STATE OF WISCONSIN
BEFORE THE WISCONSIN EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS
In the Matter of the petition of
LOCAL 2634, AFSCME, AFL-CIO
Involving an Employee of
Decision No. 15696-B
Mr.Michael J. Wilson,
Staff Representative, Wisconsin Council 40, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, 8033
Excelsior Drive, Suite B, Madison, Wisconsin 53717-1903, appearing on behalf of Local
LaFollette, Godfrey & Kahn, by Attorney Jon E.
Anderson, One East Main Street, Madison,
Wisconsin 53701-2719, appearing on behalf of Dane County.
FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSION OF
AND ORDER CLARIFYING BARGAINING
Local 2634, AFSCME, AFL-CIO filed a petition on December 26, 2001, with the
Employment Relations Commission seeking to clarify an existing bargaining unit of Dane
employees that Local 2634 represents by including the position held by Roger Celusta,
referred to as Mental Health Program Specialist. Dane County argues that Celusta is a
employee who should continue to be excluded from the bargaining unit.
Hearing in the matter was held in Madison, Wisconsin, on April 26, 2002, before
Lauri A. Millot, a member of the Commission's staff. The Commission received written
August 7, 2002.
Dec. No. 15696-B
Dec. No. 15696-B
By letter dated January 21, 2003, the Commission advised the parties of its intent to
official notice of certain matters pursuant to Sec. 227.45(3), Stats. The Commission hereby
said official notice.
To maximize the ability of the parties we serve to utilize the Internet and
software to research decisions and arbitration awards issued by the Commission and its staff,
footnote text is found in the body of this decision.
Having reviewed the record and being fully advised in the premises, the Commission
and issues the following
FINDINGS OF FACT
1. Dane County Professional Social Workers, Local 2634, AFSCME,
Union, is a labor organization with its offices located at Wisconsin Council 40, 8033
2. Dane County, hereinafter County, is a municipal employer with its offices
located at 210
Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Madison, Wisconsin. The County provides governmental
the citizens of Dane County.
3. The collective bargaining agreement between the Union and the County for
period December 19, 1999 through December 15, 2001 acknowledges that the Union is the
bargaining representative of employees in the following bargaining unit:
. . . all professional employees of Dane County who are engaged
in providing social and related
services, but excluding all other professional employees, law enforcement personnel,
confidential and managerial/executive employees, craft employees and employees in other
bargaining units. . . .
4. The incumbent in the disputed position of Mental Health
Program Specialist is Roger
Celusta. The County hired Celusta in August of 1968 to a Social Worker position working
Services. Celusta voluntarily terminated his employment with the County and was re-hired
August, 1973, to a Social Worker position. Celusta held a bargaining unit Senior Social
position for 11 years until September of 2001 when his position was reclassified to Mental
Celesta works a 40-hour workweek, Monday through Friday beginning at 8:00
hourly rate is $25.49. Celesta does not receive compensatory time or overtime for any hours
in excess of 40 per week. Celesta's office is housed in a County building located at 1202
Drive, Madison, Wisconsin. Celesta's supervisor is David LeCount, Mental Health Adult
Dec. No. 15696-B
5. Celesta's job description dated December 26,
2000, reads in pertinent part:
. . .
POSITION SUMMARY: (Briefly describe what you
consider to be the major purpose or
objectives of your position. What are you attempting to accomplish in your position, or why
do you feel your position exists?)
The Mental Health section of the Adult
Community Services Division provides comprehensive,
ongoing support to 1,500 adults with serious and persistent mental illness and provides less
support for many other people with mental health disabilities. The annual budget is $14
Services are purchased from 24 community agencies. Two DCDHS staff manage and
network of services: David LeCount, Community Services Manager (M 13) and Roger
Senior Social Worker (SW 20). The purpose of Roger's position is, at the direction of the
Community Services Manager, to perform clinical and management functions necessary to
effective operation of the service system. Given that the complexity of the service system
significant management oversight, Roger's managerial duties have increased in recent years
comprise the majority of his responsibilities. His current duties are similar to those of
Specialist positions in the Aging and Developmental Disabilities sections of the DCDHS
Community Services Division. The existing Program Specialist positions are in the M 10
. . .
