A move from offices on the East End to the West Side went off swimmingly, members of the state Public Employees Grievance Board were told this week during their first meeting at the new location.
The agency moved from a converted house on Kanawha Boulevard East to the Schoenbaum Center in July.
“We’re very pleased with everything here,” director Jim Cox told the board. “It made everything we do much better than before.”
Unlike the previous location, where it had been located for nearly 10 years, the new location has ample parking, is fully ADA accessible, and has offices for the board’s administrative law judges located on a separate floor, away from the conference rooms used for grievance hearings.
While the total square footage is roughly equivalent, rent for the Schoenbaum Center space is nearly $18,000 a year lower than the Kanawha Boulevard location, and includes utilities. That will amount to an additional savings of nearly $12,000 a year, Cox said.
The only drawback is that accessing the center, located off of Patrick Street, requires looping around 7th Avenue to Iowa Street. Cox said he is looking at signage to make the location easier to spot.
The center is scheduled to be the site of an Oct. 18 mediation hearing involving more than 400 Division of Highways employees who contend the division has failed to comply with a 2017 law mandating that it come up with new pay grades that are more competitive with equivalent positions in the private sector. However, board members did not discuss the pending hearing during the meeting.
Also reported during the board meeting:
n The total number of grievances filed since June 1 totals 361, down from 424 at the same point last year.
n The percentage of decisions issued by ALJs within 30 days of grievance hearings has increased from 59 percent in the 2014-15 budget year to 91 percent in 2018-19.
“We’re going to try to build on that this year,” Cox said.