Governmental Operations

In its first opinion of the term in Mt. Lemmon Fire District v. Guido the Supreme Court ruled 8-0 that the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) applies to state and local government employers with less than 20 employees. The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus brief arguing that it should not apply. State and local governments often rely on small special districts to provide services they don’t provide.  

John Guido was 46 and Dennis Rankin was 54 when they were laid off by the Mount Lemmon Fire District. They claim they were terminated because of their age in violation of the ADEA. They were the oldest of the district’s 11 employees. 

The fire district argued that the ADEA does not apply to it because it employs fewer than 20 people. The Ninth Circuit disagreed.

In Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission v. American Humanist Association the Supreme Court will decide whether a local government has violated the First Amendment by displaying and maintaining a 93-year-old, 40-foot tall Latin cross memorializing soldiers who died in World War I.  

Prince George’s County citizens and an American Legion Post raised money to build the monument. In 1925 it was dedicated at a Christian prayer service. Over the years Christian religious services have been held at the cross.

In 1961 the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission took title of the land and the cross because it is located in the middle of a busy traffic median. The cross is part of a park honoring veterans. Other monuments are located anywhere from 200 feet to a half-a-mile from the cross. None are taller than 10 feet.

CSG Midwest
The number of people with disabilities working for the state of Minnesota has risen considerably over the past four years, reflecting a concerted effort across agencies to improve outreach, recruitment and hiring practices. The latest state figures show that 7 percent of the workforce has a disability of some kind — the goal set by Gov. Mark Dayton in a 2014 executive order. “We need a state workforce that reflects the diverse populations we serve,” Minnesota Management and Buget Commissioner Myron Frans says.

Chapter 8 of The Book of the States 2018 contains the following tables:

CSG Midwest
No state in the Midwest requires that a certain percentage of contracts be given to minority- or women-owned businesses. (Outside the region, Connecticut requires that 6.25 percent of the value of state and local government contracts go to companies owned by women, minorities or disabled individuals.) However, at least three states have specific goals set in statute: Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin.

The legal issue in Guido v. Mount Lemmon Fire District could not be simpler; but the law is tricky. In this case the Supreme Court will decide whether the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) applies to state and local government employers with less than 20 employees. The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) amicus brief argues it should not.

John Guido was 46 and Dennis Rankin was 54 when they were terminated by the Mount Lemmon Fire District due to budget cuts. They claim they were terminated because of their age in violation of the ADEA. They were the oldest of the district’s 11 employees. 

The fire district argues that the ADEA does not apply to it because it employs fewer than 20 people.

Divisive politics can be disheartening for both constituents and elected officials, but collaboration across party lines still happens in government.

Vermont Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, a Progressive/Democrat, is proud of efforts that have been made in his state to put individuals before party affiliation. A former state representative and former state senator, Zuckerman said members of the minority party have served in some of the committee chair and vice chair positions for most of the 20 years that he has been in office.

On Thursday, March 22, 2018, Atlanta’s municipal computer systems fell victim to a ransomware attack. As a result, the city began executing a large proportion of its business on paper, or not at all, and postponing court dates. With customer and employee data potentially compromised, the municipal government encouraged anyone who had ever done business with the city to take precautions such as checking their bank accounts and credit reports. The ransom was approximately $51,000.

Ransomware is a form of malware that blocks...

If there ever was a case where the vote of only one Justice is likely to matter it is Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. All attention was focused on Justice Gorsuch this morning as the Supreme Court held oral argument in this case. And he was…silent.

The Court will decide the constitutionality of state statutes allowing public sector employers and unions to agree that employees who don’t join the union must still pay their “fair share” of collective bargaining costs. More than 20 states authorize fair share for public sector employees.

If a collective bargaining agreement contains a general durational clause, retiree health insurance benefits last the duration of the agreement and aren’t vested for life the Supreme Court held in a per curiam (unauthored) opinion in CNH Industrial N. V. v. Reese.

CNH Industrial N.V. agreed to a six-year collective bargaining agreement providing those who retired under the pension plan health insurance but no other insurance benefits. The Sixth Circuit concluded the agreement was ambiguous as to whether retiree health insurance vested for life because it “carved out certain benefits” like life insurance “and stated that those coverages ceased at a time different than other provisions.” Extrinsic evidence supported lifetime vesting.

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