FUNCTION A - Manages
Inpatient Utilization 25%
A 1: Maintain an up
to date list of individuals for whom Dane County has may have financial
responsibility who are inpatients at Mendota Mental Health Institute, community hospitals or
A 2: Tracks
discharge planning activities for people in inpatient settings and assures that
appropriate inpatient treatment and appropriate discharge planning are taking place.
A 3: Addresses
issues and resolves problems where possible to enable prompt, appropriate
discharge from inpatient settings.
A 4: Assures that
contracted agencies and other community organizations are working in a
coordinated fashion to avoid inappropriate inpatient admissions and unnecessarily lengthy
Dec. No. 15696-B
- Provides clinical review of high risk/high profile individuals. 25%
B 1: Investigates and
assesses the appropriateness of referrals from the Department of
Corrections, other counties, facilities outside of Dane County and other sources.
B 2: In consultation
with the Community Services Manager, determines whether Dane County
should accept service responsibility for the referred individual.
B 3: Arranges
service for prioritized individuals. Represents DCDHS on the MH system
committee that has responsibility for waiting list prioritization.
B 4: Addresses
issues and resolves problems for other high risk/high profile consumers for
whom Dane County has ongoing service responsibility.
- Researches, plans and develops new programs and implements changes
in existing programs. 15%
C 1: Works with
community agencies in adapting to changes in state/federal regulations and in
responding to trends in service utilization and consumer need.
C 2: Works with
state, county and community representatives to maximize new revenue
opportunities, such as new benefits offered through Medicaid and private insurance.
C 3: Researches new
treatment approaches and works to enable the MH system to incorporate
approaches that have a high likelihood of success.
- Evaluates assigned agencies on a clinical/program basis. 15%
D 1: Provides
ongoing oversight of assigned programs.
D 2: Consults with
community agencies on how to remedy identified problems.
D 3: Where
chronically poor performance is evident, recommends a plan of correction or
proposes other action that would result in improved consumer and MH system outcomes.
- Develops and manages a portion of the MH system budget. 10%
E 1: Assists the
Community Services Manager and accounting staff in developing the annual MH
E 2: Works with
accounting staff in monitor fiscal performance of individual agencies and the
Dec. No. 15696-B
E 3: When fiscal
problems are identified, works with the Community Services Manager and
accounting staff in developing and implementing solutions.
- Performs other duties as assigned. 10%
F 1: Performs other
duties as assigned.
. . .
Experience: Two years of professional
experience in community based adult mental health
. . .
KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND
ABILITIES: Knowledge of the field of adult mental health
services. Ability to assess the needs of individuals requesting or presenting for mental health
Ability to work collaboratively with other agencies, professionals, consumers and their
Ability to assess the effectiveness of programs and agencies serving adults with mental health
Understanding of the principles of administrative and fiscal management. Good written and
. . .
6. Celusta monitors the patient/client census at various
County contracted inpatient care
service providers on a daily basis to ensure that clients are appropriately admitted based on
source and client service needs as identified in their case plans. Celusta initiates client
(1) when the current client location is funded by County levy dollars and a different provider
offers services consistent with the client's needs is available and will accept payment from
funding source; (2) to ensure that clients are not "stuck" in the system, meaning that there is
restrictive environment that the client will benefit from; or (3) when a client needs a specific
supervision and one does not exist thus causing Celesta to coordinate client moves in order to
the vacancy necessary for the client. Celesta, in consultation and coordination with service
providers and caseworkers who provide him with the case specific details of client needs, has
authority and responsibility to coordinate and direct these client movements. Celusta
majority of his time to this function.
7. Celusta troubleshoots treatment service and resource problems. Celusta is
for having knowledge of the resources that the mental health service system has available to
Celesta assists case managers secure services or resources when impediments arise that delay
a client a service need. Celesta responds to concerns raised by contract service providers.
