SENATE BILL 371
56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2023
Antonio Maestas and Christine Chandler
RELATING TO THE OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL; CREATING AN EXCEPTION FROM THE PERSONNEL ACT FOR EMPLOYEES OF THE OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL; EXPANDING THE SCOPE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY PERSONNEL AND COMPENSATION ACT TO INCLUDE EMPLOYEES OF THE OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. Section 10-9-4 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1961, Chapter 240, Section 4, as amended) is amended to read:
"10-9-4. COVERAGE OF SERVICE.--The Personnel Act and the service cover all state positions except:
A. officials elected by popular vote or appointed to fill vacancies to elective offices;
B. members of boards and commissions and heads of agencies appointed by the governor;
C. heads of agencies appointed by boards or commissions;
D. directors of department divisions;
E. those in educational institutions and in public schools;
F. those employed by state institutions and by state agencies providing educational programs and who are required to hold valid certificates as certified school instructors as defined in Section 22-1-2 NMSA 1978 issued by the public education department;
G. those in the governor's office;
H. those in the office of the attorney general;
[H.] I. those in the state militia or the commissioned officers of the New Mexico state police division of the department of public safety;
[I.] J. those in the judicial branch of government;
[J.] K. those in the public defender department, upon implementation of personnel policies and rules by the public defender commission;
[K.] L. those in the legislative branch of government;
[L.] M. not more than two assistants and one secretary in the office of each official listed in Subsections A, B and C of this section, excluding members of boards and commissions in Subsection B of this section;
[M.] N. those of a professional or scientific nature that are temporary in nature;
[N.] O. those filled by patients or inmates in charitable, penal or correctional institutions;
[O.] P. state employees if the board in its discretion decides that the position is one of policymaking; and
[P.] Q. disadvantaged youth under twenty-two years of age regularly enrolled or to be enrolled in a secondary educational institution approved by the public education department or in an accredited state institution of advanced learning or vocational training and who are to be employed for not more than seven hundred twenty hours during any calendar year:
(1) the term "disadvantaged youth" shall be defined for purposes of this exemption by regulation duly promulgated by the board; and
(2) the board shall:
(a) require that all the criteria of this subsection have been met;
(b) establish employment lists for the certification of the highest-standing candidates to the prospective employers; and
(c) establish the pay rates for such employees."
SECTION 2. Section 36-1A-2 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1991, Chapter 175, Section 2) is amended to read:
"36-1A-2. PURPOSE OF ACT--ENACTMENT UNDER CONSTITUTION.--The purpose of the District Attorney Personnel and Compensation Act is to establish for all district attorneys and the office of the attorney general a uniform, equitable and binding system of personnel administration. The system shall be based solely on qualification and ability and will provide for classifications, compensation, fringe benefits, disciplinary procedures, appeal rights and other aspects of state employment. The District Attorney Personnel and Compensation Act will also provide a system of classification and compensation of district attorney and attorney general personnel that is comparable to the personnel system in effect for other similar state employees. The District Attorney Personnel and Compensation Act is enacted pursuant to the provisions of Article 7, Section 2 of the constitution of New Mexico."
SECTION 3. Section 36-1A-3 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1991, Chapter 175, Section 3) is amended to read:
"36-1A-3. DEFINITIONS.--As used in the District Attorney Personnel and Compensation Act:
A. "appeal" means a formal request for a full hearing before the board or authorized hearing officer to review a disciplinary action solely involving suspension, demotion or termination of a covered employee in a district attorney's office or the office of the attorney general;
B. "board" means the district attorney personnel review board;
C. "class specification" means a written statement of the duties and responsibilities characteristic of a class of positions and includes the class title, supervision exercised and received, guidelines available, examples of work performed, working conditions and minimum qualifications or substitutions thereof that specify education, training, health, experience, knowledge, abilities and skills required for a position;
D. "classification series" means a group of class specifications or employment positions similar enough in powers and responsibilities that they can be covered by similar qualifications and titles. A classification series may consist of many levels, starting with the entry level position and advancing upward in duties, complexity, authority and responsibility;
E. "compensation plan" means a plan that establishes for each class in the plan a salary range that consists of at least minimum and maximum salaries, as authorized by the legislature;
F. "covered employee" means a person in a full-time or part-time covered position who has successfully completed the probationary period and is covered by all provisions of the District Attorney Personnel and Compensation Act;
G. "covered position" means any position within a district attorney's office or the office of the attorney general except the positions of district attorney, attorney, district office manager, public information officer, chief financial officer, chief administrative officer, chief information officer, human resources manager and special program director;
H. "disciplinary action" means a suspension, demotion or dismissal of a covered employee;
I. "district attorneys" means the [present] current fourteen duly elected district attorneys, or a substitute appointee for one of them, plus any additional elected district attorneys or future appointees created after the effective date of the District Attorney Personnel and Compensation Act;
J. "employee" means a person in a full-time or part-time position in a district attorney's office or the office of the attorney general, but shall not be construed to include district attorneys or the attorney general;
K. "performance evaluation" means the written appraisal of an employee's performance of assigned duties;
L. "position" means any position in a district attorney's office or the office of the attorney general; and
M. "probationary employee" means a person who is appointed to a covered position but who has not yet completed the probationary period."
SECTION 4. Section 36-1A-4 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1991, Chapter 175, Section 4) is amended to read:
"36-1A-4. COVERAGE OF SERVICE--EXEMPTIONS.--
A. The District Attorney Personnel and Compensation Act shall cover all employees, except only covered employees shall be entitled to utilize grievance procedures and the appeals provisions in Section [9 of the District Attorney Personnel and Compensation Act] 36-1A-9 NMSA 1978.
