STATE OF WISCONSIN
BEFORE THE WISCONSIN EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS
In the Matter of the Petition of
Involving Certain Employees of
Decision No. 9394-G
Mr. Michael J. Wilson, Representative at Large, Wisconsin
Council 40, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, 8033
Excelsior Drive, Suite "B", Madison, Wisconsin 53717-1903, appearing on behalf of
County Courthouse Employees, Local 1925B, AFSCME, AFL-CIO.
Attorney Dennis D. Costello, Corporation Counsel, Walworth
County, 100 West Walworth Street,
P.O. Box 1001, Elkhorn, Wisconsin 53121-1001, appearing on behalf of Walworth County.
FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSION OF
AND ORDER CLARIFYING BARGAINING
On May 4, 2001, Walworth County filed a Petition To Clarify Bargaining Unit with
Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission asserting the Assistant Sanitarians, Zoning
and 4-H Program Assistant are professional employees who should be excluded from the
non-professional employee collective bargaining unit represented by Walworth County
Employees, Local 1925B, AFSCME, AFL-CIO.
Hearing was held by Commission Examiner Coleen Burns on October 4, 2001 in
Wisconsin, at which time the parties mutually agreed that two Assistant Sanitarians
Dec. No. 9394-G
would be excluded from the bargaining unit as professional employees and the 4-H
would remain in the unit represented by Local 1925B. The parties were unable to resolve
of the three Zoning Officers.
The parties filed written argument, the last of which was received January 30, 2002.
Having reviewed the record and being fully advised in the premises, the Commission
and issues the following
FINDINGS OF FACT
1. Walworth County Courthouse Employees, Local 1925B, AFSCME, AFL-CIO,
the Union, is a labor organization with offices at 8033 Excelsior Drive, Madison Wisconsin.
Union is the exclusive collective bargaining representative of a bargaining unit of
employees of Walworth County.
2. Walworth County, herein the County, is a municipal employer with offices at
100 West Walworth Street, Elkhorn Wisconsin.
3. The County exercises its statutory land management responsibilities through a
Management Department under the oversight of the Land Management Committee. The
is divided into four units planning (three technical employees), zoning (three clerical
the three Zoning Officers), sanitation (one clerical employee and the two Assistant
geographic information system (four technical/support employees plus non-employee
Gene Kovacs is the Department Director and Debora Grube the Zoning Manager.
4. The primary function of the Zoning Officer is to administer the County zoning
shoreland zoning ordinances under the general direction of the Zoning Manager. Over the
several years, there have been additional program responsibilities placed on the Zoning
well as increased general workload. In late 2000, the State legislature imposed a mandate of
regulating mineral extractions, which required additional knowledge and training on the part
Zoning Officers. The State Department of Natural Resources has also increased its activity
shoreland zoning and wetlands delineation, which again caused the County to provide
training and allocate additional resources to the zoning function.
The Zoning Officer is at the Union bargaining unit's highest contractual pay grade,
ending 2001 wages ranging from $14.77 to $18.81 per hour. This was also the pay range of
Assistant Sanitarians prior to the parties' agreement to exclude them from the bargaining unit
Dec. No. 9394-G
5. Nicholas Sigmund has been a Zoning Officer for the County for about two
having previously worked four years as a private soil tester. He was hired in early 2000
County posted a job notice with the following elements:
2000 WAGE: MIN MAX
17.90 PAYMENT IS BI-WEEKLY
EDUCATION REQ: HIGH
SCHOOL DIPLOMA OR GED EQUIVALENT
SUPPLEMENTED BY COURSEWORK IN NATURAL RESOURCES, PLANNING OR
RELATED FIELD OR EQUIVALENT COMBINATION OF EDUCATION AND
EXPERIENCE PROVIDING THE KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES LISTED
EXPERIENCE REQ: 4-5
YEARS OF ZONING, PLANNING, BUILDING, OR
SKILLS REQ: ABILITY TO
INTERPRET MAPS, AERIAL PHOTOS,
LAND DESCRIPTIONS, SOILS DATA AND CODE REQUIREMENTS. KNOWLEDGE
OF STATE, FEDERAL AND LOCAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS AFFECTING
PLANNING, DEVELOPMENT, LAND USE REGULATIONS AND THE ZONING
ABILITY TO RELATE TO
AND COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY AND POSITIVELY
WITH STAFF, SUPERVISORS, THE PUBLIC, PUBLIC OFFICIALS AND OTHER
COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY BOTH VERBALLY AND IN WRITING
ABILITY TO WRITE
CLEAR, CONCISE REPORTS AND LETTERS WITH
PRESCRIBED DEADLINES. STRONG ORGANIZATIOINAL SKILLS.