considers contract service provider relations, fiscal efficiency, political realities and client
making decisions. Celusta monitors the supply and demand of services to clients. Celesta
effective recommendations to his supervisor to expand or constrict specific services based on
Dec. No. 15696-B
8. Celusta assists the Community Services Manager in preparing a budget.
monitors services provided to protect County levy dollars. Celusta reviews patient funding
and determines what services should/could be provided consistent with the patient's funding
Celusta steers patients to treatment sources that are consistent with their individual funding
9. Celusta is responsible for monitoring the budget plan for three contract-specific
programs. These contract programs include the ROLO conditional release program, the
federal grant and the PASAAR program. Celusta dedicates approximately ten percent of his
ROLO is a conditional release program. A caseworker and/or service provider builds
service plan with service requirements that identify a method for the client to safely and
remain in the community. A budget is prepared for each service plan and submitted to
budgeted services includes hours of service, time, costs, housing, medications,
Celesta and the Mental Health Division accountant review the budgets to verify that plans
identified the appropriate funding sources. Celusta approves/denies client service plans
consideration to whether the mental health system meets the needs of the client. Celusta's
is a prerequisite to service. Celusta may participate in negotiating for service for clients
caseworker has been unsuccessful due to the unavailability of a service. The County
currently has a
census of approximately 20 individuals participating in the ROLO program.
The PATH grant is a federal grant that provides flow-through funds to transition
from homelessness to shelter. Celusta is not a grant writer, but monitors the grant once it is
The grant is budgeted to provide the County with $57,000 in 2002.
Celusta is responsible for PASARR (Preadmission Screen and Resident Review),
mentally ill County residents with Nursing Home admission funded by County Medical
Completed forms for potential patients are submitted to Celusta for review and authorization.
Lacking Celusta's signature, Medical Assistance payment is denied.
10. Celusta represents the County and the Adult Mental Health Division as a
the Probation and Parole Committee and the Criminal Justice/Mental Health Interface
These Committees problem solve solutions to specific service provision issues.
Celesta serves as chairperson of the System Service Coordination Committee that
patient priority for admission to system programs. LeCount appointed Celesta to the
the chair position. Celesta meets with LeCount prior to and following System Service
Committee meetings to prepare for agenda topics and to report any action taken at the
Dec. No. 15696-B
Celusta was the chair of a committee addressing a new statutory standard relating to
commitments. Celusta studied the new statute, considered the ramifications and developed
on implementation for the Mental Health Division.
11. Celusta meets with LeCount on various issues to inform, to consult and/or to
emerging problems. Celusta meets with LeCount prior to and immediately following a
Coordinator Committee meeting to advise LeCount of the agenda content and action. Celusta
LeCount have a collegial relationship. Celusta responds to situations requiring immediate
when LeCount is not present.
12. Celusta sufficiently participates in the formulation, determination and
of County policy and has sufficient authority to allocate County resources to be a managerial
Based on the above and foregoing Findings of Fact, the Commission makes and
CONCLUSION OF LAW
The incumbent in the position of Mental Health Program Specialist is a managerial
within the meaning of Sec. 111.70(1)(i), Stats., and therefore is not a municipal employee
meaning of Sec. 111.70(1)(i), Stats.
Based on the above and foregoing Findings of Fact and Conclusion of Law, the
makes and issues the following
ORDER CLARIFYING BARGAINING
The bargaining unit described in Finding of Fact 3 is hereby clarified by continuing
Mental Health Program Specialist Celusta.
Given under our hands and seal at the City of Madison, Wisconsin, this
10th day of February, 2003.
WISCONSIN EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS COMMISSION
A. Henry Hempe, Commissioner
Paul A. Hahn,
Dec. No. 15696-B
MEMORANDUM ACCOMPANYING FINDINGS
CONCLUSION OF LAW AND ORDER
CLARIFYING BARGAINING UNIT
The Union argues that the Senior Social Worker position reclassified to Mental
Program Specialist is a professional position that exercises professional discretion and
a "systems maintenance" position. The Union asserts that the incumbent in the position is
decision-maker, is not at a "high level" in the chain of command, does not meet the
standard, does not have a formal role in the budget or reallocation of funds, and therefore is
managerial employee and thus should be included in the professional bargaining unit.
