Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 15. Local Government Personnel, Qualification for Office, Bonds, Dual Office Holding and Certain Local Government Officers
10/24/2021

Chapter 15. Local Government Personnel, Qualification for Office, Bonds, Dual Office Holding and Certain Local Government Officers.

Article 1. General Provisions for Certain Officers and Employees.

§ 15.2-1500. Organization of local government.

A. Every locality shall provide for all the governmental functions of the locality, including, without limitation, the organization of all departments, offices, boards, commissions and agencies of government, and the organizational structure thereof, which are necessary and the employment of the officers and other employees needed to carry out the functions of government.

B. Except as provided in § 15.2-2160 or Article 5.1 (§ 56-484.7:1 et seq.) of Chapter 15 of Title 56, no locality shall establish any department, office, board, commission, agency or other governmental division or entity which has authority to offer telecommunications equipment, infrastructure, other than pole or tower attachments including antennas or conduit occupancy, or services, other than intragovernmental radio dispatch or paging systems shared by adjoining localities, for sale or lease to any person or entity other than (i) such locality's departments, offices, boards, commissions, agencies or other governmental divisions or entities or (ii) an adjoining locality's departments, offices, boards, commissions, agencies or other governmental divisions or entities, so long as any charges for such telecommunications equipment, infrastructure and services do not exceed the cost to the providing locality of providing such equipment, infrastructure or services. However, any town which is located adjacent to Exit 17 on Interstate 81 and which offered telecommunications services to the public on January 1, 1998, is hereby authorized to continue to offer such telecommunications services, but shall not acquire by eminent domain the facilities or other property of any telephone company or cable operator. Any locality may sell any telecommunications infrastructure, including related equipment, which such locality has constructed, and such locality may receive from the purchaser or purchasers, as full or partial consideration for the sale of such infrastructure, communications services to be used solely for internal use of the locality. The locality shall not be involved in any way in the promotion or marketing of services provided by any purchaser.

C. A locality, electric commission or board, industrial development authority, or economic development authority, may lease dark fiber. For purposes of this section, "dark fiber" means fiber optic cable that is not lighted by lasers or other electronic equipment. The locality, electric commission or board, industrial development authority, or economic development authority, shall not be involved in the promotion or marketing of the lessee as the provider of the services.

1997, c. 587; 1998, c. 906; 1999, c. 916; 2002, cc. 479, 489.

§ 15.2-1500.1. Employment discrimination prohibited; sexual orientation or gender identity.

A. As used in this article, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Age" means being an individual who is at least 40 years of age.

"Military status" means status as (i) a member of the uniformed forces, as defined in 10 U.S.C. § 101(a)(5), of the United States or a reserve component thereof named under 10 U.S.C. § 10101, (ii) a veteran as defined in 38 U.S.C. § 101(2), or (iii) a dependent as defined in 50 U.S.C. § 3911(4) except that the support provided by the service member to the individual shall have been provided 180 days immediately preceding an alleged action that if proven true would constitute unlawful discrimination under this section instead of 180 days immediately preceding an application for relief under 50 U.S.C. Chapter 50.

B. No department, office, board, commission, agency, or instrumentality of local government shall discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or military status.

C. The provisions of this section shall not prohibit (i) discrimination in employment on the basis of sex or age in those instances when sex or age is a bona fide occupational qualification for employment or (ii) providing preference in employment to veterans.

2020, cc. 1137, 1140; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 477, 478.

§ 15.2-1501. Designation of officers to perform certain duties.

Whenever it is not designated by general law or special act which officer or employee of the locality shall exercise any power or perform any duty conferred upon or required of the locality, then any such power shall be exercised or duty performed by the officer or employee of the locality so designated by the governing body. The governing body also may authorize the chief administrative officer to designate officers and employees to perform administrative duties and to exercise administrative powers.

1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1502. Employment of certain deputies and assistants; delegation of powers and duties.

A. Local government officers may employ, when duly authorized by the governing body, deputies and assistants to aid them in carrying out their powers and duties. The provisions of this section and § 15.2-1503 shall not be applicable to the constitutional offices of treasurer, commissioner of the revenue, sheriff, attorney for the Commonwealth and clerk of the circuit court.

B. "Deputy" means a person who is appointed to act as a substitute for his principal, in the name of the principal and in his behalf, in matters in which the principal himself may act; such person shall be a public officer. Members of governing bodies may not have or appoint deputies for themselves.

C. "Assistant" means a person who is not a public officer or deputy but who aids or helps a public officer.

D. Subject to the limitations and requirements of the preceding subsections, an officer of a locality may delegate, to a person reporting to him, his powers and duties unless it is some power or duty the exercise of which by another person is expressly forbidden by law or requires the exercise of judgment for the public welfare. However, such delegation shall not act to relieve the officer making such delegation of his legal obligations for the exercise of powers and performance of duties of his office.

Persons employed by virtue of this subsection shall be designated either deputy or assistant and shall take such oath and post such bond as may be required by ordinance.

1978, c. 264, §§ 15.1-19.4, 15.1-19.5; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1503. Tenure of officers and employees; suspension or removal.

A. All appointments of officers and hiring of other employees by a locality shall be without definite term, unless for temporary services not to exceed one year or except as otherwise provided by general law or special act.

B. Any officer or employee of a locality employed pursuant to subsection A of this section may be suspended or removed from office or employment in accordance with the provisions of §§ 24.2-230 through 24.2-238, if such sections are applicable. Otherwise, any such employee may be suspended or removed in accordance with procedure established by special act or by the governing body, if any.

C. In case of the absence or disability of any officer or employee, the governing body or other appointing power may designate some responsible person to temporarily perform the duties of the office.

1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1503.1. Background checks required for certain employees and licensees.

Any locality having a local ordinance adopted in accordance with § 19.2-389 (i) shall require any applicant who is offered or accepts employment with the locality, (ii) shall require any prospective licensee for any categories of license designated by ordinance, or (iii) may require any individual who is offered or accepts employment with a contractor or public service corporation that provides public transit services to the locality to submit to fingerprinting and to provide personal descriptive information to be forwarded along with the applicant's or licensee's fingerprints through the Central Criminal Records Exchange to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the purpose of obtaining criminal history record information regarding such applicant or licensee. The locality may require such applicant or licensee to pay the cost of the fingerprinting or a criminal records check or both.

The Central Criminal Records Exchange, upon receipt of an applicant's or licensee's record or notification that no record exists, shall make a report to the county, city or town manager, or chief law-enforcement officer or his designee, who must belong to a governmental entity. If an applicant is denied employment or a licensee is denied a license because of the information appearing in his criminal history record, the locality shall notify the applicant or licensee that information obtained from the Central Criminal Records Exchange contributed to such denial. The information shall not be disseminated except as provided for in this section.

2003, c. 742; 2004, c. 160; 2010, cc. 189, 563.

§ 15.2-1504. Use of tobacco products by government employees.

