Two proposals that would essentially re-establish Civil Service Commission-type citizen-led panels to hear disciplinary appeals from uniformed city personnel will be up for their final readings Monday before the Pine Bluff City Council.

Two proposals that would essentially re-establish Civil Service Commission-type citizen-led panels to hear disciplinary appeals from uniformed city personnel will be up for their final readings Monday before the Pine Bluff City Council.

One of the proposals is from Alderman Steven Mays and would re-establish the Civil Service Commission. A second is from Alderman Thelma Walker and would retain the current Review Committee but make significant changes to it, most notably changing the committee makeup from city employees to members of the public.

The council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday in council chambers at the civic complex. The Public Safety Committee meets at 4 p.m. and the Ordinances and Resolutions and Ways and Means committees meet at 5 p.m.

Representation from the Arkansas Division of the Police Benevolent Association Inc. stated at the March 5 council meeting that the police professional organization supports the re-establishment of the Civil Service Commission.

The Police Benevolent Association opposed the abolition of the Civil Service Commission when the council originally voted to dissolve it in 2007. The association filed a lawsuit challenging the change, and a judge ordered that the commission could not be dissolved until the conclusion of the lawsuit. A settlement was reached in June 2011, making way for the commission to be abolished.

Personnel matters are now handled by the leadership of the respective departments. To preside over appeals of disciplinary actions, the city council voted to establish a three-member Review Committee made up of an assistant city attorney selected by the city attorney, a department head and city employee who are selected at random for each case.

Mays’ proposed ordinance outlines a seven-member board of Pine Bluff residents, with appointments made by the city council.

Walker’s proposed ordinance would keep the Review Committee but change its makeup to 10 members divided into two panels of five members each. Any decision reached must be agreed upon by the majority of the whole number of each panel.

Any decision made by the committee could be appealed by the employee to the full City Council. The police and fire chiefs would not be able to appeal the decision.

Members would have to be Pine Bluff residents and be registered to vote. They would be eligible for reappointment to one succeeding term. Members would be appointed by members of the city council and the mayor, with each alderman appointing one member and the mayor appointing two members — all subject to confirmation by the council.

Each panel would select one of its members as chairman for each review case. The makeup of each panel would vary from case to case, to be determined at random.

In addition to the committee, the city would also be required to retain a private attorney to offer advice for any legal issues. The attorney used would rotate and be selected at random from a list maintained by the Human Resources Department. The cost for retaining the attorney would be paid by the department from which the appeal originated.

Under the proposal, five members of the committee would serve two-year terms and five members would serve three-year terms, to be determined by drawing lots.

Since the Review Committee has been in place, it has: overturned the firing of firefighter James “Tony” Gibson, who tested positive for marijuana; upheld the 30-day suspension of police officer Andrea Cherry, who was late for court, missed work and was insubordinate; reinstated and demoted former Lt. Rowland Dorman, who had been fired after being accused of sexual harassment; and reduced from 10 days to five days the suspension of Detective Charles Marty Harrison for not being able to locate one of his service weapons.

Other business

In other business, the council will consider:

• A proposed budget adjustment to carry over from the 2011 budget $705,292 in street department funds to the 2012 budget for street overlays and a shop roof replacement project. Of the funds, $40,000 will be spent on street overlays and $663,292 will go to the roof project, according to a document attached to the proposal in the council agenda packet. An additional $400,000 from the five-eighths-cent tax fund will be spent on street overlays.

• A proposed resolution that would honor Alderman Irene Holcomb for her 23 years serving on the City Council by renaming Third Avenue Neighborhood Park the Irene Holcomb Third Avenue Neighborhood Park. The item is sponsored by Alderman Thelma Walker.

• And a proposed resolution that would charge one property owner the cost of correcting nuisances on their property as delinquent taxes.