Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 071137
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File Number: 071137 File Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: R-610-07 Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: AMEND TUITION REIMBURSEMENT PROGRAM Introduced: 4/11/2007
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 5/10/2007
Agenda Date: 5/8/2007 Agenda Item Number: 11A10ALTERNATE
Notes: Title: RESOLUTION DIRECTING THE COUNTY MAYOR TO IMPLEMENT REVISIONS TO THE COUNTY’S TUITION REIMBURSEMENT PROGRAM, AND TO CONDUCT NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE COUNTY’S COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGENTS AS APPROPRIATE [SEE ORIGINAL ITEM UNDER FILE NOS. 070140 AND 071003]
Indexes: TUITION REFUND PROGRAM
Sponsors: Budget and Finance Committee
  Sally A. Heyman, Co-Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 5/10/2007 11A10 ALTERNATE Adopted P
REPORT: Commissioner Jordan noted she was hopeful that this resolution would initiate negotiations between the Employee Relations Department (ERD) and the Unions as part of a Collective Bargaining Agreement process. She stated the Board should reinstate the provision that additional training sought by Tuition Reimbursement Program (TRP) participants relate to their projected career path, and that the Board should consider whether to limit the amount of reimbursed funds. Commissioner Edmonson expressed concern that as proposed, this resolution would restrict employees’ ability to advance their careers in a different area from which they were currently employed. Commissioner Moss noted that reasonable parameters needed to be established to protect the County’s resources. He stated the purpose of the TRP was to assist employees in paying for their education. Commissioner Jordan asked County Manager Burgess to submit a report for the Board’s review outlining the County’s tuition reimbursement process, plan(s) to recover overpayments, and any disciplinary actions taken as a result. County Manager Burgess noted monies were collected upfront or through a payment plan alternative, and a Tuition Refund Appeals Board was established to ensure all the facts were collected. Responding to Commissioner Martinez’s question regarding the length of employment requirement, Assistant County Attorney Kraftchick noted it was recommended that negotiators impose a three year limit for participants to receive the refund. Commissioner Sorenson noted that supervisors should determine whether skills attained by respective employees furthering their education were consistent with the department’s needs. She noted it was not the County’s responsibility to pay for employees to receive training that did not relate to their current jobs. Mr. Piper noted that the Supervisor and Director would determine whether training received by employees were applicable to their respective department. Responding to Commissioner Heyman’s questions regarding a line item stating the availability of funds for employee enhancement and the criteria to determine potential TRP candidates, County Manager Burgess advised department directors determined the budget dollars. Mr. Donald Allen, Employee Relations Department (ERD) Director, advised that any employee who pursued a course illogical to a career in the County was turned down. County Manager Burgess noted a nexus should exist between the job and education sought by TRP participants. Chairman Barreiro noted the three year employment duration requirement should be mandatory for all employees participating in TRP. He stated that the length of employment should be extended for TRP participants studying towards a master’s degree. Commissioner Jordan noted the goal of this resolution was to prevent TRP participants from taking advantage of taxpayer dollars to pursue a career with no intention to remain an employee of the county. Hearing no other questions or comments, the Commission proceeded to vote.

Board of County Commissioners 5/8/2007 11A10 ALTERNATE Carried over 5/10/2007

County Attorney 4/11/2007 Assigned Lee Kraftchick

Budget and Finance Committee 4/10/2007 2G Substitute Alternate Forwarded to BCC with a favorable recommendation P
REPORT: See Report Under Agenda Item 2G SUBSTITUTE, Legislative File No. 071003.

Legislative Text


TITLE
RESOLUTION DIRECTING THE COUNTY MAYOR TO IMPLEMENT REVISIONS TO THE COUNTY’S TUITION REIMBURSEMENT PROGRAM, AND TO CONDUCT NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE COUNTY’S COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGENTS AS APPROPRIATE

BODY
WHEREAS, County Administrative Order 7-4, Tuition Refund Program, provides for employees enrolled in accredited educational institutions to be reimbursed for 50% of tuition costs, for approved coursework which will enable them to improve their performance in their current positions and prepare them for increased responsibilities; and
WHEREAS, recent investigations into the use of the Tuition Refund Program have revealed that some employees are receiving substantially greater benefits than were originally intended; and
WHEREAS, the benefits County employees receive under the current Tuition Refund Program exceed what employees of other local governments in this area receive; and
WHEREAS, the Board wishes to continue to encourage employees to seek educational opportunities which will enable them to improve their performance in their current positions and prepare them for increased responsibilities; and
WHEREAS, the Board also wishes to ensure that in expending public funds, the County’s Tuition Refund Program is fiscally responsible and includes adequate program oversight and controls; and
WHEREAS, the Board recognizes that the benefits provided by the Tuition Refund Program have become a term and condition of employment that has been incorporated into the County’s collective bargaining agreements; and
WHEREAS, the Board recognizes that certain changes to the Tuition Refund Program with respect to unionized employees requires negotiation with the County’s collective bargaining agents,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that the Board directs the County Mayor to seek to negotiate with the County’s collective bargaining agents the following changes to the County’s Tuition Refund Program:
(1) the imposition of a payment cap on the amount of tuition refunds that any individual employee can receive either per credit-hour, calendar year or other criteria as appropriate to ensure fiscal discipline of the program; and

(2). the imposition of a requirement that employees who receive tuition refunds from the County to either remain employed with the County for a period of up to, but not exceeding three (3) years following completion of coursework and should the employee separate from the County before the defined period expires, the employee shall reimburse the County for all tuition paid by the County within that period of time; and

(3) the course must be reasonably related to the employee's career path.



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