Dec. No. 9394-G
ABILITY TO PROBLEM
SOLVE BOTH INDEPENDENTLY AND AS PART OF A
ABILITY TO CONDUCT
ON-SITE ZONING INVESTIGATIONS AND TO GATHER
AND DOCUMENT EVIDENCE OF ZONING VIOLATIONS.
CONFIDENTLY REPRESENT THE DEPARTMENT IN COURT-RELATED MATTERS.
ABILITY TO MANAGE
MULTIPLE PROJECTS AT THE SAME TIME.
PROCESSING SKILLS AND GENERAL COMPUTER SKILLS.
PHYSICAL REQ: ESSENTIAL
FUNCTIONS OF THIS POSITION ARE
COMPLETED WHILE SITTING, STANDING OR WALKING. ABILITY TO REACH
WITH HANDS AND ARMS, USE HANDS TO FINGER, HANDLE OR FEEL, CLIMB
OR BALANCE AND STOOP, KNEEL, CROUCH OR CRAWL, AND LIFT UP TO 25
POUNDS OCCASIONALLY. ABILITY TO MAINTAIN VISUAL CONCENTRATION
AND AUDITORY ACUITY REQUIRED. THIS POSITION IS EXPOSED TO
OUTDOOR WEATHER CONDITIONS AND ENVIRONMENTAL FUMES/AIRBORNE
PARTICLES, AND MAY OCCASIONALLY WORK IN HIGH, PRECARIOUS PLACES.
POST-OFFER PHYSICAL REQUIRED.
SPECIAL REQ: THIS
POSITION REQUIRES A VALID DRIVER'S
LICENSE IN GOOD STANDING. ACCESS TO A RELIABLE VEHICLE, AND
MAINTENANCE OF AUTOMOBILE LIABILITY INSURANCE. USE OF PERSONAL
VEHICLE MAY BE REQUIRED AT TIMES (MILEAGE WILL BE REIMBURSED).
Dec. No. 9394-G
DESIRED: ZONING CODE
OF SHORELAND/WETLAND REGULATIONS, SANITARY
CODES, PUBLIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH PRACTICES AND LAND
B.S. IN NATURAL
RESOURCES, PLANNING OR RELATED FIELD.
JOB SUMMARY: THIS
POSITION IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE
ADMINISTRATION, INTERPRETATION, IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT
OF THE WALWORTH COUNTY ZONING AND WALWORTH COUNTY SHORELAND
ZONING ORDINANCES UNDER THE GENERAL DIRECTION OF THE ZONING
MANAGER. THIS POSITION CONDUCTS RESEARCH, INVESTIGATES
COMPLAINTS AND VIOLATIONS, REVIEW PLANS, ISSUES PERMITS AND
ASSURES COMPLIANCE WITH APPLICABLE REGULATIONS, CONDUCTS ON-SITE
INSPECTIONS AND COMMUNICATES WITH THE GENERAL PUBLIC ON A
DAILY BASIS. DETAILED JOB DESCRIPTION AVAILABLE FROM HUMAN
At the time of hearing, this was the County's operative job
notice for the position of Zoning
Officer. The County had pending, at time of hearing, consideration of an amended position
description which would increase the "Education Required" component to a four-year degree.
Sigmund is a certified soil tester and has a license to inspect private septic systems,
presumed to satisfy the continuing education credits for these credentials. He graduated from
UW-Stevens Point in December 1995 with a major in natural resource management and
minor in soil
science. Although there is no such formal certification or licensure, Sigmund has attended a
course for wetland delineations. The highest level of mathematics that Sigmund studied at
school or college was trigonometry calculus.
Dec. No. 9394-G
Dale Smith has been a Zoning Officer for approximately seven years, after working
County as an Assistant Sanitarian and as a private building inspector. Holder of an associate
in police science, Smith also previously worked in law enforcement. He holds current
in the uniform dwelling code, the commercial building code, electrical code, plumbing code
erosion, and attends to his annual recertification training. He also satisfies his annual
requirement for waste treatment certification.