The Union argues that the Wisconsin statutes determine the kind and level of services
County will provide through the County Board and Mental Health Services Board. The
that as a result of these statutory guidelines, Celusta does not have the authority to establish
The Union argues that Celusta's testimony supports the conclusion that the Mental
Program Specialist does not have managerial authority. It contends that the majority of
time is spent as a "gatekeeper" and as such his primary function is to "expedite the 'flow' of
through the system." The Union argues that this function is "system maintenance" rather
management. The Union asserts that Celusta is a problem solver and urges that this role
does not rise
to the level of policymaker, citing Portage County, Dec. No. 6478-D (WERC, 1/90).
argues that although Celusta makes decisions with regard to waiting lists and "coveted
this responsibility is similar to that of the nursing supervisors in Brown County (Mental
Center), Dec. No. 17858-A (WERC, 9/93) that the Commission found were not managerial
The Union asserts that Celusta does not have independent authority to make decisions
required in order to be considered a managerial employee because LeCount remains well
of Celusta's work activities and closely directs and evaluates those activities. The Union
that Celusta and LeCount interact daily and "as needed wherever and whenever." The Union
that LeCount's interaction with Celusta is supervisory.
The Union argues that Celusta's involvement in countywide committees does not
a finding that the Mental Health Program Specialist position is managerial. The Union
the record establishes that the Service Coordinating Committee does not establish policy or
County resources, and further, that Celusta consults with LeCount
Dec. No. 15696-B
both pre and post meetings and LeCount attends these meetings on an as-needed basis.
It asserts that
the Criminal Justice Mental Health Interface Committee does not have the authority to make
decisions and that the Fifth Standard of Commitment Committee did nothing more than
The Union further asserts that Celusta's duties and responsibilities with the PASARR
and the PATH grant are, relying on Marquette County, Dec. No. 17681-A and 17682-A
9/81) and Juneau County, Dec. No. 18728-A (WERC, 1/86), not managerial. The Union
Celusta's authorization responsibility with the ROLO program as "one of quality control or
of county funds" similar to the DRG Coordinator in Rusk County (Memorial Hospital and
Nursing Home), Dec. No. 14713-D (WERC, 9/86) where the Commission found the position
The Union argues that this position lacks the authority to create either an original
to reallocate funds from an existing budget. The Union notes that Celusta's supervisor,
establishes the original budget for the Mental Health Adult Services Division subject to
review by the
Division Manager and review and approval by the County Board and LeCount reallocates
within that budget. The Union asserts that the record is clear that Celusta's authority relates
making expenditures from certain accounts to achieve program purposes and characterizes
authority as ministerial.
Based upon the record as a whole, the Union requests that the Commission clarify the
bargaining unit to include the position of Mental Health Program Specialist.
The County asserts that the incumbent in the position of Mental Health Program
is a managerial employee and thus should remain excluded from the bargaining unit. The
argues that position is integral to the management of the mental health system of the County
Celusta's managerial responsibility is to oversee the contracts and the progress of the mental
The County argues Celusta has the ability to effectively commit the employer's
to make policy decisions concerning the delivery of services to clients that the County serves.
County argues that Celusta commits resources by the decisions he makes.
The County asserts that Celusta "looks for new approaches and ways to make limited
go further." The County argues that in arranging services, monitoring fiscal performance
engaging the services of consultants, Celusta performs essential managerial functions. The
cites Celusta's contract administration, determination of optional
Dec. No. 15696-B
courses of action, policy and procedure development and functioning as a point-person
for a number
of committees as further evidence of Celusta's managerial status. The County believes that
Celusta's case "problem solving" is a managerial function, for it determines which patients
services and the type of services to be received.
The County asserts that Celusta's responsibility with the PATH grant also fulfills the
component to managerial status, and also points to Celusta's monitoring of the $57,000 grant
his effective authority to make recommendations relating to the grant.
The County argues that Celusta has primary responsibility over the ROLO program
and in this
capacity, approves plans of service and related funding. The County notes that Celusta
service plans and underscores the fact that his approval is a prerequisite to service. The
argues that the provision or denial of a service triggers the expenditure or withholding of
the case may be, and reasons that since Celusta makes these decisions, clearly he is
The County stresses that Celusta is the only individual with the authority to determine
clients will receive services and thus, is the only individual to determine whether funds will
expended. The County asserts that this responsibility is similar to that of the Plan of Care
Coordinator the Commission found to be managerial in Kenosha County, Dec.
No. 19435, (WERC,
The County further points to Celusta's authority to approve nursing home admissions
mentally ill individuals who are County residents as being another example of a managerial
allocating resources. The County notes that lacking Celusta's authorization, the Division of
will not approve a patient admission and the nursing homes would not get paid. The County
this watchdog or gatekeeper function is "management decision making of the highest order."