B. The positions of attorney, district office manager, public information officer, chief financial officer, chief administrative officer, chief information officer, human resources manager and special program director are "at will" positions that serve at the pleasure of the district attorney or the attorney general."
SECTION 5. Section 36-1A-5 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1991, Chapter 175, Section 5) is amended to read:
"36-1A-5. PERSONNEL BOARD--APPOINTMENT.--There is created the "district attorney personnel review board". The board shall consist of five district attorneys [including] and the attorney general. District attorneys and the attorney general shall annually elect a president, vice president, secretary-treasurer and [two] three voting members [all elected annually by the district attorneys]."
SECTION 6. Section 36-1A-7 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1991, Chapter 175, Section 7) is amended to read:
"36-1A-7. BOARD--DUTIES.--The board shall:
A. recommend to the district attorneys [regulations] and the attorney general rules necessary or appropriate to implement and administer the District Attorney Personnel and Compensation Act;
B. determine the qualifications for each class specification or classification series, including required levels of education, experience, special skills and legal knowledge;
C. prepare class specifications to be performed in each class of positions;
D. recommend a compensation plan of pay ranges to which class specifications and classification series are assigned, subject to legislative appropriations;
E. hear appeals solely involving suspension, demotion or termination of a covered employee, and render its final decision, unless the covered employee elects under Section [9 of the District Attorney Personnel and Compensation Act] 36-1A-9 NMSA 1978 to have the appeal heard by a state-personnel-office-designated hearing officer;
F. make periodic reviews of the personnel regulations, classification plan and compensation ranges that govern employees to ensure that all federal action, legislative mandates and other substantive changes are incorporated into the [regulations] rules in a timely fashion and make recommendations thereon to the district attorneys and the attorney general;
G. recommend to the district attorneys and to the attorney general to contract for services of consultants necessary to perform a compensation or classification plan of all district attorney and attorney general positions, subject to legislative appropriation; and
H. consider other personnel matters as designated by the district attorneys and the attorney general."
SECTION 7. Section 36-1A-8 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1991, Chapter 175, Section 8) is amended to read:
A. Personnel rules shall be promulgated by the district attorneys and the attorney general and shall be effective when filed as required by law.
B. The personnel rules of the district attorneys and the attorney general shall include provisions governing:
(1) a classification plan for all positions;
(2) a compensation plan for all positions;
(3) a reasonable period of probation during which a probationary employee may be discharged, demoted or transferred without benefit of hearing;
(4) hours of work requirements and holiday, overtime and leave policies;
(5) the evaluation of performance of employees for the purpose of improving staff effectiveness;
(6) any reduction in force needed due to lack of funds or work, abolition of a position, material change in duties or reorganization;
(7) promotions or transfers, which shall give appropriate consideration to the applicant's qualifications, skills, job performance and duties;
(8) a disciplinary procedure, which shall provide for an equitable response to infractions of rules or work performance standards; and
(9) an appeal process to review a disciplinary action solely involving suspension, demotion or termination."
SECTION 8. Section 36-1A-11 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1991, Chapter 175, Section 11) is amended to read:
"36-1A-11. DISTRICT ATTORNEYS AND ATTORNEY GENERAL TO ESTABLISH A COMPENSATION PLAN COVERAGE.--
A. The district attorneys and the attorney general shall establish a compensation plan for all employees of district attorneys or the attorney general. Before being implemented, the compensation plan shall be reviewed by the legislative finance committee and approved by the department of finance and administration. The compensation plan shall substantially conform to the compensation plan and classification series in effect for all other state employees. In addition, the plan shall include class specifications and requirements for performance evaluation.
B. The compensation plan provided by this section and adopted by the district attorneys and the attorney general shall apply to all employees."
SECTION 9. Section 36-1A-12 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1991, Chapter 175, Section 12) is amended to read:
"36-1A-12. ADDITIONAL DUTIES OF DISTRICT ATTORNEYS AND THE OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL.--The district attorneys as a group and the attorney general shall:
A. adopt and promulgate [regulations] rules to effectuate the provisions of the compensation plan for all employees;
B. conduct periodic reviews of the [regulations] rules, classification series and compensation ranges to ensure that applicable federal action, legislative mandates and other substantive changes are incorporated in the compensation plan in a timely fashion;
C. contract for consultant services to reevaluate the classification and compensation plans to ensure their compatibility, subject to legislative appropriation, with classes covered by the Personnel Act and the judicial pay plan; and
D. prepare an annual fiscal report and specify proposed changes, if any, to the compensation plan prior to each regular legislative session. Before any proposed changes are implemented, they shall be reviewed by the legislative finance committee and approved by the department of finance and administration."
SECTION 10. Section 36-1A-15 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1991, Chapter 175, Section 15) is amended to read:
"36-1A-15. FEDERAL FUNDS AND ASSISTANCE.--When the provisions of any laws of the United States or any rule, order or regulation of any federal agency or authority providing federal funds for use in the state, either directly or indirectly or as a grant-in-aid, to be matched or otherwise, impose as a condition for the receipt of such funds other or higher personnel standards or different classifications than are provided for by the District Attorney Personnel and Compensation Act, the board shall recommend to the district attorneys and the attorney general adoption of rules [and regulations] to meet the requirements of such laws, rules, order or regulation."
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