No employee of or applicant for employment with a locality or any political subdivision of the Commonwealth shall be required, as a condition of employment, to smoke or use tobacco products on the job, or to abstain from smoking or using tobacco products outside the course of his employment, provided that this section shall not apply to those classes of employees to which § 27-40.1 or § 51.1-813 are applicable.

1989, c. 511, § 15.1-29.18; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1505. Employment based on residency prohibited for certain employees.

Notwithstanding any contrary provision of general or special law, no locality, or any agency thereof, including school boards, or any local housing or redevelopment authority created pursuant to § 36-4, that receives any funds from the Commonwealth, shall condition employment or any feature of employment, including promotion, on the basis of residency in a particular locality.

This section shall not apply to (i) appointees of elected groups or individuals, (ii) officials and employees who by charter or other law serve at the will or pleasure of an appointing authority, (iii) deputies and executive assistants to the chief administrative officer of a locality, or (iv) agency heads, department heads or their equivalents or chief executive officers of government operations.

1993, c. 789, § 15.1-29.23; 1997, c. 587; 1999, c. 375; 2000, c. 276; 2002, c. 37.

§ 15.2-1505.1. Applicant preemployment information.

A locality may by ordinance, and in accordance with § 19.2-389, require applicants upon offer of employment with the locality to submit to fingerprinting and to provide personal descriptive information to be forwarded along with the applicant's fingerprints through the Central Criminal Records Exchange and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the purpose of obtaining criminal history record information regarding such applicant. Such applicants shall, if required by ordinance, pay the cost of the fingerprinting or criminal records check or both.

The Central Criminal Records Exchange, upon receipt of an applicant's record or notification that no record exists, shall make a report to the chief administrative officer of the locality or his designee, who must belong to a governmental entity. In determining whether a criminal conviction directly relates to a position, the locality shall consider the following criteria: (i) the nature and seriousness of the crime; (ii) the relationship of the crime to the work to be performed in the position applied for; (iii) the extent to which the position applied for might offer an opportunity to engage in further criminal activity of the same type as that in which the person had been involved; (iv) the relationship of the crime to the ability, capacity or fitness required to perform the duties and discharge the responsibilities of the position being sought; (v) the extent and nature of the person's past criminal activity; (vi) the age of the person at the time of the commission of the crime; (vii) the amount of time that has elapsed since the person's last involvement in the commission of a crime; (viii) the conduct and work activity of the person prior to and following the criminal activity; and (ix) evidence of the person's rehabilitation or rehabilitative effort while incarcerated or following release.

If an applicant is denied employment because of information appearing in his criminal history record, the locality shall notify the applicant that information obtained from the Central Criminal Records Exchange contributed to such denial. The information shall not be disseminated except as provided for in this section.

2003, c. 739.

§ 15.2-1505.2. Personnel policies related to the use of public property.

Every locality, with the exception of towns having a population of less than 3,500 that do not have a personnel policy, shall establish personnel policies covering the use of public property by officers and employees of the locality. Such policies shall address the use of telephones, computers, and related devices and peripheral equipment that are the property of the locality for (i) personal use, to the extent that such use interferes with the employees' productivity or work performance, or (ii) political activities. As used in this section, "political activities" shall have the same meaning as provided in § 15.2-1512.2.

2014, c. 405.

§ 15.2-1505.3. Localities prohibited from inquiring about arrests, charges, or convictions on employment applications; exceptions.

A. As used in this section, "conviction" means any adjudication that an individual committed a crime, any finding of guilt after a criminal trial by a court of competent jurisdiction, or any plea of guilty or nolo contendere to a criminal charge.

B. No locality shall request a prospective employee to complete an application for employment that includes a question inquiring whether the prospective employee has ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of any crime. This prohibition shall not apply to (i) law-enforcement agency positions or positions related to law-enforcement agencies, (ii) positions for employment by the local school board, (iii) sensitive positions, or (iv) any employment-related applications or questionnaires provided during or after a staff interview. For purposes of this subsection, "sensitive positions" shall include those positions:

1. Responsible for the health, safety, and welfare of citizens or the protection of critical infrastructure;

2. That have access to sensitive information, including access to federal tax information in approved exchange agreements with the Internal Revenue Service or Social Security Administration; and

3. That are otherwise required by state or federal law to be designated as sensitive.

C. No locality shall inquire whether a prospective employee has ever been arrested for, or charged with, or convicted of any crime unless the inquiry takes place during or after a staff interview of the prospective employee.

D. Nothing in this section shall prevent a locality from considering information received during or after a staff interview pertaining to a prospective employee having been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of any crime.

2020, c. 422.

§ 15.2-1506. Establishment of grievance procedure, personnel system and uniform pay plan for employees.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, general or special, every locality which has more than fifteen employees shall have a grievance procedure for its employees that affords an immediate and fair method for the resolution of disputes which may arise between the public employer and its employees and a personnel system including a classification plan for service and a uniform pay plan for all employees excluding employees and deputies of division superintendents of schools.

Notwithstanding the provisions of any local charter, a locality may establish a personnel system for local administrative officials and employees based on merit and professional ability. Such system shall consist of rules and regulations that provide for the general administration of personnel matters, a classification plan for employees, a uniform pay plan, and a procedure for resolving grievances of employees as provided by general law.

1973, c. 256, § 15.1-7.1; 1974, cc. 260, 449; 1975, c. 176; 1976, c. 93; 1978, c. 845; 1979, c. 734; 1984, c. 746; 1985, c. 515; 1988, c. 290; 1991, c. 661; 1996, cc. 164, 869; 1997, c. 587; 2000, c. 363.

§ 15.2-1507. Provision of grievance procedure; training programs.

A. If a local governing body fails to adopt a grievance procedure required by § 15.2-1506 or fails to certify it as provided in this section, the local governing body shall be deemed to have adopted a grievance procedure that is consistent with the provisions of Chapter 30 (§ 2.2-3000 et seq.) of Title 2.2 and any regulations adopted pursuant thereto for so long as the locality remains in noncompliance. The locality shall provide its employees with copies of the applicable grievance procedure upon request. The term "grievance" as used herein shall not be interpreted to mean negotiations of wages, salaries, or fringe benefits.

Each grievance procedure, and each amendment thereto, in order to comply with this section, shall be certified in writing to be in compliance by the city, town, or county attorney, and the chief administrative officer of the locality, and such certification filed with the clerk of the circuit court having jurisdiction in the locality in which the procedure is to apply. Local government grievance procedures in effect as of July 1, 1991, shall remain in full force and effect for 90 days thereafter, unless certified and filed as provided above within a shorter time period.