With regard to the Service Coordinating Committee, the County points out that
the Committee and is the County representative. The County asserts that since Celusta
independent discretion and decision-making authority regarding waiting lists and admissions
between Committee meetings and without consulting with his supervisor, it is clear that he is
managerial employee. The County further notes that Celusta serves on various other
focus on making the mental health system more efficient and effective.
The County argues that Celusta has established County policy. It asserts that several
ago Celusta established an operational policy to implement a new standard as created by state
with regard to civil commitments. The County asserts that Celusta's leadership on the
the role of chair and the process developed are clear indications of Celusta's managerial
The County further argues Celusta established another County policy when he created a
ensure competency evaluations were completed on an outpatient basis as dictated by the
Dec. No. 15696-B
The County contends that Celusta's gate keeping functions over the $1.5 million
admissions budget and emergency services unit admissions significantly affect the employer's
resources and policies and make him a managerial employee.
The issue of this case is whether Roger Celusta is a municipal or managerial
Union argues he is a municipal employee and should be included in the bargaining unit. The
contends he should be excluded from the bargaining unit because he is a managerial
Section 111.70(1)(i), Stats., specifically excludes a "managerial employee" from its
of "municipal employee." Since the statute contains no definition of a managerial employee,
its case law the Commission has crafted a definition of the term that has received repeated
endorsement. See, e.g., Milwaukee v. WERC, 71 Wis. 2d 709, 716, 717 (1976); Village of
Whitefish Bay v. WERC, 103 Wis. 2d 443, 448 (1981); Kewaunee County v. WERC, 141
2d 347, 355 (Ct. App. 1987).
The Commission definition consists of two alternate analytical paths: "(i)n
whether a position is managerial, the Commission considers the degree to which the
incumbent of the
position actually participates in the formulation, determination and implementation of
policy or possesses the authority to commit the employer's resources." Menominee County,
No. 26983-B (WERC, 4/95), citing Milwaukee VTAE, Dec. No. 8736-B (WERC,
Northwood School District, Dec. No. 20022 (WERC, 10/82), Marinette County
Health Care Center), Dec. No. 26154-B (WERC, 3/92).
As to the first analytical path, the Commission has found that the employee's
the formulation, determination, and implementation of management policy must be at a
high level." Marinette County, supra, cited with approval in Sauk County, Dec. No.
17343-C (WERC, 11/02).
As to the second analytical path, the Commission further explained:
"To confer managerial status, an
individual's authority to commit resources must involve
allocation of resources in a manner which significantly affects the nature and direction of the
employer's operations. Authority to significantly affect the nature and direction of the
employer's operations includes, inter alia, authority to determine the
following: the kind and level
of services to be provided; the kind and number of employees to be utilized in providing
kind and number of capitol improvements to be made; and the systems by which the services
provided, including the use of outside contractors." (Footnotes omitted.) Marinette County,
supra, cited with approval in Chippewa County, Dec. No. 10497-E (WERC, 6/01);
Trempealeau County, Dec. No. 18380-D (WERC, 4/01).
Dec. No. 15696-B
Since 1977, the Commission has interpreted the authority to commit the employer's
as including the power to establish an original budget or to allocate funds for differing
purposes under such a budget. See, e.g., City of Cudahy, Dec. No. 26680 WERC,
Budgetary duties that are merely ministerial do not confer managerial status.
v. WERC, supra at 357.
Whenever possible, MERA (Municipal Employment Relations Act) must be
other provisions of the law. Kewaunee County, supra at 358, citing Glendale Professional
Policeman's Association v. City of Glendale, 83 Wis. 2d 90, 103-04 (1978) and
Muskego-Norway Consolidated Schools, 35 Wis.2d. 540, 556 (1967). For example,
consideration of an
employee's authority to allocate funds for purposes that differ from those set forth in the
budget adopted by the appropriate local legislative authority must necessarily include
of the budget revision requirements for municipalities contained in Sec. 65.90(5), Stats.
statutory section does not provide unilateral authority for even a municipal chief executive
reallocate budget lines for purposes that differ from those originally adopted by the
legislative body, managerial status may be inferred by a demonstrated authority, de
jure or de facto
to make budget alteration recommendations for consideration by the local legislative body.
Finally, there is no bright-line test for managerial status. Manitowoc County v.
