(a) A public employer shall enter into written agreement with the exclusive representative setting forth a grievance procedure culminating in a final and binding decision, to be invoked in the event of any dispute concerning the interpretation or application of a written agreement. The grievance procedure shall be valid and enforceable and shall be consistent with the following:
(1) A dispute over the terms of an initial or renewed agreement shall not constitute a grievance;
(2) No employee in a position exempted from chapter 76, who serves at the pleasure of the appointing authority, shall be allowed to grieve a suspension or discharge unless the collective bargaining agreement specifically provides otherwise; and
(3) With respect to any adverse action resulting from an employee's failure to meet performance requirements of the employee's position, the grievance procedure shall provide that the final and binding decision shall be made by a performance judge as provided in this section.
(b) The performance judge shall be a neutral third party selected from a list of persons whom the parties have mutually agreed are eligible to serve as a performance judge for the duration of the collective bargaining agreement. The parties, by mutual agreement, may modify the performance judge list at any time and shall determine a process for selection from the list.
(c) The performance judge shall use the conditions in section 76-41(b) as tests in reaching a decision on whether the employer's action, based on a failure by the employee to meet the performance requirements of the employee's position, was with or without merit.
(d) If it is alleged that the adverse action was not due to a failure to meet performance requirements but for disciplinary reasons without just and proper cause, the performance judge shall first proceed with a determination on the merits of the employer's action under subsection (c). If the performance judge determines that the adverse action may be based on reasons other than a failure to meet performance requirements, the performance judge shall then determine, based on appropriate standards of review, whether the disciplinary action was with or without proper cause and render a final and binding decision. [L 2000, c 253, §91]