Each grievance procedure shall include the following components and features:

1. Definition of grievance. A grievance shall be a complaint or dispute by an employee relating to his employment, including (i) disciplinary actions, including dismissals, disciplinary demotions, and suspensions, provided that dismissals shall be grievable whenever resulting from formal discipline or unsatisfactory job performance; (ii) the application of personnel policies, procedures, rules, and regulations, including the application of policies involving matters referred to in clause (iii) of subdivision 2; (iii) discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, political affiliation, age, disability, national origin, sex, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, sexual orientation, gender identity, or military status; and (iv) acts of retaliation as the result of the use of or participation in the grievance procedure or because the employee has complied with any law of the United States or of the Commonwealth, has reported any violation of such law to a governmental authority, has sought any change in law before the Congress of the United States or the General Assembly, or has reported an incidence of fraud, abuse, or gross mismanagement. For the purposes of clause (iv), there shall be a rebuttable presumption that increasing the penalty that is the subject of the grievance at any level of the grievance shall be an act of retaliation.

2. Local government responsibilities. Local governments shall retain the exclusive right to manage the affairs and operations of government. Accordingly, the following complaints are nongrievable: (i) establishment and revision of wages or salaries, position classification, or general benefits; (ii) work activity accepted by the employee as a condition of employment or work activity that may reasonably be expected to be a part of the job content; (iii) the contents of ordinances, statutes, or established personnel policies, procedures, rules, and regulations; (iv) failure to promote except where the employee can show that established promotional policies or procedures were not followed or applied fairly; (v) the methods, means, and personnel by which work activities are to be carried on; (vi) except where such action affects an employee who has been reinstated within the previous six months as the result of the final determination of a grievance, termination, layoff, demotion, or suspension from duties because of lack of work, reduction in work force, or job abolition; (vii) the hiring, promotion, transfer, assignment, and retention of employees within the local government; and (viii) the relief of employees from duties of the local government in emergencies. In any grievance brought under the exception to clause (vi), the action shall be upheld upon a showing by the local government that (a) there was a valid business reason for the action and (b) the employee was notified of the reason in writing prior to the effective date of the action.

3. Coverage of personnel.

a. Unless otherwise provided by law, all nonprobationary local government permanent full-time and part-time employees are eligible to file grievances with the following exceptions:

(1) Appointees of elected groups or individuals;

(2) Officials and employees who by charter or other law serve at the will or pleasure of an appointing authority;

(3) Deputies and executive assistants to the chief administrative officer of a locality;

(4) Agency heads or chief executive officers of government operations;

(5) Employees whose terms of employment are limited by law;

(6) Temporary, limited term, and seasonal employees;

(7) Law-enforcement officers as defined in Chapter 5 (§ 9.1-500 et seq.) of Title 9.1 whose grievance is subject to the provisions of Chapter 5 (§ 9.1-500 et seq.) of Title 9.1 and who have elected to proceed pursuant to those provisions in the resolution of their grievance, or any other employee electing to proceed pursuant to any other existing procedure in the resolution of his grievance; and

(8) Law-enforcement officers as defined in § 9.1-601 whose grievance is subject to the provisions of § 9.1-601 and relates to a binding disciplinary determination made by a law-enforcement civilian oversight body, except as permitted by subsection F of § 9.1-601.

b. Notwithstanding the exceptions set forth in subdivision a, local governments, at their sole discretion, may voluntarily include employees in any of the excepted categories within the coverage of their grievance procedures.

c. The chief administrative officer of each local government, or his designee, shall determine the officers and employees excluded from the grievance procedure, and shall be responsible for maintaining an up-to-date list of the affected positions.

4. Grievance procedure availability and coverage for employees of community services boards, redevelopment and housing authorities, and regional housing authorities. Employees of community services boards, redevelopment and housing authorities created pursuant to § 36-4, and regional housing authorities created pursuant to § 36-40 shall be included in (i) a local governing body's grievance procedure or personnel system, if agreed to by the department, board, or authority and the locality or (ii) a grievance procedure established and administered by the department, board, or authority that is consistent with the provisions of Chapter 30 (§ 2.2-3000 et seq.) of Title 2.2 and any regulations promulgated pursuant thereto. If a department, board, or authority fails to establish a grievance procedure pursuant to clause (i) or (ii), it shall be deemed to have adopted a grievance procedure that is consistent with the provisions of Chapter 30 (§ 2.2-3000 et seq.) of Title 2.2 and any regulations adopted pursuant thereto for so long as it remains in noncompliance.

5. General requirements for procedures.

a. Each grievance procedure shall include not more than four steps for airing complaints at successively higher levels of local government management, and a final step providing for a panel hearing or a hearing before an administrative hearing officer upon the agreement of both parties.

b. Grievance procedures shall prescribe reasonable and specific time limitations for the grievant to submit an initial complaint and to appeal each decision through the steps of the grievance procedure.

c. Nothing contained in this section shall prohibit a local government from granting its employees rights greater than those contained herein, provided that such grant does not exceed or violate the general law or public policy of the Commonwealth.

6. Time periods.

a. It is intended that speedy attention to employee grievances be promoted, consistent with the ability of the parties to prepare for a fair consideration of the issues of concern.

b. The time for submitting an initial complaint shall not be less than 20 calendar days after the event giving rise to the grievance, but local governments may, at their option, allow a longer time period.

c. Limits for steps after initial presentation of grievance shall be the same or greater for the grievant than the time that is allowed for local government response in each comparable situation.

d. Time frames may be extended by mutual agreement of the local government and the grievant.

7. Compliance.

a. After the initial filing of a written grievance, failure of either party to comply with all substantial procedural requirements of the grievance procedure, including the panel or administrative hearing, without just cause shall result in a decision in favor of the other party on any grievable issue, provided the party not in compliance fails to correct the noncompliance within five workdays of receipt of written notification by the other party of the compliance violation. Such written notification by the grievant shall be made to the chief administrative officer, or his designee.

b. The chief administrative officer, or his designee, at his option, may require a clear written explanation of the basis for just cause extensions or exceptions. The chief administrative officer, or his designee, shall determine compliance issues. Compliance determinations made by the chief administrative officer shall be subject to judicial review by filing petition with the circuit court within 30 days of the compliance determination.

8. Management steps.

a. The first step shall provide for an informal, initial processing of employee complaints by the immediate supervisor through a nonwritten, discussion format.

b. Management steps shall provide for a review with higher levels of local government authority following the employee's reduction to writing of the grievance and the relief requested on forms supplied by the local government. Personal face-to-face meetings are required at all of these steps.

c. With the exception of the final management step, the only persons who may normally be present in the management step meetings are the grievant, the appropriate local government official at the level at which the grievance is being heard, and appropriate witnesses for each side. Witnesses shall be present only while actually providing testimony. At the final management step, the grievant, at his option, may have present a representative of his choice. If the grievant is represented by legal counsel, local government likewise has the option of being represented by counsel.

