Section 11-44B-48

Conduct of hearing; appeal and review.

(a) Within 90 calendar days after receipt of written charges or a written appeal of an employee from a decision after predisciplinary hearing, the board shall schedule and hold a public hearing in regard thereto and render a decision. The board shall provide notice of the hearing to the mayor, the employee's department head, and the city attorney. At the hearing, the employee shall be entitled to be represented by an attorney of his or her choosing and expense.

(b) If the regular status employee appeals, no disciplinary action taken against the employee shall become final until the board holds a hearing on the action. Provided however, suspensions with or without pay in regard to seeking an employee's termination shall remain in effect until a final ruling by the board unless otherwise ordered by the board.

(c) All hearings before the board shall be recorded and transcribed. In all cases, the decision of the board shall be reduced to writing and entered in the record of the case. The board may in its decision uphold the disciplinary action, modify the disciplinary action, increase the punishment, set aside the disciplinary action, or impose some other disciplinary action as warranted by the evidence and pursuant to the law.

(d) In any proceeding before the board, the city attorney or his or her designee shall appear and represent the interests of the city. The mayor, department head, or any member of the city council shall also have the right to appear and be heard by the board.

(e) The board shall have the power to administer oaths, take depositions, certify official acts, and issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and production of papers necessary as evidence in connection with any hearing, investigation, or proceeding within the purview of this article. The board or its representative may invoke the aid of the circuit court of the county in which the city is located to enforce subpoenas. The fees of witnesses for attendance and travel shall be the same as fees for witnesses in the circuit courts of this state and shall be paid from the treasury of the city.

(f) Any party, including the mayor, department head, or city council, aggrieved by a final decision of the board shall be entitled to a review of the decision by the circuit court of the county in which the city is located, by filing a petition in the court within 30 days after the final decision is rendered. Upon the filing of any petition, notice thereof shall be served upon the chair of the board, the mayor, and on the petitioner. The petition shall be heard by the court at the earliest practicable date. Review by the court shall be without a jury and confined to the record, including a transcript of the evidence. The court, upon the terms and conditions it deems proper, at any time before the hearing of the petition, may permit the taking of additional evidence before the board and allow modification of the findings and final decision of the board. The court upon a hearing of the petition, shall have power to affirm or reverse and render the decision of the board or reverse and remand the matter to the board for further proceedings consistent with the judgment of the court. The court shall affirm the decision of the board unless it finds that the substantial rights of the petitioner have been prejudiced because the final decision of the board was any of the following:

(1) Unsupported by substantial evidence in the record submitted.

(2) In excess of the authority conferred by this article on the board.

(3) Violative of constitutional provisions.

(4) Arbitrary or capricious.

(g) An appeal may be taken from any final judgment of the circuit court to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals or the Alabama Supreme Court, or both, pursuant to the Alabama Rules of Appellate Procedure. The decision or order of the board shall not be superseded pending any review or appeal, and the city shall not be obligated to pay the salary of any employee who is not working during the pendency of any review or appeal.

(h) All cases pending before any civil service or personnel board pursuant to prior legislative requirements on March 15, 2006, shall be transferred to the board and the proceedings shall be held in accordance with this article.

(Act 2006-233, p. 420, §9.)