Legal Understanding

Public Employees Leadership Institute
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Modules

1. Labor Contracts, Negotiations
2. Operational Impacts of Labor Contracts
3. Administration of Labor Contracts
4. Other Contracts, 28E Agreements
5. OSHA/MSHA
6. Environmental: Clean Air & Water
7. Stormwater/NEPDES
8. Pedestrian Access/ADA
9. MUTCD
10. Drainage District Law


This course deals with several areas of a topic that sometimes is overlooked by public works supervisors, namely knowledge of the law. By its very nature, public works fundamentally involves decision-making impacting employee safety and health, protecting the environment, and stewardship of public resources. While a comprehensive understanding of the law in any of these areas is impractical for public works leaders, a working understanding of issues surrounding local, state, and federal regulations is critical to avoid legal liabilities and to promote successful operations.

Understanding the legal aspects of public works is perhaps best characterized as engaging in informed risk management, i.e., understanding the legal consequences impacting public works decisions in addition to the obvious engineering-related consequences on schedules, costs and project quality. Put simply, competent public works leadership must understand the basics of both the natural laws of physics and the social laws made by the public we serve. Although there can be significant differences between local and state laws, our attention in these course materials will be focused on both. Remember that there is no general substitute for competent local legal advice. When in doubt, engage legal counsel early, not late!

 

Skills are developed by knowing:

  • When significant legal consequences exist due to a decision or action
  • The source of the law or regulation that affects the same
  • Adequate details about the situation/problem to provide a complete picture to any adviser
  • Where (or from whom) competent advice may be requested and obtained

Once completed, participants should be able to:

  • Better understand the collective bargaining process of negotiations
  • Recognize a supervisor’s administrative duties and the operational impacts of a labor contract.
  • Understand the relevance of contract and 28E agreements
  • Recognize several federal laws with local impacts in areas of safety, environmental, & ADA

Key Concepts

  • Supervisory input into negotiations and responsibility for administration of labor contracts
  • Legal responsibilities created by construction, maintenance and 28E contracts
  • Interaction of State and local agencies to meet legal requirements of federal laws
  • Federal/State MUTCD is the signing/marking standard for all agencies
Instructors

James Hanks is a shareholder with the Des Moines, Iowa firm of Ahlers & Cooney, P.C., which represents a large number of local government bodies, including school districts, community colleges, area education agencies, cities, and counties. For the past ten years, Mr. Hanks has also represented the Governor in labor negotiations on behalf of the State of Iowa. The principal emphasis of his practice is in employment, local government, and educational law.

Mr. Hanks is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate and was a Rhodes Scholar nominee of the University of Iowa.  He received his law degree with high distinction from the College of Law of the University of Iowa and is the past chairperson of the Council of School Attorneys for the National School Boards Association. Currently, he serves as Revenue Enhancement Director and Chair of the Public Education Committee of the American Bar Association Section of State and Local Government and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Iowa Public Employers Labor Relations Association. He is the editor and was a contributing author for “School Violence: From Discipline to Due Process,” a publication of the American Bar Association Section of State and Local Government.


Institute course(s)
Legal Understanding

Position
Director of Human Resources, City of Des Moines, IA


Education
Undergraduate degree: University of Northern Iowa
Law degree: Drake University, with honors


Experience
Tom Turner is a native Iowan having been born and raised in the Waterloo area. He is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa and an honors graduate of the Drake University Law School. He has been engaged in the human resources field since 1981. He has been the chief human resources leader for Iowa Resources; now known as MidAmerican Energy and Homeland Bankshares Corporation before joining the City’s human resources staff in 1997. Tom served as the City’s human resources director from 1999 to 2011. He oversaw the department and led the City’s collective bargaining teams. Tom now serves at the Human Resources Director for Escambia County, a 1700 employee organization with offices located in Pensacola, Florida. He is a current member of the Iowa Bar and is a former President of the Iowa Public Employer Labor Relations Association, a statewide public sector human resources group. Tom and his wife Coralie, Chair of Modern Languages for Grandview University, reside in Des Moines and Pensacola. His children include a Lieutenant in the Navy JAG Corp, an ophthalmologist engaged in a cornea Fellowship in Dallas, Texas and a daughter who is practicing law also in Dallas, Texas.


Professional affiliations
Member of the Iowa Bar and the Society for Human Resources Management Former president of the Iowa Public Employer Labor Relations Association, a statewide public sector human resources group


Institute course(s)
Team Development
Legal Understanding

Julie is the Human Resources Director for the City of Ames. The City of Ames has close to 575 employees, with several hundred additional seasonal and temporary employees. Her role is to direct all of the HR activities, including an active leadership development program, health promotion program, and coordination of labor relations with five separate bargaining units.

Prior to coming to the City of Ames in 2003, she spent 22 years working for Phillips Petroleum Company in various human resources capacities, including labor, management development, corporate benefits, and international administration. She had work assignments in Stavanger, Norway; Caracas, Venezuela, and Maracaibo, Venezuela before moving to Ames in late 2000.  She was hired as the Human Resources Director for the Iowa State University Foundation in 2001, and helped them complete the privatization process from Iowa State University.