9. Qualification for panel or administrative hearing.

a. Decisions regarding grievability and access to the procedure shall be made by the chief administrative officer of the local government, or his designee, at any time prior to the panel hearing, at the request of the local government or grievant, within 10 calendar days of the request. No city, town, or county attorney, or attorney for the Commonwealth, shall be authorized to decide the question of grievability. A copy of the ruling shall be sent to the grievant. Decisions of the chief administrative officer of the local government, or his designee, may be appealed to the circuit court having jurisdiction in the locality in which the grievant is employed for a hearing on the issue of whether the grievance qualifies for a panel hearing. Proceedings for review of the decision of the chief administrative officer or his designee shall be instituted by the grievant by filing a notice of appeal with the chief administrative officer within 10 calendar days from the date of receipt of the decision and giving a copy thereof to all other parties. Within 10 calendar days thereafter, the chief administrative officer or his designee shall transmit to the clerk of the court to which the appeal is taken: a copy of the decision of the chief administrative officer, a copy of the notice of appeal, and the exhibits. A list of the evidence furnished to the court shall also be furnished to the grievant. The failure of the chief administrative officer or his designee to transmit the record shall not prejudice the rights of the grievant. The court, on motion of the grievant, may issue a writ of certiorari requiring the chief administrative officer to transmit the record on or before a certain date.

b. Within 30 days of receipt of such records by the clerk, the court, sitting without a jury, shall hear the appeal on the record transmitted by the chief administrative officer or his designee and such additional evidence as may be necessary to resolve any controversy as to the correctness of the record. The court, in its discretion, may receive such other evidence as the ends of justice require. The court may affirm the decision of the chief administrative officer or his designee, or may reverse or modify the decision. The decision of the court shall be rendered no later than the fifteenth day from the date of the conclusion of the hearing. The decision of the court is final and is not appealable.

10. Final hearings.

a. Qualifying grievances shall advance to either a panel hearing or a hearing before an administrative hearing officer, as set forth in the locality's grievance procedure, as described below:

(1) If the grievance procedure adopted by the local governing body provides that the final step shall be an impartial panel hearing, the panel may, with the exception of those local governments covered by subdivision a (2), consist of one member appointed by the grievant, one member appointed by the agency head and a third member selected by the first two. In the event that agreement cannot be reached as to the final panel member, the chief judge of the circuit court of the jurisdiction wherein the dispute arose shall select the third panel member. The panel shall not be composed of any persons having direct involvement with the grievance being heard by the panel, or with the complaint or dispute giving rise to the grievance. Managers who are in a direct line of supervision of a grievant, persons residing in the same household as the grievant and the following relatives of a participant in the grievance process or a participant's spouse are prohibited from serving as panel members: spouse, parent, child, descendants of a child, sibling, niece, nephew and first cousin. No attorney having direct involvement with the subject matter of the grievance, nor a partner, associate, employee or co-employee of the attorney shall serve as a panel member.

(2) If the grievance procedure adopted by the local governing body provides for the final step to be an impartial panel hearing, local governments may retain the panel composition method previously approved by the Department of Human Resource Management and in effect as of the enactment of this statute. Modifications to the panel composition method shall be permitted with regard to the size of the panel and the terms of office for panel members, so long as the basic integrity and independence of panels are maintained. As used in this section, the term "panel" shall include all bodies designated and authorized to make final and binding decisions.

(3) When a local government elects to use an administrative hearing officer rather than a three-person panel for the final step in the grievance procedure, the administrative hearing officer shall be appointed by the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia. The appointment shall be made from the list of administrative hearing officers maintained by the Executive Secretary pursuant to § 2.2-4024 and shall be made from the appropriate geographical region on a rotating basis. In the alternative, the local government may request the appointment of an administrative hearing officer from the Department of Human Resource Management. If a local government elects to use an administrative hearing officer, it shall bear the expense of such officer's services.

(4) When the local government uses a panel in the final step of the procedure, there shall be a chairperson of the panel and, when panels are composed of three persons (one each selected by the respective parties and the third from an impartial source), the third member shall be the chairperson.

(5) Both the grievant and the respondent may call upon appropriate witnesses and be represented by legal counsel or other representatives at the hearing. Such representatives may examine, cross-examine, question and present evidence on behalf of the grievant or respondent before the panel or hearing officer without being in violation of the provisions of § 54.1-3904.

(6) The decision of the panel or hearing officer shall be final and binding and shall be consistent with provisions of law and written policy.

(7) The question of whether the relief granted by a panel or hearing officer is consistent with written policy shall be determined by the chief administrative officer of the local government, or his designee, unless such person has a direct personal involvement with the event or events giving rise to the grievance, in which case the decision shall be made by the attorney for the Commonwealth of the jurisdiction in which the grievance is pending.

b. Rules for panel and administrative hearings.

Unless otherwise provided by law, local governments shall adopt rules for the conduct of panel or administrative hearings as a part of their grievance procedures, or shall adopt separate rules for such hearings. Rules that are promulgated shall include the following provisions:

(1) That neither the panels nor the hearing officer have authority to formulate policies or procedures or to alter existing policies or procedures;

(2) That panels and the hearing officer have the discretion to determine the propriety of attendance at the hearing of persons not having a direct interest in the hearing, and, at the request of either party, the hearing shall be private;

(3) That the local government provide the panel or hearing officer with copies of the grievance record prior to the hearing, and provide the grievant with a list of the documents furnished to the panel or hearing officer, and the grievant and his attorney, at least 10 days prior to the scheduled hearing, shall be allowed access to and copies of all relevant files intended to be used in the grievance proceeding;

(4) That panels and hearing officers have the authority to determine the admissibility of evidence without regard to the burden of proof, or the order of presentation of evidence, so long as a full and equal opportunity is afforded to all parties for the presentation of their evidence;

(5) That all evidence be presented in the presence of the panel or hearing officer and the parties, except by mutual consent of the parties;

(6) That documents, exhibits and lists of witnesses be exchanged between the parties or hearing officer in advance of the hearing;

(7) That the majority decision of the panel or the decision of the hearing officer, acting within the scope of its or his authority, be final, subject to existing policies, procedures and law;

(8) That the panel or hearing officer's decision be provided within a specified time to all parties; and

(9) Such other provisions as may facilitate fair and expeditious hearings, with the understanding that the hearings are not intended to be conducted like proceedings in courts, and that rules of evidence do not necessarily apply.

11. Implementation of final hearing decisions.

Either party may petition the circuit court having jurisdiction in the locality in which the grievant is employed for an order requiring implementation of the hearing decision.

B. Notwithstanding the contrary provisions of this section, a final hearing decision rendered under the provisions of this section that would result in the reinstatement of any employee of a sheriff's office who has been terminated for cause may be reviewed by the circuit court for the locality upon the petition of the locality. The review of the circuit court shall be limited to the question of whether the decision of the panel or hearing officer was consistent with provisions of law and written policy.

1978, c. 845, § 15.1-7.2; 1985, c. 515; 1988, c. 290; 1989, c. 254; 1991, c. 661; 1995, cc. 770, 818; 1996, cc. 164, 440, 579, 869; 1997, c. 587; 2000, cc. 947, 1006; 2001, c. 589; 2005, c. 714; 2009, c. 736; 2012, cc. 803, 835; 2020, cc. 1137, 1140; 2020, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 29, 30; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 477, 478.

