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Neighborhood Involvement

Building inclusive, safe and livable neighborhoods and communities.

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Standards for Neighborhood System

VII. Grievance and Appeal Procedures

 
A.   Purpose  
 
The goal of this section is to create a just and fair grievance procedure for Neighborhood Associations, District Coalitions, and the Office of Neighborhood Involvement.  Complying with these grievance procedures does not take away any legal options for the parties that they may have under respective local, county, state, or federal laws.  Neighborhood Associations and District Coalitions shall consult the grievance sections of their bylaws in addition to using this section.
 
B.    Definitions

1. Grievance:
A complaint formally expressed in writing by an individual, (the grievant), or individual representing a Neighborhood Association, District Coalition, or organization to which the grievant belongs regarding a specific alleged violation.
 
Grievances are limited to procedural violations of a Neighborhood Association's or District Coalition's bylaws or Office of Neighborhood Involvement Standards that directly affect the outcome of a group's decision.
 
A Grievance is a recognized action and requires a written response from the neighborhood leadership. The response is part of a process to encourage fair and equitable treatment of all individuals involved in neighborhood volunteer efforts.
 
2. Grievant:
Anyone who submits a grievance and alleges s(he) has been harmed by a violation of their Neighborhood Association's bylaws, District Coalition's bylaws or a violation of these Standards.
 
3. Respondent:
A person or entity against whom the grievance is lodged.  A respondent can be an organization (Neighborhood Association, District Coalition, or the Office of Neighborhood Involvement)  or its officers, board of directors or committee subject to the organization's bylaws or Office of Neighborhood Involvement Standards.

C.    Grievance procedures for Neighborhood Associations
Prior to the filing of any grievance or appeal, parties are encouraged to follow the following steps towards resolving differences:  

1. One-on-one dialogue:
Individuals or groups are encouraged to first seek resolution of differences through one-on-one dialogue.  Consider contacting an officer of the Neighborhood Association or District Coalition for advice.
 
2. Mediation:  
A circumstance could present itself that may require an individual to facilitate the discussion with the affected parties of the grievance.  If the affected parties are unable to settle upon a facilitator to assist them in their meeting, then the parties should consult with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement for assistance through the Neighborhood Mediation Program.
 
3. Grievance procedure with a Neighborhood Association:  
Neighborhood Associations  shall have internal grievance procedures outlined in their bylaws. Grievance procedures shall at a minimum include the following:

a. A grievance must contain an alleged violation of the subject Neighborhood Association's bylaws or these Standards.
 
b. Bylaws of a Neighborhood Association must designate that a grievance be brought to a Neighborhood Association president, designated Neighborhood Association officer, or designated committee of the Association and/or board as provided in the bylaws. 
 
c. A grievance must be submitted by the grievant within 45 business days of the alleged incident.  The grievance must be reviewed and responded to by the appropriate Neighborhood Association procedures within 60 calendar days from receipt of the grievance.  
 
d. The Neighborhood Association's consideration of the grievance shall be open to the public.  The findings of a grievance shall be a matter of public record.  Deliberations of the decision-makers, however, may be held in executive session.
 
e. The Neighborhood Association's response shall be in writing and include supporting findings of the decision.  The association is encouraged to maintain any supporting documents in case of appeal.
 
f. Only upon unsatisfactory resolution of a grievance with a Neighborhood Association may the grievant appeal to the appropriate District Coalition. The grievant has fourteen calendar days from the date the decision is rendered to appeal.

D.  Appeal and grievance procedures with District Coalitions:
 
 
Parties are asked to follow the following steps towards resolving differences.  

1. One-on-one dialogue:
Individuals or groups are encouraged to first seek resolution of differences through one-on-one dialogue.  Consider contacting an officer of the Neighborhood Association or District Coalition for advice.
 
2. Mediation:  
A circumstance could present itself that may require an individual to facilitate the discussion with the affected parties of the grievance.  If the affected parties are unable to settle upon a facilitator to assist them in their meeting, then the parties should consult with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement for assistance through the Neighborhood Mediation Program at Resolutions Northwest.
 
3. Appeal procedure to a District coalition:  

a. District Coalitions shall have internal appeal procedures outlined in their bylaws.
 
b. Appeals of a grievance from a Neighborhood Association brought to a district coalition must contain an alleged violation of the appropriate Neighborhood Association's bylaws or Standards.
 
c. Bylaws of a District Coalition must designate that an appeal be reviewed and heard by a District Coalition staff person, board president, designated board officer, or designated committee of the board or advisory committee.
 
d.  An appeal must be submitted to the District Coalition by the grievant within fourteen business days of adjudication of the grievance by the Neighborhood Association.  The appeal  must be reviewed and responded to by the District Coalition within 60 calendar days from the date the appeal was received.
 
e. The District Coalition's consideration of the grievance is not required to be open to the public.  Only the initial hearing of a grievance with the Neighborhood Association need be open.  The findings of a grievance shall be a matter of public record.
 
f. Only upon unsatisfactory resolution of an appeal with an established District Coalition may the grievant appeal to the Office of Neighborhood Involvement. The grievant has fourteen calendar days to appeal.