Julie completed her master’s degree in Adult Learning, Performance and Development through Drake University in 2008. At the same time, she completed the Executive and Professional Coaching certification program offered through the University of Texas at Dallas Graduate School of Management. She has also attained her Associate Certified Coach designation through the International Coach Federation, and is very interested in business and leadership coaching.


Institute course(s)
Legal Understanding

Dave is the Public Works Director/City Engineer for the City of Cedar Rapids, and as such is responsible for Public Works Department including Street Maintenance, Sewer Maintenance, Forestry, Engineering Planning, Design, Construction and Administration, Traffic Engineering and Traffic Signal Maintenance.

He has over 35 years of civil engineering experience in municipal and general civil engineering practice including industrial, commercial, institutional, and municipal design practice. Over 15 years experience with the City of Cedar Rapids as Water Utility Engineering Manager and City Engineer.

Dave holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and is a licensed Professional Engineer in Iowa, Wisconsin and Nevada and a licensed Land Surveyor in both Iowa and Wisconsin.


Institute course(s)
Legal Understanding

Jerry received a BS Degree at Iowa State University in 1982 in Industrial Education/Occupational Safety & Health. He worked 7 years as a Compliance Officer/Discrimination Officer for the Iowa Division of Labor Services before becoming a Loss Control Representative for Preferred Risk Insurance Companies. He then spent the following two years in various safety and security positions with Pirelli-Armstrong Tire Corporation,including the development and implementation of all their supervisor and employee health and safety training programs. In 1993, Jerry joined the Associated Builders and Contractors of Iowa their Director of Safety, assisting all ABC members with regulatory compliance activities.

Since 1995, Jerry has been the owner of his own consulting firm, Occupational Safety Consultants in Des Moines provides safety and health services to various local agencies, along with industrial, construction and educational institutions throughout the United States.


Institute course(s)
Legal Understanding

Scott C. Marler is the Environmental Resources Manager for the Iowa Department of Transportation, Ames, Iowa. He has over 15 years of natural resources experience related to wetland assessment, wetland delineation, wetland mitigation, wetland biology, plant identification, plant ecology, vegetation analysis, habitat assessment/management, stream assessment, and threatened/endangered species. He has directed and coordinated several research projects evaluating the ecological effectiveness of DOT mitigation efforts, as well as assessing regional interest in mitigation banking. He has specialized experience in wetland permitting and mitigation for Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and often works directly with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the US EPA and other public and private entities on environmental-related issues.


Institute course(s)
Legal Understanding

Mary Kay Solberg is an Environmental Specialist Senior for the Iowa Department of Transportation, Ames, Iowa. She has 20 years of experience in environmental regulatory compliance. She assists DOT facilities, statewide, with environmental issues related to: underground storage tanks, contaminated sites, wastewater, air quality, waste disposal, storm water, spill prevention, drainage and erosion problems, drinking water, and recycling. She is a member of the State Brownfield Advisory Committee and the Governor’s Green Advisory Committee.


Institute course(s)
Legal Understanding

Ben McAlister, P.E. is a Principal Engineer with the City of West Des Moines Department of Public Works.  His responsibilities include stormwater compliance, flood control, and oversight of operation and maintenance of the City’s storm sewer system. Ben has over 10 years of experience in stormwater and transportation engineering including modeling, analysis, design, and construction.


Institute course(s)
Legal Understanding

John graduated from Iowa State University in 1990 with a BS in Civil Engineering. He worked as a Transportation Engineer with AE Com for three years. He has been with the City of Ames for 17 years, and been the Public Works Director for the last 6 years.


Institute course(s)
Legal Understanding

Tom graduated from Iowa State University in Civil Engineering and served the Iowa DOT in various capacities, including District and Developmental Engineer, over his 33 year career with them.  From 1998-Present,  he has served as the Safety Circuit Rider for the Center for Transportation Research and Education (CTRE), now renamed as the Institute for Transportation (InTrans).

Many of you may recognize him as he is primarily responsible for developing and presenting workshops related to transportation safety including work zone traffic control, flagger training, and precepts of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. These workshops are provided at various locations around Iowa to counties, cities, utilities, and contractors. Other duties for Tom include developing conferences and seminars, contributing to research efforts, and offering advice on work zone traffic control and Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices requirements. Other activities include membership and active participation in the Iowa Safety management System Coordinating committee and membership chair for the Iowa Traffic Control and Safety Association.


Institute course(s)
Legal Understanding
Public Works Operations and Maintenance

Position
Program Manager; Institute for Transportation, Iowa State University (retired)


Experience
Was a county engineer in three different Iowa counties over a period of 31 years, most recently Story County. At InTrans served as a “Local Roads Safety Liaison” directing interactions with local / municipal public works agencies to make them aware of the many safety tools, software and training programs as well as funding opportunities available to them from various sources including the Iowa Department of Transportation and InTrans. Also assists in several other research projects that involve state and local governments.


Institute course(s)
Legal Understanding
Resource Management Skills
Basic Management Skills

 

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