§ 15.2-1507.1. Appointment of standing panel in certain counties.

Notwithstanding the provisions of § 15.2-1507, in any county with the county manager form of government, the final step of its grievance procedure shall provide for a hearing before an impartial panel consisting of one member appointed by the grievant, one member appointed by the county manager or his designee, and a third member appointed in a manner determined by the board of supervisors.

2001, c. 601.

§ 15.2-1508. Bonuses for employees of local governments.

Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, general or special, the governing body of any locality may provide for payment of monetary bonuses to its officers and employees. The payment of a bonus shall be authorized by ordinance.

1985, c. 142, § 15.1-7.4; 1997, c. 587; 2003, c. 204.

§ 15.2-1508.1. Traveling expenses on business of town, city or county.

Any person traveling on business of any locality except as hereinafter provided, wherein no part of the cost is borne by the Commonwealth may be reimbursed by such locality on a basis established by the governing body of such locality; however, the rate of reimbursement per mile for private transportation shall not exceed the standard rate deductible as a business expense pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code and regulations promulgated thereunder.

Code 1950, § 14-5.2; 1954, c. 709; 1956, c. 214; 1960, c. 198; 1962, c. 441; 1964, c. 386, § 14.1-7; 1977, c. 517; 1996, c. 700; 1998, c. 872.

§ 15.2-1508.2. Same; where Commonwealth bears portion of expenses.

Any person traveling on business of any locality wherein the Commonwealth is required to bear a portion of the expenses may be reimbursed by any such locality on a basis not in excess of that provided in § 2.2-2823 but the portion to be borne by the Commonwealth shall be subject to the approval of the State Compensation Board.

Code 1950, § 14-5.3; 1954, c. 709; 1956, c. 214; 1962, c. 501; 1964, c. 386, § 14.1-8; 1998, c. 872.

§ 15.2-1508.3. Governing bodies of certain cities and counties may supplement salaries and reimburse traveling expenses of employees of state and local health departments.

The Counties of Arlington, Chesterfield, Clarke, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William may, in the discretion of their governing bodies, pay to persons employed by the State Department of Health, within such counties, in addition to the salaries as may be paid to such employees by the State Board of Health, such sum or sums of money as they may deem expedient.

In addition to supplementing the salaries of such employees as provided herein such county may reimburse such employees who travel on business of any such county, who are required to bear a portion of such travel expense in excess of the amount allowed by § 2.2-2823, from the funds of such county, upon such basis and in such manner as its governing body may prescribe.

1964, c. 321, § 14.1-11.1; 1970, c. 142; 1972, c. 314; 1973, c. 415; 1976, c. 688; 1981, c. 206; 1985, c. 80; 1991, c. 27; 1998, c. 872; 2004, c. 157.

§ 15.2-1508.4. Certain counties and cities may supplement salaries and reimburse traveling expenses of employees of state mental health clinics.

The Counties of Arlington, Chesterfield, Fairfax, Henrico, Loudoun, or Prince William, or the Cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, Manassas Park, or Roanoke may, in the discretion of its governing body, pay to persons employed in state mental health clinics, within such county, in addition to the salaries as may be paid to such employees by the Commonwealth, such sum or sums of money as it may deem expedient.

In addition to supplementing the salaries of such employees as provided herein, such county may reimburse such employees who travel on business of any such county, who are required to bear a portion of such travel expenses in excess of the amount allowed by § 2.2-2823, from the funds of such county, upon such basis and in such manner as its governing body may prescribe.

1966, c. 95, § 14.1-11.2; 1998, c. 872; 2007, c. 813.

§ 15.2-1509. Preferences for veterans in local government employment.

Consistent with the requirements and obligations to protected classes under federal or state law, any locality shall take into consideration or give preference to an individual's status as an honorably discharged veteran of the armed forces of the United States in its employment hiring policies and practices, provided that such veteran meets all of the knowledge, skills and eligibility requirements for the available position. Additional consideration shall also be given to veterans who have a service connected disability rating fixed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. "Veterans" as used in this section refers to the same class as included in § 2.2-2903 with regard to the state service.

1988, c. 648, § 15.1-7.5; 1997, c. 587; 2005, c. 413.

§ 15.2-1510. Retirement systems.

Any locality may establish a system for the retirement of injured or superannuated officers and employees; the members of the local police and fire departments; the public school teachers and other employees of the local school board; and the judges, clerks, deputy clerks and other employees of the judicial system; or any of them; and may establish a fund or funds for the payment of retirement allowances by making appropriations out of the local treasury, by levying a special tax for the benefit of such fund or funds, by requiring contributions payable from time to time from such officers, employees, members of police and fire departments, teachers, judges, clerks, deputy clerks and other employees of the judicial system, or by any combination of such methods, or by any other method not prohibited by law; provided that the total annual payments into such fund or funds shall be sufficient on sound actuarial principles for the payment of such retirement allowances therefrom. The benefits accrued or accruing to any person under such system shall not be subject to execution, levy, attachment, garnishment or any other process whatsoever nor shall any assignment of such benefits be enforceable in any court.

Code 1950, § 15-77.13; 1958, c. 328; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-849; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1510.1. Public announcement of severance packages for certain officials.

Severance benefits provided to any departing official appointed by a local governing body or school board shall be publicly announced by the local governing body or school board, respectively, prior to such departure.

2006, c. 254; 2007, c. 257.

§ 15.2-1511. Allowances to injured officials and employees and their dependents.

The governing body of any locality is authorized in its discretion to make allowances by appropriation of funds, payable in monthly or semimonthly installments, for the relief of any of its officials, employees, police officers, firefighters, sheriffs or deputy sheriffs, town sergeants and town deputy sergeants, or their dependents, who suffer injury or death as defined in Title 65.2, whether such injury was suffered or death occurs before or after June 29, 1948 (which date is the effective date of the section). The allowance shall not exceed the salary or wage being paid such official, employee, police officer, firefighter, sheriff or deputy sheriff, town sergeants and town deputy sergeants, at the time of such injury or death, and the payment of the allowance shall not extend beyond the period of disability resulting from such injury. In case death results from the injury, the allowance may be made for the dependents as defined in Title 65.2. In localities which have established retirement or pension systems for injured, retired or superannuated officials, employees, members of police or fire departments, sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, town sergeants and deputy sergeants, or for the dependents of those killed in line of duty, the agencies provided for the administration of such systems shall determine the existence of such injury or cause of death before any appropriation to pay such allowance is made and shall determine the extent of and period of disability resulting from such injury and the cause in case of death. All sums paid to any such official, employee, police officer, firefighter, sheriff or deputy sheriff, town sergeants and deputy sergeants, as compensation under Title 65.2 and all sums paid to the dependents of such official, employee, police officer, firefighter, sheriff or deputy sheriff, town sergeant and deputy sergeant, if he is killed, and all sums paid under any retirement or pension system shall be deducted from the allowance made under this section in such installments as the agency determines. If the agency determines that any official, employee, police officer, firefighter, sheriff or deputy sheriff, town sergeant and deputy sergeant, who suffered injury in the line of duty is engaged or is able to engage in a gainful occupation, then the allowance shall be reduced by the agency to an amount which, together with the amount earnable by him, equals the allowance. Should the earning capacity of the official, employee, police officer, firefighter, sheriff or deputy sheriff, town sergeant and deputy sergeant, be later changed, such allowance may be further modified, up or down, provided the new allowance shall not exceed the amount of the allowance originally made nor an amount which, when added to the amount earnable by him, exceeds such allowance.

