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MULFORD v. KANSAS DEPT. OF HUMAN RESOURCES

April 20, 1990.

VERNE E. MULFORD, Appellee,
v.
THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES and THE DIVISION OF PERSONNEL SERVICES OF THE STATE OF KANSAS, Appellants.



The Kansas Department of Human Resources (KDHR) and the Kansas Department of Administration, Division of Personnel Services (DPS), appeal from the trial court's reversal of the agency's ruling on the job classification of Verne E. Mulford.

[14 Kan. App. 2d 387]

     

Verne E. Mulford was a Physical Plant Supervisor II for the State of Kansas. In 1985, DPS did a comprehensive classification study of some job classes. It was determined that there was a need to update class specifications. In Phase II of the study, DPS reviewed 72 classes of mechanics, repairers, and operators.

Under the preliminary updated classification descriptions, Mulford was listed as a Physical Plant Supervisor II. As part of the standard procedure during the course of the study, after all positions were reassigned to the new proposed classes, the agencies were provided a printout of where the employees would be placed in the new class schedule. The various agencies then reviewed the printout to make changes.

In October 1986, Bud Pierce, the director of personnel services of KDHR received the printout from DPS that had the preliminary allocations for all of the Department's positions that were involved in the Phase II study. Pierce also received the proposed class specifications for the new classes. Pierce was asked to review the preliminary allocations and make corrections or suggestions. Pierce found problems with five of the eleven KDHR positions. One of the positions was Mulford's. It appeared to Pierce that the proposed class specification for the new Physical Plant Supervisor II did not fit Mulford's position; rather, Mulford's position fit the description of Physical Plant Supervisor I.

  Pierce contacted Mulford's supervisory personnel and reviewed the preliminary allocations and proposed class specifications. They recommended that Mulford be classified as a Physical Plant Supervisor I. When the new printout came out, it listed Mulford's position as Physical Plant Supervisor I under the new scheme.

  Under his old classification as Supervisor II, Mulford's salary range was 23. Under the new classification scheme as Supervisor I, Mulford's salary range was 23. If he had been a Supervisor II under the new scheme, his salary range would have been 25.

  Mulford attended "Tell the Governor" day for state employees and complained about his job classification. He was informed by the Governor's office that an "on-site" review of his job would be done by DPS to determine the most appropriate classification. The review was done by Kenneth Otte and Lois Ryan, analysts for DPS. Mulford was allowed to present documentation to the analysts supporting his position.

[14 Kan. App. 2d 388]

     

  After the on-site visit, both analysts independently analyzed the information and wrote up their reports; both found that Mulford should clearly be classified as a Physical Plant Supervisor I. DPS presented its final findings in a letter dated February 22, 1988, with the conclusion that Mulford was a Physical Plant Supervisor I. On March 23, 1988, Mulford filed a petition for judicial review in district court.

  In his petition, Mulford argued that his job class was lowered without due process. KDHR and DPS filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that while there had been a reclassification of job titles, there was no change in salary and no damage. They also argued that the matter was not justiciable under the Kansas Act for Judicial Review and Civil Enforcement of Agency Actions, K.S.A. 77-601 et seq. Finally, they argued that, even if Mulford were damaged, back pay is not a proper remedy.

  In his trial brief, Mulford argued that he had a property interest in his job, which cannot be infringed upon arbitrarily. He argued that the interest was in retaining the classification so as to achieve a pay gain and avoid the embarrassment of being placed in a lower job; that, although K.A.R. 1-4-1(c) allows classification plans to be revised, the only basis for reclassification is a change in duties; and that K.A.R. 1-1-1(c) requires a position-to-position study to be done to compare his duties to that of other employees to see if they are doing the same work.

  KDHR argued that there is a difference between establishing a new classification system and reclassifying an employee under an existing system and that no showing of change of duties is needed when a new system is put in place. It also argued that ...


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