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J_ECLC_2017A 12/15/2017 10:04:40 AM Committee Summary

Final

STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING



COMMITTEE ON EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL

Date: 12/15/2017
ATTENDANCE
Time: 10:04 AM to 11:44 AM
Becker K.
X
Guzman
X
Place: SCR 352
Holbert
X
Neville P.
X
This Meeting was called to order by
Duran
X
Senator Grantham
Grantham
X
This Report was prepared by
Amanda King
X = Present, E = Excused, A = Absent, * = Present after roll call, R = Remote Participation
Bills Addressed: Action Taken:
Consideration of Hiring a Human Resources Professional

Consideration of Workplace Harassment Policy Review

Consideration of Add'l. Workplace Harassment Training

Other Business
Recommendation(s) Approved

Recommendation(s) Approved

Recommendation(s) Approved

Committee Discussion Only





10:04 AM -- Consideration of Hiring a Human Resources Professional



President Grantham made open remarks about the meeting. He stated that no public testimony would be taking during the meeting.



10:09 AM



Speaker Duran made opening remarks about the meeting. She discussed steps that may be taken to address sexual harassment in the Capitol. President Grantham reviewed the meeting agenda that was distributed to the committee members (Attachment A).



171215 AttachA.pdf171215 AttachA.pdf





10:12 AM



Sharon Eubanks, Office of Legislative Legal Services, answered questions from the committee regarding Joint Rule 38, concerning the workplace harassment policy, and the possibility of hiring a human resources professional for the General Assembly. Ms. Eubanks discussed the issues a human resources professional may handle for an organization. She discussed the staff who currently handle personnel issues for the various legislative agencies. Ms. Eubanks discussed the number of people a potential human resources professional may serve if the person was to be responsible for all of the legislative service agencies, excluding the Office of the State Auditor. Ms. Eubanks responded to questions regarding whether or not a human resources professional hired for the General Assembly should be an attorney. In response to a question, Ms. Eubanks discussed the Legislative Management Team, often referred to as the LMT. She answered questions about the role of a human resources professional to address sexual harassment concerns under Joint Rule 38, as it is currently written.



10:26 AM



Ms. Eubanks answered questions about the legal resources a human resources professional may be able to access. She discussed the existing membership relationship the Office of Legislative Legal Services has with Employers Council and the statutory authority of the Committee on Legal Services to retain legal counsel on behalf of the General Assembly.



10:31 AM



Ms. Eubanks responded to additional questions about how a human resources professional could address sexual harassment accusations under the policies currently outlined in Joint Rule 38. Majority Leader Becker discussed developing a job description outlining the roles and responsibilities for a human resources professional and determining where a human resources professional would be housed. Majority Leader Holbert discussed establishing a gate-keeper position for all those working at or visiting the Capitol to go to regarding sexual harassment issues.



10:37 AM



Ms. Eubanks answered questions about the capacity of the legislative budget to hire a human resources professional for the upcoming session.



10:38 AM



Elizabeth Burger, Legislative Council Staff, stated that the Legislative Department Cash Fund could be available to hire a contract human resources professional for the remainder of FY 2017-18. In response to a question, Ms. Burger discussed the placement of the human resources professional in one of the existing legislative agencies. Ms. Eubanks discussed the fund. Ms. Eubanks answered questions about which state employees would be covered by policies adopted by the Executive Committee or General Assembly. Ms. Eubanks responded to questions about how a human resources professional could be incorporated in the current legislative agency structure.







10:48 AM



Ms. Eubanks answered questions regarding the potential for issues to arise due to legal limitations concerning privileged communications and confidentiality depending on in which agency the human resources professional is housed. The committee continued to discussed the possibility of hiring of a human resources professional for the legislative branch. Ms. Eubanks mentioned that some other state legislatures have human resources divisions for the legislative branch, and that legislation may be necessary to establish a permanent human resources office within the Colorado legislative branch. Majority Leader Becker outlined the potential criteria for a human resources professional for the legislative branch, including the person being non-partisan, on staff year round, be accessible to all people who work in the State Capitol, and having the ability to seek legal counsel. The committee discussed how the human resources professional could maintain independence, depending on where the position is housed and who hires the person.