Nancy Welch has been a Zoning Officer for the County for about four years,
six years on the zoning unit's clerical staff. She has a high school diploma. Based on her
exposure to the zoning ordinances and contact with other staff and the public, she developed
sufficient understanding of the duties and demands of the position of Zoning Officer that she
to take and pass the test for the position.
As part of their application process, all County Zoning Officers have taken and
passed the Zoning Officer Exam, consisting of about 15 pages of true/false, multiple choice,
and fill-in-the-blank questions on legal concepts, procedures and terminology; a dozen
testing skills in algebra and geometry; an essay question; a scaling exercise; a surveying
a series posing questions of practical application.
6. On August 31, 1999, Zoning Officer Welch and then-Zoning Officer Jim Sell
completed a Job Description Questionnaire (JDQ), which was identical but for their answers
personal education, experience and skills. According to the JDQ, the Zoning Officers spend
their time in technical review of and action on zoning permits; 20% investigating zoning
20% performing on-site compliance inspections; 15% in public contact and information, and
in miscellaneous activities. They therein stated they believed the position had the third
highest of six
levels of mathematics requirements, the need to apply "mathematical concepts such as
statistical inference, and fundamentals of plane and solid geometry and trigonometry." They
further stated the position demanded the highest levels of reading, writing and speaking
the need to use legal terminology. The JDQ reflected that they believed there was an
unique mental requirement," namely "(t)he ability to analyze and interpret Ordinances,
regulations and some building code requirements and consistently apply them to a variety of
scenarios. Insight into these requirements is necessary in order to perform basic functions as
Officer." In their individual responses, Sell noted that he held a bachelor's degree in natural
resources, and had four to five years prior experience with the State Department of Natural
Resources and the County conservation department. Welch noted that she had a high school
plus two years formal preparation, plus four to five years prior work experience described as
Dec. No. 9394-G
Assisted the public with the permit process, general zoning
regulations and various processes
such as rezone and variance procedures and requirements. Worked closely with the
Zoning staff for a couple years learning the technical processes involved with zoning
According to a handwritten Job Specifications analysis for Snell and Welch that
Manager Grube approved on September 7, 1999, the position's
"minimum acceptable formal
preparation (or equivalent) required to qualify for the position" (emphasis in original) was a
bachelor's degree or its formal preparation in such fields as "geography, land use, soils,
code enforcement." The job specifications also list "2 years in a zoning or planning field
with the public + appearing in court" as prior work experience "required to quality for this
and "none" as the "list (of) licenses, certificates, or registrations that are required to perform
essential duties of this job." Grube also added to the Snell and Welch JDQ's the need to
"surveying, land use and legal description terminology."
7. In the spring of 2001 the zoning unit began working to reclassify the Zoning
position and to hire another Zoning Officer. On June 8, 2001, the incumbent Zoning
prepared an updated JDQ which included the following elements:
The Zoning Administrator/Officer position
administers and enforces the Walworth County
Zoning Ordinances and Shoreland Zoning Ordinances. The Zoning Administrator/Officer
a high level of professional activities pertaining to planning and zoning, including land use,
development review, variance requests and enforcement activities to assure the comfort,
safety, prosperity, aesthetics and general welfare of Walworth County.
As to the position's "Essential Duties and Responsibilities," the JDQ indicated that the
spent 46% of their time providing technical assistance to the public through phone calls,
appointments concerning permits, variances, land divisions, violations, land use issues, and
development criteria pertaining to the various relevant ordinances and regulations; 20% of
implementing the zoning and shoreland zoning ordinances, including coordinating the
process with other permit-requiring agencies, reviewing applications, parcel splits, certified
maps, reviewing approved land disturbance permits issued by the Land Conservation
approving or denying all applications as determined during the review process; 17% of their
investigation alleged violations of the zoning and shoreland zoning ordinances, including
punitive permit fees when warranted, managing time frames for compliance, presenting
circuit court, serving warrants, preparing documentation for Corporation Counsel's office to
Dec. No. 9394-G
complaints; 7% of their time meeting with department heads and other staff to discuss
projects of concern; 5% of their time conducting field inspections of permitted projects for
compliance and taking action to correct any discrepancies; and nominal amounts of time
Board of Adjustment applications for accuracy and reviewing zoning and conditional use
As to the educational requirement for the position, the JDQ listed a bachelor's degree
equivalent in formal preparation, in the fields of "public administration, planning, natural
etc." In response to the question regarding "the licenses, certificates, or registrations that are
minimum requirement to perform the essential duties or your position," the
Officers answered as
Membership with the Wisconsin County Code Administrators is
required. Not required, but
extremely helpful is wetland dilenation certification/training through the Department of
Resources and Army Corp. (sic) of Engineers, Certified Soil Tester license, Private On-Site
Treatment System Inspectors License, and State Building Inspector ceritification.