The death of, or any condition or impairment of health of, any member of a local police department, or of a sheriff or deputy sheriff, caused by hypertension or heart disease resulting in total or partial disability shall be presumed to have been suffered in the line of duty unless the contrary be shown by competent evidence; provided that prior to making any claim based upon such presumption for retirement, sickness or other benefits on account of such death or total or partial disability, such member, sheriff, or deputy sheriff, shall have been found free from hypertension or heart disease, as the case may be, by a physical examination which shall include such appropriate laboratory and other diagnostic studies as such governing body shall prescribe and which shall have been conducted by physicians whose qualifications shall have been prescribed by such governing body. In the case of a claim for disability, that any such member, sheriff, or deputy sheriff, shall, if requested by such governing body or its authorized representative, submit himself to physical examination by any physician designated by such governing body, such examination to include such tests or studies as may reasonably be prescribed by the physician so designated. Such member, sheriff or deputy sheriff, or claimant shall have the right to have present at such examination, at his own expense, any qualified physician he may designate. In the case of a claim for death benefits, any person entitled to make a claim for such benefits, claiming that such person's death was suffered in the line of duty, shall submit the body of the deceased to a postmortem examination to be performed by the medical examiner for the county, city or town appointed under § 32.1-282.

Code 1950, § 15-555; 1950, p. 315; 1954, c. 246; 1960, c. 487; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-134; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 155; 1973, c. 499; 1976, c. 769; 1977, c. 326; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1511.01. Allowances to injured deputy sheriffs.

A. In addition to the allowances provided in § 15.2-1511, any deputy sheriff who suffers injury as defined in Title 65.2 and whose allowance as provided in § 15.2-1511 is less than 100 percent of his regular compensation shall be entitled to use any accrued vacation, compensatory, or sick leave to supplement the allowance so as to receive 100 percent of his regular compensation. In no case shall a deputy sheriff use such accrued leave so as to receive more than 100 percent of his regular compensation.

B. The governing body of a locality shall continue to pay the employer's share of the cost of health insurance to the same extent paid for other employees of the locality covered by the health insurance plan for a deputy sheriff who participates in the employer-provided health plan who suffers a compensable injury as defined under Title 65.2 so long as the deputy sheriff remains employed by the locality.

2008, cc. 335, 766.

§ 15.2-1511.1. Written benefit information to certain employees.

If a local employee develops a life-threatening health condition, the local employer shall provide such employee written notification of all relevant benefit options and programs available to him, within 10 days of the date that the employer was given notice of the serious health condition by the employee or his agent, unless such information is otherwise provided annually by the local employer. The employer shall provide appropriate forms to the employee so that the employee can communicate any election of benefit options to the employer in writing on the forms.

2007, c. 333.

§ 15.2-1512. Oath and bond.

Before entering upon the duties of his office, the person appointed or employed by the governing body, or its delegated representative, (i) shall take the oath of office if required by general law, special act or the governing body, (ii) shall give a bond before the clerk of the circuit court serving such governing body, if required by general law, special act or the governing body, and (iii) shall furnish surety to be approved by such clerk in an amount to be fixed by the governing body, if required by general law, special act or the governing body. The premium for such bond shall be paid by the governing body out of its general fund. The form of oath of office is that prescribed by § 49-1.

1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1512.1. Disposition of property received by subdivisions as result of conversion of mutual insurance company to stock corporation.

The governing body of each locality that receives cash, shares of stock, or both, as a result of the conversion of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Virginia, doing business as Trigon Blue Cross Blue Shield (hereafter referred to as Trigon), from a mutual insurance company to a stock corporation known as Trigon Healthcare, Inc., by reason of its school division's status as a present or former group policyholder of Trigon shall, by appropriate ordinance or resolution, authorize the treasurer of such locality to create two separate funds upon the books of the locality, as hereinafter described. Upon the enactment or adoption of such ordinance or resolution, the treasurer of the locality shall place all such stock, including any proceeds derived from the sale or other conveyance of any such stock, and cash, into these separate funds. The stock or proceeds and cash shall be divided equally between the two separate funds set forth in subsections A and B of this section; however, (i) the local governing body may place a greater proportion or all of the stock or proceeds and cash in the fund described in subsection A, with the consent of the school board and (ii) if on or before January 1, 1997, a school board has requested and the local governing body has approved the allocation of the proceeds from the sale of its stock for a school construction or renovation project, the remainder of such proceeds shall be used to create a fund to offset health insurance premium increases incurred by the present and future employees of the school board and governing body.

A. The first fund shall be known as the "County/City of _________________ Schools Health Insurance Premium Fund." All principal placed into this fund, together with all income arising from or attributable to the fund, shall be used solely to offset health insurance premium expenses incurred by or on behalf of present and future employees of the school division of the locality; however, the governing body of the locality may use a portion of the principal placed into the fund, a portion of the income arising from or attributable to the fund, or both, to compensate present or future retired employees of the school division of the locality for (i) health insurance premium expenses payable by the retired employees, (ii) health insurance premium expenses paid for by such retired employees for periods prior to July 1, 1997, during which the retired employees were insured under a health insurance policy through the school division of the locality as a group policyholder of Trigon, or (iii) both (i) and (ii), in such amounts, if any, as the governing body shall determine appropriate. No disbursement from the fund may be made except upon specific appropriation by the governing body in accordance with applicable law.

B. The second fund, if any, shall be known as the "County/City of _________________ School Construction, Renovation, Maintenance, Capital Outlay, and Debt Service Fund." All principal placed into this fund, together with all income arising from or attributable to the fund, shall be used solely for the purposes of school construction, school renovation, major school maintenance, capital outlay, and debt service in the public schools of the locality. No disbursement from this fund may be made except upon specific appropriation by the governing body in accordance with applicable law.

C. All stock or proceeds and cash placed into separate funds pursuant to the provisions of this act, including all income arising from or attributable to such funds, shall be deemed public funds of the locality and shall be subject to all limitations upon deposit and investment provided by general law, including without limitation the Virginia Security for Public Deposits Act (§ 2.2-4400 et seq.). Income, dividends, distributions and sale proceeds accruing to the separate funds shall be retained in the funds and may be expended only in accordance with the terms of this act.

1997, cc. 803, 888, 891, § 15.1-52.1; 1998, c. 256; 2000, cc. 66, 657; 2013, c. 687.