BILL: Consideration of Hiring a Human Resources Professional
TIME: 11:07:45 AM
MOVED: Holbert
MOTION: Move that the Executive Committee authorize the Director of the Office of Legislative Legal Services and the Director of Legislative Council Staff to propose a job description and to seek the hiring of an individual to be an independent human resources personnel to be a resource to all persons in the State Capitol, to hire that person on at least a contract basis through the 2018 General Session, with the intention that the position would become permanent with a new FTE included in the FY 2018-19 legislative budget and moving forward. The motion passed on a vote of 6-0.
SECONDED:
VOTE
Becker K.
Yes
Guzman
Yes
Holbert
Yes
Neville P.
Yes
Duran
Yes
Grantham
Yes
YES: 6 NO: 0 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 REMOTE PARTICIPATION: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS



11:07 AM -- Consideration of a Review of the Legislature’s Existing Workplace Harassment



President Grantham made comments regarding a potential Request for Proposals (RFP) to evaluate existing workplace harassment rules, polices, and procedures of the Colorado General Assembly.





11:10 AM



Speaker Duran discussed hiring an outside expert to involve all interested parties to help develop a sexual harassment policy. She stated she would like the RFP posted by December 20, 2017, with responses due by January 3, 2018. Committee members commented on the unique nature and challenges of creating policies for the legislature. Majority Leader Becker discussed the need to pass a rule to address sexual harassment before the end of the legislative session. President Grantham said that the language of the RFP would be worked on in the next few days. In response to a question, Ms. Burger stated that the draft RFP directs the submissions be submitted to Mike Mauer, Director of Research, Legislative Council Staff.

BILL: Consideration of a Review of the Legislature’s Existing Workplace Harassment
TIME: 11:20:34 AM
MOVED: Duran
MOTION: Move approval an RFP that will be finalized in collaboration with the Office of Legislative Legal Services, Legislative Council Staff, and the Executive Committee by December 20, 2017, and ask that staff post it on the same day, with a submission deadline of January 3, 2018. The motion passed on a vote of 6-0.
SECONDED:
VOTE
Becker K.
Yes
Guzman
Yes
Holbert
Yes
Neville P.
Yes
Duran
Yes
Grantham
Yes
YES: 6 NO: 0 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 REMOTE PARTICIPATION: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS





11:22 AM -- Consideration of Additional Legislator Workplace Harassment Training



Ms. Eubanks stated that currently training regarding workplace harassment occurs every two years at the beginning of each new General Assembly. Ms. Eubanks answered questions about whether a human resources professional hired for the General Assembly could conduct on-going training and potentially offer lobbyists training regarding sexual harassment. Committee members commented on potential changes to the sexual harassment training for legislators and staff.

BILL: Consideration of Additional Legislator Workplace Harassment Training
TIME: 11:34:13 AM
MOVED: Becker K.
MOTION: Move that the Office of Legislative Legal Services schedule harassment prevention training for members, aides, and interns as soon as possible during the 2018 legislative session. The motion passed on a vote of 6-0.
SECONDED:
VOTE
Becker K.
Yes
Guzman
Yes
Holbert
Yes
Neville P.
Yes
Duran
Yes
Grantham
Yes
YES: 6 NO: 0 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 REMOTE PARTICIPATION: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS



11:35 AM -- Other Business



Majority Leader Holbert posed a question regarding media accounts of public funds being used to settle sexual harassment claims at the federal level and in other states. In response to the question, Ms. Eubanks explained the sources of public funds available to the General Assembly, which are appropriated funds, the Legislative Expenses Cash Fund, and Legislative Department Cash Fund. She discussed the internal control processes regarding those funds, including the preparation and approval of payment forms, which require supporting documentation. Ms. Eubanks stated that all payment forms are reviewed and approved by the Controller for the General Assembly before being entered into the state system for payment. She also stated that records regarding expenditures by the General Assembly are subject to an annual audit and the Colorado Open Records Act. Ms. Eubanks stated that to date there are no actions involving workplace harassment that have been filed and no settlements paid. She discussed how any pending or threatened complaints concerning workplace harassment could be resolved. Ms. Eubanks stated that no legislative member has the authority to obligate or access public funds directly. She stated that members are not provided office accounts from public funds.



11:44 AM



The committee adjourned.




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