170 Wis.2d 692 (1992). Each case turns on its individual facts and involves a case-by-case
examination of the duties, responsibilities, and powers of the employee involved. Kewaunee
County, supra at 353.
We turn to an examination of the duties, responsibilities, and powers of Mental
Dane County has employed Celusta for 34 years. Originally hired as a Social
reclassified as a Senior Social Worker, Celusta currently is a member of the 3-person team
administers the Mental Health section of the Adult Community Services Division. The other
team members are Section Coordinator David LeCount (Celusta's supervisor) and an
1/ Presumably, the team also has access to clerical and/or
The Mental Health section is one of seven sections in the Adult Community Services
the Dane County Department of Human Services. It provides comprehensive, ongoing
approximately 1,500 adults with serious and persistent mental health illness, as well as less
support for many other persons with mental health disabilities.
Dec. No. 15696-B
At the time of hearing (April 2002), this section, though small in size, nonetheless
annual budget of $15-million. The money, which comes from a variety of sources that
county tax revenues and federal grants, is principally used to purchase mental health services
two dozen community agencies that together operate some 40 programs. The purchased
ultimately benefit over 5,000 patients.
While Section Coordinator LeCount has the principal responsibility for creating an
that requires approval by the County Board, Celusta is the principal administrator of this
Celusta's duties include purchasing mental health services from various providers, assessing
effectiveness of the providers of these services, and making recommendations to LeCount for
in the system. In the past, changes that have been implemented as a result of Celusta's
recommendation have included changing health care providers. It is Celusta that is
negotiating compensation rates for the providers.
The parties stipulated that Celusta is a qualified professional (social worker). This
Despite the fact that he has neither a bachelor's nor advanced degree in social work, 2/
been able to obtain State professional certification at the lowest rung of the statutory social
certification series. 3/
2/ Celusta has a
bachelor's degree in journalism.
3/ There are three other
social worker certification categories above the one held by Celusta: advanced practice
social worker, independent social worker, and independent clinical social worker. Unlike the
level of "social worker," the more advanced certification categories require, inter alia, a
master's or doctorate
degree in social work. See Secs. 457.08(2), (3) & (4), Stats.
Notwithstanding his State certification, it is clear that Celusta has no individual
client or patient
caseload, and does not directly work with any individual patient. Indeed, social workers at
certification level are prohibited from engaging in the psychotherapeutic activities allowed
workers with higher professional certifications. 4/
4/ MPSW 6.01,
Wisconsin Administrative Code.
Yet Celusta's administrative duties include making important decisions that
patients' treatment in the mental health system. For example, Celusta's approval is required
all contracted plans of service and funding for any client that is being granted a conditional
(ROLO Program). Celusta is not responsible for drawing up the original
Dec. No. 15696-B
service plan. That is the task of the social worker to whom the client has been
But if the recommendation is problematic (e.g., too expensive, professionally assessed low
probability of success, presents potential County liability or other legal problems, conflicting
professional recommendations) Celusta must resolve the issue.
Celusta is the only person that signs off on a ROLO plan of service. His
work in this area is not
routinely reviewed by any authority over him, and he is not aware of any appeals that have
taken from his decisions. Each plan he approves has a direct budget implication, e.g., hours
service, number of times services will be provided, costs, housing needs, medication needs
need for psychotherapy. Thus each plan he approves necessarily involves an allocation of
The Union describes Celusta's ROLO approvals as an "on-going oversight
by Celusta/LeCount/Accountant. [It] is one of quality control or watchdog of county funds
that the County is not spending levy dollars that the state might otherwise be required to fund
ROLO." The Union argues this is "not dissimilar to a question of managerial status
the Commission in Rusk County (Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home), Dec. No. 14713-D
(WERC, 9/86)." In that case, the Commission denied managerial status to the "Quality
Coordinator" and the "DRG Coordinator" on the basis that the former had no authority to act
her own and did not spend significant time in making her recommendations, and the latter
implemented existing policy but did not formulate or determine it and, further, did not
commit the Employer's resources.
We find the facts of Rusk County clearly distinguishable from the instant
matter. Unlike the
mere recommendations of the Quality Assurance and DRG Coordinators in that case, Celusta
actually resolves issues himself -- indeed, is permitted to substantially modify or cancel
plans proposed by other social workers, even though the proposing social workers may hold
professional certification than Celusta.