The JDQ also stated that the position's math requirement was the third lowest out of
categories, namely that incumbents were "required to calculate figures and amounts such as
circumference, and volume. Required to apply basic algebra and geometry to perform
Specifically, the job duties were said to require incumbents to convert units of measure,
fractions and decimals, determine percentage of slope, calculate area, determine
angles of lines and calculate percentage of assessed value. The JDQ also set the job's
and speaking skills at the highest level, namely the ability to read, analyze and interpret the
complex documents; the ability to respond effectively in writing to the most sensitive
complaints and write speeches and articles using original or innovative techniques or style;
to make effective and persuasive speeches and presentations on controversial or complex
position was also said to require the use of specialized terminology, namely legal, surveying,
and legal descriptions.
8. On June 12, 2001, Zoning Manager Grube wrote to Department Director
I have reviewed the attached formal request from Dale Smith,
Zoning Officer, for the
reclassification of the Zoning Officer's position because of various job duties, responsibilities
educational requirements that have changed over the years.
Dec. No. 9394-G
Zoning Officers play a crucial role in
Walworth County's zoning code enforcement process.
These officers may provide the first and last impression a citizen has of county government.
officers carry on their shoulders responsibilities such as increasing public safety, preventing
hazards, protecting property values, and maintaining a high quality of life throughout our
is imperative, therefore, that those that review this position recognize the pressures and
put on our code enforcement personnel and allocate the proper resources and compensation.
I agree with the job description as written and believe a
reclassification is warranted. I am
forwarding this request to you with the hopes of having this position reviewed for
and/or possible upgrade. If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call.
The Job Specifications analysis prepared by Grube that accompanied the
June 12, 2001 memo
identified a bachelor's degree (or its equivalent formal preparation) in "natural sciences, land
planning, public administration, etc." as the minimum formal education required to qualify
position and answered the question regarding licensure as follows:
Membership with the Wisconsin County Code Administrators is
required. A recently mandated
requirement is the Training required to enter Mines/gravel pits from the Department of
Operations Bureau-Mine Safety Program. Not required, but extremely important is wetland
delineation certification/training through the Department of natural Resources and Army
Engineers, Certified Soil Tester License, Private On-site waste treatment system inspectors
Floodplain Management Training and State Building Inspector certification. Also required are
Continuing Education updates annually through ETN's and University of Wisconsin zoning
9. The Zoning Officer's work is predominantly intellectual and varied in
involving the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment in its performance. The
character of the
work and result accomplished cannot be standardized in relation to a given period of time,
Officer's work does not require knowledge of an advanced type in a field of science or
customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction and study in
institution of higher education.
Based on the above and foregoing Findings of Fact, the Commission makes and
Dec. No. 9394-G
CONCLUSION OF LAW
The occupants of the position of Zoning Officer are not professional employees
meaning of Sec. 111.70(1)(L), Stats.
Based on the above and foregoing Findings of Fact and Conclusion of Law, the
makes and issues the following
ORDER CLARIFYING BARGAINING
The position of Zoning Officer remains included in the bargaining unit of the
County's non-professional employees represented by Walworth County Courthouse
Employees, Local 1925B,
Given under our hands and seal at the City of Madison, Wisconsin, this 9th day of
WISCONSIN EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS COMMISSION
A. Henry Hempe, Commissioner
Paul A. Hahn,
Dec. No. 9394-G
MEMORANDUM ACCOMPANYING FINDINGS
CONCLUSION OF LAW AND ORDER
CLARIFYING BARGAINING UNIT
POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES
In support of its position that the Zoning Officers are professional employees who
should be excluded from the Union's non-professional employee bargaining unit, the County
that, in the instant case, one incumbent possess a four-year bachelor's degree, one has an
degree and one has a high school diploma plus over five years or prior experience in the
department. All three have taken and passed the same test; all perform the same duties, hold
powers and exercise the same discretion. All future hires for these positions will be required
a college degree.
Zoning Officers are very similar to Assistant Sanitarians the
parties have agreed are
professional employees. They use their discretion in a variety of ways. They set their own
and require very little supervision. Although the education level of the incumbents is varied,
position has become a college degree position.
