Updating City Code
Q: What is codification? What is the process of codifying city ordinances?
LMC: Codification is the process that cities use to review, update, and organize ordinances into one book by subject matter so it is accessible and convenient for residents. The city council has authority to codify any general or special laws, ordinances, resolutions, rules, or bylaws in force in the city. An ordinance adopting the city code must be approved at a meeting of the city council. For statutory cities, an ordinance adopting the city code must be passed by a majority vote of the council. Once the ordinance adopting the code has been passed, the ordinance must be published.
Any codification project should include the following:
- Identifying conflicting ordinances.
- Repealing or redrafting inconsistent, unclear, outdated, or unconstitutional ordinance provisions.
- Developing a system that facilitates access to the city’s laws.
- Creating processes that allow for continuous updates.
- Indexing and cross-referencing.
- Reviewing all city ordinances for any omissions.
- Organizing city ordinances into an easy-to-use reference book known as the city code.
City staff and elected officials can do this process themselves, work with their city attorney, or hire a publisher to do the work. The League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) works with American Legal Publishing to provide this service to cities. Learn more about this service at lmc.org/codification.
Answered by Staff Attorney Aisia Davis: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What are some HR-related hot topics and trends to keep in mind this summer?
LMC: Summer hours. The move to let workers end work early on Fridays is a growing trend. In fact, some employers have implemented, or are considering, summer Fridays or some version of summer hours to run from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Several cities have been trying out various summer schedules including four, nine-hour days and then closing Fridays around noon.
Summer safety. For workers performing jobs outside, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provided new heat safety directives in April 2022 that cities will want to follow. The League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust’s (LMCIT) loss control consultants are a wealth of information on this topic and more.
While it can be a challenge to determine the perfect office temperature for indoor workers, especially in the hot months of summer, the OSHA technical manual recommends maintaining a workplace temperature at around 68-76 degrees Fahrenheit. The OSHA technical manual can be viewed at bit.ly/OSHAmanual.
Summer activities. Consider incorporating organizational-wide events as part of your employee appreciation and wellness efforts. If your city offers these events, consider promoting your summertime activities to help attract candidates. Capturing the fun of your workplace culture in photos or a story can be an effective recruitment tool to show candidates how your workplace celebrates your teams. Just remember to get a signed release before using photos publicly; see the LMC information memo on data practices at lmc.org/data-practices.
Answered by Assistant Human Resources Director Joyce Hottinger: email@example.com.
Q: Are we required to have an emergency action plan at our city?
LMC: Whether it is a complete power outage or a fire at your facility, preparing for the unexpected should be part of your overall safety program. While prevention is the first priority, preparedness may reduce the severity of the event and help maintain your employees’ safety. Cities should have a written, well-communicated, and practiced emergency action plan.
In general, OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.38, Emergency Action Plans (EAP), requires employers to develop plans to handle fires and other emergencies that may require evacuation of the premises. Such plans must be in writing, kept in the workplace, and be available to employees for review. However, an employer with 10 or fewer employees may communicate the plan orally.
At minimum, the plan must include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Means of reporting fires and other emergencies.
- Evacuation procedures and emergency escape route assignments.
- Procedures for employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate.
- Accounting for all employees after an emergency evacuation has been completed.
- Rescue and medical duties for employees performing them.
- Names or job titles of persons who can be contacted.
If your city does not currently have an emergency action plan in place, you can reach out to your LMCIT loss control consultant for templates, resources, and guidance.
Answered by Loss Control Consultant Kate Connell: firstname.lastname@example.org.