Saturday, December 01, 2007
Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services' appeal of State Personnel Board decision to demote its adult protection worker instead of firing her is dismissed because it was not filed in the correct county. Nebraska Dept. of Health & Human Servs. v. Weekley, S-06-292, 274 Neb. 516Plaintiff and adult protection worker for the Department of health and Human Services faced termination because she did not timely investigate a report that a vulnerable adult was in danger. The vulnerable adult died later in a fire. the Department and the employee first attended a mini-hearing session at DHHS headquarters in Lincoln but the hearing officer recommended termination. The State Personnel Board of the DAS (Department of Administrative Services) recommended discipline short of termination. DHHS appealed the Personnel Board's decision in the Dodge County Court, where the State won reinstatement of its termination decision. Supreme Court vacates, holding that according to 84-917(2)(a), the Department should have filed its district court appeal in Lancaster County where the Department and its employee first attended the informal "mini-hearing" regarding the disciplinary action the Department sought to take against the adult protection worker, even though the formal DAS termination hearing took place in Dodge County. Notwithstanding the procedural limitations and the informal nature of the “mini hearing,” ,,we conclude that the “mini hearing” in Lancaster County was the first adjudicated hearing.DHHS filed its petition for further review in Dodge County, rather than Lancaster County, and the Dodge County District Court did not have jurisdiction."