4. Grievance procedure with a District Coalition:
 
 
District Coalitions shall have internal grievance procedures outlined in their bylaws.   Grievance procedures shall at a minimum include the following:

a. A grievance against a District Coalition must contain an alleged violation of the subject District Coalition's bylaws or these Standards.
 
b. Bylaws of a District Coalition must designate that a grievance be reviewed and heard by a District Coalition staff person, board president, designated board officer, or designated committee of the board as provided in the bylaws.
 
c.  A grievance must be submitted to the District Coalition within 45 business days of the alleged incident.  The grievance must be reviewed and responded to by the District Coalition within 60 calendar days from the date the grievance was received.
 
d. District Coalition consideration of the grievance shall be open to the public.  The findings of a grievance shall be a matter of public record.  Deliberations of the decision-makers, however, may be held in executive session.
 
e. The District Coalition's response shall be in writing and include supporting findings of the decision.  The District Coalition shall maintain any supporting documents in case of appeal.
 
f. Only upon unsatisfactory resolution of a grievance may the grievant appeal to the Office of Neighborhood Involvement. The grievant has fourteen calendar days from the date the decision is rendered to appeal.

E.    Appeal and grievance procedures with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement:
 
 
Parties are asked to follow the following steps towards resolving differences.  

1. One-on-one dialogue:
Individuals or groups are encouraged to first seek resolution of differences through one-on-one dialogue.  Consider contacting a program manager or bureau director.
 
2. Mediation:  
A circumstance could present itself that may require an individual to facilitate the discussion with the affected parties of the grievance.  If the affected parties are unable to settle upon a facilitator to assist them in their meeting, then the parties should consult with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement for assistance through the Neighborhood Mediation Program.
 
3. Appeal procedure with the Office of Neighborhood  Involvement:

a. Grievances appealed to the Office of Neighborhood Involvement must contain an alleged violation of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement Standards.
 
b. Appeals must be submitted in writing, within fourteen calendar days of final adjudication of a grievance by a District Coalition.  The appeal must be reviewed and responded to by the Office of Neighborhood Involvement within 60 calendar days from the date the grievance was received.
 
c. The appeal must be in the following format:
i. Provide a fully detailed explanation of the process, rule, or procedure stated in the Standards that is in question, i.e. what is being grieved.
 
ii. Describe the individual or organization that is directly harmed and why they are harmed.
 
iii. A remedy (solution) that would satisfy the grievant.
 
iv. Typed on maximum of three pages.
 
v. Provide three copies of the grievance.

d. The appeal will be reviewed by the Director of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement or designee to make certain all the requirements of the grievance and appeal process are met.  The Office of Neighborhood Involvement has the exclusive right to determine whether an appeal meets the threshold criterion of containing a credible allegation of a substantial violation of the  Standards and if the grievant has exhausted all attempts to resolve the original grievance within internal Neighborhood Association and District Coalition procedures.  If any part of the appeal is found to be missing the grievant has fourteen calendar days to resubmit the appeal.  Otherwise, the Grievance automatically dies.
 
e. The Office of Neighborhood Involvement has the right to determine if there has been a substantial violation of the Standards and order appropriate remedies.  Remedies may range from requiring a Neighborhood Association to redo a decision-making process to de-recognition by the Office of Neighborhood Involvement.
 
f. Final adjudication of the appeal is by the Director of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement and/or designee. A response will be sent within 24 hours via United States Postal Service, registered mail return receipt requested, to both the grievant and respondent.

4. Grievance procedure with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement:

a. Grievances of an action of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement must be based upon an alleged violation of the Standards.
 
b. Grievances must be submitted in writing within 45  calendar days of the incident.  The Grievance must be reviewed and responded to in writing by the Office of Neighborhood Involvement within 60 calendar days from the date the grievance was received.
 
c. The grievance must meet the same format requirements for an appeal as stated above in this section, (VII, E, 3, c: Appeal procedure with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement.)
 
d. The Grievance will be reviewed by the Office of Neighborhood Involvement.  ONI has the exclusive right to determine whether a grievance meets the threshold criterion of containing a credible allegation of a substantial violation of the Standards. 
 
e. Adjudication of the grievance is by the Director of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement.  A response will be sent via United States Postal Service, registered mail return receipt requested, to both the grievant and respondent.
 
f. Only upon unsatisfactory resolution of a grievance with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement may the grievant appeal to the Commissioner in charge of ONI.