For, while his prior experience as a social worker is undoubtedly helpful to
him in the
performance of his current responsibilities, Celusta's decisions are not based primarily on his
social worker experiences. Certainly, he solicits advice from qualified professionals such as
workers, psychiatrists, and lawyers -- a practice not unlike that of many successful managers
executives in other fields that seek and rely on advice from appropriate qualified
whom they have access.
In contrast to professional treatment recommendations for individual clients
by their respective
social workers, Celusta's final decisions as to plans of service include fiscal, legal and
considerations. He has discretionary authority to implement one or more of a broad variety
alternatives, including individual psychiatric counseling, group counseling, and immediate (or
delayed) admittance to a bed at the County's Badger Prairie facility. Ultimately, Celusta
make sure that the proposed plan of service is appropriate for the needs of the client from a
Dec. No. 15696-B
In fact, Celusta's admissions authority for the Badger Prairie facility is
another example of the
discretionary management judgments required of him.
The Union finds a similarity between Celusta's Badger Prairie admissions
authority and the
hospital admissions authority of certain supervising nurses that the Commission determined
neither supervisory nor managerial in Brown County, Dec. No. 17585 (WERC, 9/93). In
opinion, however, the differences between the two authorities are considerably more
the superficial similarity cited by the Union.
For whatever admissions authority is held by the Brown County supervising
nurses is tightly
circumscribed by multiple, written County policies in the formulation of which the nurses
role. Admissions are based on clinical examinations performed by the nurses in their
nursing capacity, not a managerial one, and the Brown County nurses lack authority to
any clinical alternative to hospital admission.
Celusta, on the other hand, has no personal interaction with an individual
client. His admissions
decisions are not based on any clinical examination he has personally performed, and
consideration of non-clinical factors (e.g., fiscal, legal, political). He has discretionary
to implement alternative clinical options that are short of admission.
We note an additional dissimilarity between the supervising nurses' role in
Brown County and
that of Celusta in the instant matter, namely, Celusta's responsibilities with the PASARR
(Pre-Admission Screen and Release) Program. Celusta is the sole approving authority before
suffering from any mental illness can be authorized for a subsidized admission to a nursing
In this role he is far more than an admitting clerk, for admissions can occur without
signature. What Celusta's signature provides is appropriate funding for the admission.
County supervising nurses had no role that corresponded to this.
In summary, it is clear that neither ROLO nor PASARR program
determinations made by Celusta
are pro forma decisions. They are based, instead, on an overview of the entire system. As
credibly testified, if he denies a service to Patient A, his decision may free sufficient dollars
provide a service to Patient B.
We also note Celusta's responsibilities arising from his management of the
PATH grant of
approximately $57,000. The money is intended to assist homeless persons find other
greater benefit to them. Celusta is not a grant application writer, and he did not write the
grant application. He is, however, responsible for assessing the effectiveness of how the
grant monies are being spent, and has effective authority to recommend changes. For
following Celusta's finding and recommendation that the fragmented services being
PATH grant monies could be offered with greater efficiency and effectiveness if only one
were involved, the grant was rewritten to comply with this recommendation.
Dec. No. 15696-B
But the Union is not persuaded that Celusta's responsibilities arising from
his management of
the PATH grant rise to the level of managerial duties, citing Marquette County, Dec. No.
and 17682-A (WERC, 9/81) and Juneau County, Dec. No. 728-A (WERC, 1/86). (The
the same view and offers the same case citations with respect to Celusta's PASARR
We disagree. In Marquette County, supra, we declined to grant managerial
status to the
Program Director of the County's Unified Services Board on the grounds that not only did
Board retain tight control over actual policy decisions and expenditures of resources, but the
Program Director's role during Board policy sessions primarily consisted of providing
information as opposed to participating in the decision-making process. In Juneau County,
we denied managerial status to the Director of the Department of Aging and Nutrition on the
grounds that the incumbent's input into the budget process was merely to put it together in
form and forward it to various boards and committees. In the same case, we also concluded
the Landfill Site Manager spent a good percentage of his time in doing the same work as
employees at the landfill, and exercised little independent discretion and authority in
budgets or establishing management policy.
We perceive the facts of each of these cases clearly distinguishable and thus
inapposite to those
of the instant matter.