§ 15.2-1512.2. Political activities of employees of localities, firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, and law-enforcement officers and certain other officers and employees.

A. For the purposes of this section:

"Emergency medical services personnel" means any person who is employed within the fire department or public safety department of a locality whose primary responsibility is the provision of emergency medical care to the sick or injured, using either basic or advanced techniques. Emergency medical services personnel may also provide fire protection services and assist in the enforcement of the fire prevention code.

"Firefighter" means any person who is employed within the fire department or public safety department of a locality whose primary responsibility is the prevention or extinguishment of fires, the protection of life and property, or the enforcement of local or state fire prevention codes or laws pertaining to the prevention or control of fires.

"Law-enforcement officer" means any person who is employed within the police department, bureau, or force of any locality, including the sheriff's department of any city or county, and who is authorized by law to make arrests.

"Locality" means counties, cities, towns, authorities, or special districts.

"Political campaign" means activities engaged in for the purpose of promoting a political issue, for influencing the outcome of an election for local or state office, or for influencing the outcome of a referendum or special election.

"Political candidate" means any person who has made known his or her intention to seek, or campaign for, local or state office in a general, primary, or special election.

"Political party" means any party, organization, or group having as its purpose the promotion of political candidates or political campaigns.

B. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, general or special, no locality shall prohibit an employee of the locality, including firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, or law-enforcement officers within its employment, or deputies, appointees, and employees of local constitutional officers as defined in § 15.2-1600, from participating in political activities while these employees are off duty, out of uniform and not on the premises of their employment with the locality.

C. For purposes of this section, the term "political activities" includes, but is not limited to, voting; registering to vote; soliciting votes or endorsements on behalf of a political candidate or political campaign; expressing opinions, privately or publicly, on political subjects and candidates; displaying a political picture, sign, sticker, badge, or button; participating in the activities of, or contributing financially to, a political party, candidate, or campaign or an organization that supports a political candidate or campaign; attending or participating in a political convention, caucus, rally, or other political gathering; initiating, circulating, or signing a political petition; engaging in fund-raising activities for any political party, candidate, or campaign; acting as a recorder, watcher, challenger, or similar officer at the polls on behalf of a political party, candidate, or campaign; or becoming a political candidate.

D. Employees of a locality, including firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, law-enforcement officers, and other employees specified in subsection B are prohibited from using their official authority to coerce or attempt to coerce a subordinate employee to pay, lend, or contribute anything of value to a political party, candidate, or campaign, or to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of that person's political affiliations or political activities, except as such affiliation or activity may be established by law as disqualification for employment.

E. Employees of a locality, including firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, law-enforcement officers, and other employees specified in subsection B are prohibited from discriminating in the provision of public services, including but not limited to firefighting, emergency medical, and law-enforcement services, or responding to requests for such services, on the basis of the political affiliations or political activities of the person or organization for which such services are provided or requested.

F. Employees of a locality, including firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, law-enforcement officers, and other employees specified in subsection B are prohibited from suggesting or implying that a locality has officially endorsed a political party, candidate, or campaign.

2000, c. 791; 2002, c. 886; 2009, c. 306; 2015, cc. 502, 503.

§ 15.2-1512.3. Telecommuting by local government employees.

Each local government is authorized and encouraged to establish and implement a telecommuting policy under which eligible employees of such local government may telecommute to the maximum extent possible without diminished employee performance or service delivery.

2001, c. 405.

§ 15.2-1512.4. Rights of local employees to contact elected officials.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit or otherwise restrict the right of any local employee to express opinions to state or local elected officials on matters of public concern, nor shall a local employee be subject to acts of retaliation because the employee has expressed such opinions.

For the purposes of this section, "matters of public concern" means those matters of interest to the community as a whole, whether for social, political, or other reasons, and shall include discussions that disclose any (i) evidence of corruption, impropriety, or other malfeasance on the part of government officials; (ii) violations of law; or (iii) incidence of fraud, abuse, or gross mismanagement.

2006, c. 597.

§ 15.2-1512.5. Authority of local government employees to issue summonses for misdemeanor violations of certain local ordinances.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a locality may appoint and train local government employees to enforce local ordinances within the scope of the employee's employment by issuing summonses for misdemeanor violations of ordinances, except those offenses listed in Title 18.2 or Chapter 8 (§ 46.2-800 et seq.) of Title 46.2 or those violations of local ordinances for offenses that are substantially similar to such offenses. Such employees shall not have the power and authority of constables at common law; their power shall be limited to issuing such summonses in their locality.

2020, c. 144.

Article 2. Joint Officers and Other Employees.

§ 15.2-1513. Joint local government employees permitted.

Localities may jointly employ or share the services of any person. Persons so employed may include officers as well as other employees.

1991, c. 234, § 15.1-20.3; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1514. Exercise of powers and duties.

Every person employed under § 15.2-1513 shall exercise in each of such localities all the powers conferred and duties imposed upon such person by law or by contract.

1991, c. 234, § 15.1-20.5; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1515. Compensation, benefits and liability insurance of such persons.

Every person employed under § 15.2-1513, for purposes of salary, retirement, and other employee benefits, public liability insurance and bonds, when required, shall be considered the employee of one locality. The share of the costs of salary, retirement, and other employee benefits and expenses for the jointly employed person shall be paid to the primary employing locality by the other localities using the services of such person in the manner and amount agreed upon.

Such employment may be pursuant to written or unwritten agreement between or among the employing localities containing such other terms and conditions as agreed upon.

1991, c. 234, § 15.1-20.4; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1516. Exceptions.

The provisions of §§ 15.2-1513 through 15.2-1515 shall not be applicable to constitutional officers or their employees or other officers elected by the voters.

1991, c. 234, § 15.1-20.6; 1997, c. 587.

Article 3. Insurance and Legal Defense.

§ 15.2-1517. Insurance for employees and retired employees of localities and other local governmental entities; participation by certain volunteers.

A. Any locality may provide group life, accident, and health insurance programs for its officers and employees; employees of boards, commissions, agencies, or authorities created by or controlled by such locality; or employees of boards, commissions, agencies, or authorities that are political subdivisions of the Commonwealth and work in close cooperation with such locality. In addition, any locality that provides such a health insurance program may allow eligible members of approved volunteer fire or rescue companies, as determined by the locality, to participate in such a health insurance program. Such programs may be through a program of self-insurance, purchased insurance, or partial self-insurance and purchased insurance, whichever is determined to be the most cost effective. The total cost of such policies or protection may be paid entirely by the locality or shared with the employee. The governing body of any locality may provide for its retired officers and retired employees, including retired employees of boards, commissions, agencies, or authorities that are political subdivisions of the Commonwealth and work in close cooperation with such locality, to be eligible for such group life, accident, and health insurance programs. The cost of such insurance for retired officers and retired employees may be paid in whole or in part by the locality. The governing body of any locality may permit members of approved volunteer fire or rescue companies to participate in its group health insurance programs, subject to the eligibility criteria established by the locality. The cost of a volunteer's participation in such a health insurance program shall be paid for in full by the participating volunteer. Any locality may fund the cost of a volunteer's participation in a mental health treatment and counseling program that is offered to individual members of approved volunteer fire or rescue companies and is comparable to an employee assistance program offered to paid employees of the locality.

