
b.      enforcement of these rules and regulations;
c.      establishment and maintenance of a personnel system;
d.      development of a classification and compensation plan;
e.      making all necessary administrative procedures to implement the provisions of these rules and regulations;
f.      other responsibilities set forth in these rules and regulations;
g.      To review and investigate, from time to time of its own motion, the work content and standard rates of compensation of all positions in the town service and to make such other investigation of the conditions of employment of town employees as it deems necessary and proper, and to investigate any complaint relative to such conditions as may be filed with the board by any department head, town employee or other person or organization.
h.      where necessary, and with the support of the appointing authority, determining where exceptions to these Rules & Regulations should be made on a case by case basis.

1.2.2   Responsibilities of the Personnel Officer
The Personnel Officer shall provide administrative and technical support to the Personnel Board.  The Personnel Officer Shall:

a.      advise the Personnel Board regarding personnel matters;
b.      maintain a centralized personnel system pursuant to these rules and regulations;
c.      make recommendations to the Personnel Board concerning personnel rules and regulations and administrative procedures;
d.      advise department heads, appointing authorities, and employees regarding personnel policies, decisions, or disciplinary matters as appropriate;
e.      administer these rules and regulations and monitor compliance.

1.3     Personnel Records

1.3.1   Record Keeping Policy
The Personnel Board shall be responsible for establishing and maintaining a centralized personnel record keeping system in conjunction with the Personnel Officer.  The personnel record keeping system shall contain such records as may be required by law and as necessary for effective personnel management.  Except as otherwise provided by law, the Personnel Board shall have access to all facts, figures, records and other information relating to the personnel of the Town departments and this information shall be furnished forthwith by any such department or employee whenever so requested by the board.

1.3.2   Contents of Records
The Personnel Officer shall maintain an individual personnel file for each employee which may include, but not be limited to, the following:  the employment application or resume; a report of all personnel actions reflecting the original appointment; promotion, demotion, reassignment, transfer, separation, or layoff; history of employment and correspondence directly related to the employee’s past employment record; reclassification or change in the employee’s rate of pay or position title; commendations; records of disciplinary action; training records; performance evaluations; and other records that may be pertinent to the employee’s employment record.  Records of authorized leaves earned and used shall also be maintained in such files.  

All other records required to be maintained separately by law shall be maintained in accordance with such laws.

1.3.3   Confidentiality and Access to Records
Personnel records shall be considered confidential and access to records shall, unless circumstances dictate otherwise, be limited to the Board of Selectmen or its agents, the Personnel Board, the Personnel Officer, persons authorized by the Personnel Board to administer the personnel system, and appointing authorities and department heads.  Any employee may have access to review his or her personnel file.  The employee’s review of his or her employment record shall be in the presence of persons authorized by the Personnel Board to administer the personnel system.

1.3.4   Centralization of Personnel Records
Records required to be maintained under these rules and regulations shall be centralized under the charge of the Personnel Officer within one year of the enactment of these rules and regulations.  The centralized records shall be maintained in a secure location.  This location shall be deemed to be the official depository of personnel records.  Nothing in these rules and regulations shall prohibit individual departments or employees from maintaining their own records but the centralized depository shall take precedence over other records when completed.

1.3.5   Records Required Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
        In accordance with the FLSA, all departments shall submit payroll records, records of hours worked, overtime, and any other information requested.  Such records shall be submitted to the Town Accountant or the Personnel Officer as necessary in the form prescribed.

1.3.6   Development of Forms
        The Personnel Officer shall, in consultation with the Personnel Board, develop or revise necessary forms in support of the personnel record keeping system.

1.3.7   Audit
        The Personnel Board may conduct an audit of the personnel record keeping system at any time.

1.4     Compliance with Personnel Regulations

        Failure of any appointing authority or department head to comply with the regulations set forth in this document may invalidate any personnel action.

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