Celusta and his supervisor, David LeCount, both describe their professional
"collegial." For example, while Celusta plays no formal role in the preparation of the
annual budget, he and LeCount did consult with each other informally as the 2002 budget
prepared. Both men agree that they meet frequently to consult with each other on matters of
professional interest. These matters have included Celusta's effective recommendations to
to move money from one part of the budget to another or even that budget money not be
Either man can initiate a meeting with the other, and each does so on an "as needed" basis.
LeCount is not in the office, Celusta is in charge.
Celusta's chairmanship of the System Service Coordination Committee also
managerial role within the section. This committee meets monthly at the call of Celusta. Its
members include representatives of key players in the mental health system, such as mental
care providers, District Attorney's Office, Public Defender's Office, jail mental health staff
administrators, and Probation and Parole officials. The Committee's purpose is to discuss
resolve problems with the County mental health system or how to deal with new
Attempting to develop guidelines to deal with a new fifth standard for involuntary civil
commitments that the State Legislature had created is an example of one type of item on the
Committee's agenda. Obtaining a 30-day supply of medications for patients returning to
County following release from State institutions along with adequate notice of the proposed
date was a Committee triumph. It is clear that Celusta exercises effective leadership in
Committee activities and that these activities have resulted in the formulation of policy
that impact the County's mental health system.
Dec. No. 15696-B
Celusta also describes his duties as including "watchdog" functions. He
detentions at, say, the Mendota facility or the Veteran's Hospital as to County dollar
He watches whether funding is more appropriately obtained from the Veteran's
Medicaid or Medical Assistance. In Celusta's words, "I watchdog how these things happen
not putting people in situations where we're needlessly spending County dollars for care
could be doing otherwise." Actually, that describes Celusta's duties only partially, for he
correlative authority to act on the perceptions produced by his "watchdog" functions.
Celusta (and LeCount) both work with the accountant assigned to the
accountant provides them regular feedback on funding issues. If corrections seem indicated,
Celusta makes them.
As the Union points out, Celusta uses the term "fire-fighting" to describe
some of his duties. The
Union appears to identify "fire-fighting" with "problem-solving," and cites Portage County,
No. 6478-D (WERC, 1/90) as authority for its conclusion that "(t)he role of problem-solver
be equated with the broader, high level of policy making."
Actually, neither term is necessarily incompatible with legitimate
and the Union's conclusion to the contrary is broader than that stated by the Commission in
Portage County. Our statement was made in the context of the specific facts of that
As to Carlson's alleged policy involvement, the record
establishes that his role is primarily one
of attempting to develop solutions to specific problems which arise between the Child
Agency and other involved departments. In our view, this role as "problem solver" cannot
equated with the broader high level role of policymaker and thus does not provide a basis for
finding Carlson to be a managerial employee. (emphasis added)
In the instant matter, we perceive Celusta's "fire-fighting" or
extending far beyond the interdepartmental "problem-solving" to which we were responding
In summary, based on the record, we perceive Celusta as a key
managerial figure in the
Mental Health Section. Although the Section is small, its budget is substantial. In a very
the Section appears to operate largely as a managerial entity in which essential managerial
responsibilities are split between Section Coordinator LeCount and Celusta. The decisions
make in carrying out those responsibilities have an obvious and significant impact on the kind
level of services provided, the kind and number of employees to be utilized in providing
the systems by which the services will be provided,
Dec. No. 15696-B
including the use of outside contractors. In his day-to-day administration and
distribution of the
budget and the discretionary decisions necessarily required of him, Celusta must continuously
allocate County resources based on his best judgment of priorities. In doing so, he
establishes precedents that undoubtedly evolve into Division and Department
Celusta describes his position as following the flow of people into
treatment and trying to
make sure the flow out of treatment is as quick as it can be and still be effective. He says,
work the system." He later describes his job as "system maintenance." Celusta's
LeCount, refers to Celusta's duties as "system management."
Based on the record in this case we find those terms both accurate and
Even the Union concedes that Celusta ". . . has a job that is high in responsibility." In our
those responsibilities are of a sufficiently high degree to place Celusta in a managerial status,
thus exclude him from the professional bargaining unit.
Dated at Madison, Wisconsin, this 10th day of February,
WISCONSIN EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS COMMISSION