The Zoning Officers are required to attend continuing education classes, have
advanced mathematics, and understand a variety of laws and technical journals.
The work of these positions is so varied that standardization would be impossible.
property and situation is unique and the application of the zoning law is subject to judgment
interpretation that could only be performed by trained professionals.
In support of its position that Zoning Officers are not professional employees, the
asserts that the Zoning Officers are not professional employees because the
Stats. criterion is not met. Zoning enforcement is a highly regulated field. The sum of the
rules, etc., introduced by the County is the antithesis of an occupation that enjoys
judgment and discretion. The work of the Zoning Officer is supervised on a daily basis by
Manager. The Zoning Officers do not enjoy the same discretion and independent judgment
exercise of their duties as does the Zoning Manager.
The Zoning Officers are also not professional employees
because the Sec. 111.70(1)(L)1.d.,
Stats. criterion is not met, in that the position does not require knowledge beyond a general
education and experience. Both the test administered to all applicants and the backgrounds of
and Smith support the conclusion that work of the
Dec. No. 9394-G
position does not require knowledge of an advanced type customarily acquired through
course of specialized instruction.
All that is required is a high school diploma or GED supplemented by coursework or
equivalent combination of education and experience. To pass a test an applicant does not
possess knowledge of an advanced type in a field of science customarily acquired by
in an institution of higher learning.
Zoning Officers have a very difficult job which the Union
not seek to diminish. Indeed,
the Union believes that the responsibilities, increasing workload and duties justify a wage
obtained through collective bargaining. But deserving an increase does not satisfy the
definition of a professional employee. The petition should be dismissed.
Section 111.70(1)(L), Stats., defines a "professional employee" as:
1. Any employee engaged in work:
a. Predominantly intellectual and
varied in character as opposed to routine mental,
manual, mechanical or physical work;
b. Involving the consistent exercise of
discretion and judgment in its performance;
c. Of such a character that the output
produced or the result accomplished cannot be
standardized in relation to a given period of time;
d. Requiring knowledge of an advanced type in a field of
science or learning customarily
acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction and study in an
higher education or a hospital, as distinguished from a general academic education or from
apprenticeship or from training in the performance of routine mental, manual or physical
2. Any employee who:
a. Has completed the courses of
specialized intellectual instruction and study described
in subd. 1.d;
Dec. No. 9394-G
b. Is performing related work under
the supervision of a professional person to qualify
himself to become a professional employe as defined in subd. 1.
The County contends that the work of the Zoning Officers meets all of the criteria in
definition of a "professional employee" set forth in Sec. 111.70(1)(L)1, Stats. The Union
their work does not meet the criteria established by Secs. 111.70(1)(L)1.b. and d., Stats.
As to the question of whether their work meets the Sec. 111.70(1)(L)1.b.,
(does the work involve "the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment in its
conclude that the Zoning Officers' work does meet this criterion. The Union asserts that
work of the Zoning Officers involves constant reference to various statutes, ordinances and
they do not have discretion or judgment to exercise. However, it is when Zoning Officers
law to the various fact situations they confront that they consistently exercise the type of
and judgment which satisfies Sec. 111.70(1)(L)1.b.,Stats. The Union also cites the
consultation between the Zoning Manager and the Zoning Officers as evidence of their
discretion and judgment. However, we view such consultation as no more than the wise use
available resource when the Zoning Officers perform their job responsibilities. Thus, we
this Union argument and conclude that the work of the Zoning Officers does involve "the
exercise of discretion and judgment."
Turning to the question of whether the work of the Zoning Officers satisfies the
Sec. 111.70(1)(L)1.d., Stats. criterion (does the work require "knowledge of an
advanced type in
a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized
instruction and study in an institution of higher education"), the parties correctly focus their
arguments on whether the knowledge needed to perform the work is customarily acquired
a four year degree in a specialized field. When answering this question in the negative, the
points to the absence of such an educational requirement in the current County job notice and
that two of the three incumbent Zoning Officers do not have such a degree. When answering
question in the affirmative, the County cites its ongoing efforts to formally adopt a
year degree requirement, the language in the current job notice that a "B.S. IN NATURAL
RESOURCES, PLANNING OR RELATED FIELD" is "DESIRED", and evidence
since 1999 it has been and will continue to be the County's practice to only hire Zoning
a specialized four year degree.
