Duties and Responsibilities

The duties of the Merit System Protection Board are contained in the Charter of Montgomery County, Maryland, Article 4, Merit System and Conflicts of Interest, Section 404, Duties of the Merit System Protection Board; the Montgomery County Code, Article II Merit System, Chapter 33; and the Montgomery County Personnel Regulations, Sections 33-7 and 35-20.

Section 404, Duties of the Merit System Protection Board, states as follows:

"Any employee under the merit system who is removed, demoted, or suspended shall have, as a matter of right, an opportunity for a hearing before the Merit System Protection Board, which may assign the matter to a hearing examiner to conduct a hearing and provide the Board with a report and recommendations. The charges against the employee shall be stated in writing, in such form as the Board shall require. If the Board assigns the matter to a hearing examiner, any party to the proceeding shall have, as a matter of right, an opportunity to present an oral argument on the record before the Board prior to a final decision. The Board shall establish procedures consistent with law for the conduct of its hearings. The decisions of the Board in such appeals shall not be subject to review except by a court of competent jurisdiction. The Council shall provide by law for the investigation and resolution of formal grievances filed under the merit system and any additional duties or responsibilities of the Board. The Board shall conduct on a periodic basis special studies and audits of the administration of the merit and retirement pay systems and file written reports of its findings and recommendations with the Executive and the Council. The Board shall comment on any proposed changes in the merit system law or regulations in a timely manner as provided by law.”

Section 33-7. County Executive and Merit System Protection Board Responsibilities, Article II, Merit System of the Montgomery County Code, defines the Merit System Protection Board responsibilities as follows:

(a) Generally. In performing its functions, the Board is expected to protect the merit system and to protect employee and applicant rights guaranteed under the merit system, including protection against arbitrary and capricious recruitment and supervisory actions, support for recruitment and supervisory actions demonstrated by the facts to be proper, and to approach these matters without any bias or predilection to either supervisors or subordinates. The remedial and enforcement powers of the Board granted herein must be exercised by the Board as needed to rectify personnel actions found to be improper. The Board must comment on any proposed changes in the merit system law or regulations, at or before the public hearing thereon. The Board, subject to the appropriation process, must establish its staffing requirements and define the duties of its staff.

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(c) Classification standards. With respect to classification matters, the County Executive must provide by personnel regulation, adopted under Method (1), standards for establishing and maintaining a classification plan. These standards may include but are not limited to the following:

  1. The necessary components of class specifications;
  2. Criteria for the establishment of new classes, modification or elimination of existing classes;
  3. Criteria for the assignment of positions to classes;
  4. Kinds of data required to substantiate allocation of positions;
  5. Guidelines for comparing levels of job difficulty and complexity; and
  6. Criteria for the establishment or abolishment of positions.

The Board must conduct or authorize periodic audits of classification assignments made by the Chief Administrative Officer and of the general structure and internal consistency of the classification plan, and must submit audit findings and recommendations to the County Executive and County Council.

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(f) Personnel regulation review. The Merit System Protection Board must meet and confer with the Chief Administrative Officer and employees and their organizations from time to time to review the need to amend these regulations.

(g) Adjudication. The Board must hear and decide disciplinary appeals or grievances upon the request of a merit system employee who has been removed, demoted or suspended and in such other cases as required herein.

(h) Retirement. The Board may from time to time prepare and recommend to the Council modifications to the County’s system of retirement pay.

(i) Personnel management oversight. The Board must review and study the administration of the county classification and retirement plans and other aspects of the merit system and transmit to the Chief Administrative Officer, County Executive and County Council its findings and recommendations. The Board must conduct such special studies and audits on any matter relating to personnel as may be periodically requested by the County Council. All County agencies, departments and offices and County employees and organizations must cooperate with the Board and have adequate notice and an opportunity to participate in any such review initiated under this section.

(j) Publication. Consistent with the requirements of State law, confidentiality and other provisions of law, the Board must publish, at least annually, abstracts of its decisions, rulings, opinions and interpretations, and maintain a permanent record of its decisions.

The Montgomery County Personnel Regulations, Section 35-20(a), provide:

"The MSPB has the responsibility and authority to conduct audits, investigations or inquiries to assure that the administration of the merit system complies with County Law and these regulations."