Consistent with the statutory language of Sec. 111.70(1)(L)1.d., Stats., we have long
that although the academic credentials possessed by incumbents and required by the employer
relevant to the application of Sec. 111.70(1)(L)1.d.,Stats., the fundamental question remains
determining how the knowledge needed to perform the work is customarily acquired. Thus,
stated in City of Sun Prairie, Dec. No. 20841-B (WERC, 10/86),
Dec. No. 9394-G
While an incumbent's actual credentials and the employer's actual
hiring criteria are relevant in
determining whether a position falls within the meaning of Sec. 111.70(1)(L)1.d.,
above, they are not
necessarily determinative. Rather, that issue ultimately depends upon the nature of the work
means by which the knowledge required to perform that work is customarily acquired.
Thus, we have
previously held that the statutory definition does not limit professional status only to those
specialized bachelor's degrees, nor is it essential that the incumbent possess (or that the
seek candidates with) state certification or licensing as a professional. What is essential
is that the knowledge required for the incumbent's job duties must be of a type customarily
through the means specified in 1.d.
See State of Wisconsin, Dec. No. 11667-C
Just as it can be the case that an individual is a professional
employee even where they do not
in fact possess a four year specialized degree and/or the employer does not require same, an
employee's possession of such a degree and/or the employer's requirement that an employee
such a degree does not automatically qualify the individual as a professional employee. If
of such an employee does not require knowledge customarily acquired through receipt of a
specialized degree, then the employee is not a professional employee within the meaning of
111.70(1)(L), Stats. Brown County, Dec. No. 7954-F (WERC, 3/91).
Having considered the record as a whole, we are persuaded that the knowledge
perform the work of a Zoning Officer is not customarily acquired through receipt of a four
specialized degree. In reaching this conclusion, we rely heavily on our consideration of the
as to the duties of the Zoning Officers and the exhibits presented as to the knowledge base
Zoning Officers must work. We are also influenced by the evidence that the two
incumbents capably perform the full range of Zoning Officer job responsibilities. From our
of the record, we are satisfied that although (as indicated in the current job notice set forth in
of Fact 5) a specialized four year degree is a "desirable" qualification, the knowledge thereby
is not "required" to do the work. Thus, because the work of the Zoning Officers does not
Sec. 111.70(1)(L)1.d., Stats. criterion, the Zoning Officers are not professional
employees within the
meaning of Sec. 111.70(1)(L)1.,Stats,
Our decision in Green Lake County, Dec. No. 24955-A (WERC, 8/98) as to a Code
Enforcement Officer strongly supports our conclusion here. In that case, the subject position
responsible for enforcing county ordinances regarding private sewage systems, land use and
including subdivision, floodplain and shoreland ordinances, issuing zoning/land use permits
related work including complaint research and follow up. Thus, this position is very
the Zoning Officers before us.
Dec. No. 9394-G
The Code Enforcement Officer position description called for a "college degree in
management, environmental health or a closely related field." We found the employee was
professional employee and stated as follows:
The record indicates that the basic requirements to perform the
majority of the functions
performed by a Code Enforcement Officer are the Soil Tester certification and the Plumber
II certification. Those certifications are needed for reviewing and approving soil tests and
permit applications and investigating and making determinations on complaints regarding
sewerage systems. Each of these certifications require an eight-week course of study and
final examination, as well as continuing education to maintain certification. Although a
in resource management or environmental health would undoubtedly be helpful in performing
entire scope of the position's functions, it is not a necessity.
In reaching our decision, we have considered but rejected the County's argument that
knowledge needed to perform the work of the Zoning Officers is much the same as that
the Environmental Sanitarian found to be a professional employee in Chippewa County, Dec.
10497-A (WERC, 8/97). While we acknowledge that there are similarities between the work
two positions, we remain persuaded that the knowledge provided by a four year specialized
is "desirable" but not "required" to do the Zoning Officer's work.
We also acknowledge the County's citation of City of Kenosha, Dec. No. 26988
8/91) where, as here, the parties stipulated that sanitarians were professional employees.
in both instances we were not called upon to resolve a dispute as to the professional status of
employees, we do not find either Kenosha or the parties stipulation here to be of any
when determining the status of the Zoning Officers.
Given all of the foregoing, the Zoning Officers will continue to be included in the
non-professional employee bargaining unit represented by Walworth County Courthouse
Dated at Madison, Wisconsin, this 9th day of May, 2002.
WISCONSIN EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS COMMISSION