B. In the event a county or city elects to provide one or more of such programs for its officers and employees, it shall provide such programs to the constitutional officers and their employees on the same basis as provided to other officers and employees, unless the constitutional officers and employees are covered under a state program, and the cost of such local program shall be borne entirely by the locality or shared with the employee.

C. 1. Except as otherwise provided herein, in the event the governing body of any locality elects to provide group accident and health insurance for its officers and employees, including constitutional officers and their employees, such programs shall require that upon retirement, or upon the effective date of this provision for those who have previously retired, any such individual with (i) at least 15 years of continuous employment with the locality or (ii) less than 15 years of continuous employment who has retired due to line-of-duty injuries may choose to continue his coverage with the insurer at the retiree's expense until such individual attains 65 years of age at the insurer's customary premium rate applicable (a) to such policies, (b) to the class of risk to which the person then belongs, and (c) to his age.

2. The governing body, when providing this coverage, may further provide that the retiree be rated separately from the active employees covered under the group plan offered by such governing body.

3. Any locality that has not offered the opportunity to continue group health coverage provided by the locality as required by subdivision 1 to its retirees who had retired on or before June 30, 1993, and who meet the criteria for such coverage as set forth in subdivision 1, shall do so by July 1, 2000. Any retiree from the service of a locality who had retired on or before June 30, 1993, and who meets the criteria to continue his group health coverage from the locality under subdivision 1 who has not yet elected to continue his group health coverage from the locality shall elect whether to do so by July 1, 2000.

4. Nothing herein shall prohibit a locality from providing group accident and health coverage or benefits for its retirees in addition to the coverage required under this section.

D. Any locality that offers group health plans to its employees and the employees of constitutional officers and its retirees, as provided by this section or otherwise, may provide in the plan providing such coverage that any retiree who is participating in a group health plan provided by the locality who subsequently terminates his participation in such plan may not thereafter rejoin a group health plan provided by the locality.

1981, c. 332, § 15.1-7.3; 1984, c. 712; 1987, cc. 435, 564; 1992, c. 750; 1993, c. 782; 1997, c. 587; 1999, c. 797; 2003, c. 409; 2007, c. 150; 2012, cc. 191, 515; 2016, cc. 207, 417; 2020, cc. 424, 425.

§ 15.2-1517.1. Formation of not-for-profit benefits consortium.

A. As used in this section:

"Benefits consortium" means a nonstock corporation formed pursuant to subsection B.

"Benefits plan" means a plan adopted by the board of directors of a benefits consortium to provide health and welfare benefits to employees of localities that are members of the benefits consortium and their dependents.

"Employee welfare benefit plan" has the meaning set forth in § 3(1) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. § 1002(1).

"Locality" means any city or county or the school board with authority over public schools within the boundaries of a city or county.

B. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the governing bodies of three or more localities that as of December 31, 2014, comprised the membership of a multiple employer welfare arrangement may form a not-for-profit benefits consortium for the purpose of establishing a self-funded employee welfare benefits plan by acting as incorporators of a nonstock corporation pursuant to the Virginia Nonstock Corporation Act (§ 13.1-801 et seq.). In addition to provisions required or permitted by the Virginia Nonstock Corporation Act, the organizational documents of the benefits consortium shall:

1. Limit membership in the benefits consortium to localities;

2. Set forth the name and address of each of the initial members of the corporation;

3. Set forth requirements for the admission of additional localities to the corporation;

4. Set forth the procedure for admission of additional localities to the corporation;

5. Require that each initial member of the corporation and each additional locality admitted to membership agree to remain a member of the benefits consortium for a period of at least five years from the date the consortium begins operations or the date of the additional locality's admission to membership, as the case may be;

6. Provide that the number of directors of the corporation shall be equal to the number of members;

7. Provide that the board of directors shall have exclusive fiscal control over and be responsible for the operation of the benefits plan and shall govern the benefits consortium in accordance with applicable law;

8. Vest in the board of directors the power to make and collect special assessments against members and, if any assessment is not timely paid, to enforce collection of same in the name of the corporation;

9. State the purposes of the benefits consortium, including the types of risks to be shared by its members;

10. Provide that each member shall be contractually liable for its allocated share of the liabilities of the benefits consortium as determined by the board of directors;

11. Require that the benefits consortium purchase and maintain (i) a bond that satisfies the requirements of applicable law, (ii) fiduciary liability insurance, and (iii) a policy or policies of excess insurance with a retention level determined in accordance with sound actuarial principles from an insurer licensed to transact the business of insurance in the Commonwealth;

12. Require that the benefits consortium be audited annually by an independent certified public accountant engaged by the board of directors; and

13. Not include in the name of the corporation the words "insurance," "insurer," "underwriter," "mutual," or any other word or term or combination of words or terms that is uniquely descriptive of an insurance company or insurance business unless the context of the remaining words or terms clearly indicates that the corporation is not an insurance company and is not carrying on the business of insurance.

C. A benefits consortium shall establish and maintain reserves determined in accordance with sound actuarial principles. Capital may be maintained in the form of an irrevocable letter of credit issued to the benefits consortium by a state or national bank authorized to engage in the banking business in the Commonwealth.

D. A benefits consortium may create a self-funded trust through which the members provide for their employees and their dependents any benefit that a member that is a locality is authorized to provide under an accident and health insurance program authorized by § 15.2-1517.

E. Except to the extent specifically provided in this section, a benefits consortium organized under and operated in conformity with this section, so long as it remains in good standing under the Virginia Nonstock Corporation Act (§ 13.1-801 et seq.) and otherwise meets the requirements set forth in this section, shall be exempt from all state taxation, and shall not otherwise be subject to the provisions of Title 38.2, including regulation as a multiple employer welfare arrangement.

2015, c. 136.

§ 15.2-1518. Liability insurance for officers, employees and volunteers of local government and members of its boards and commissions and constitutional officers.

Any locality and any political subdivision thereof may provide liability insurance or self-insurance for its fire department operational medical director, police department operational medical director, operational medical director, physician course director for any licensed emergency medical services agency or emergency medical services training program located therein endorsed by the Office of Emergency Medical Services and for its officers, employees and volunteers, including any commission or board, and employees and members thereof, of any authority created or controlled by the local governing body, or any local agency or public service corporation owned, operated or controlled by such local governing body and constitutional officers and their employees.

The insurance or self-insurance may cover the costs and expenses incident to liability, including those for settlement, suit, or satisfaction of judgment arising from the conduct of such operational medical directors, physician course directors, officers, employees, members or volunteers in the discharge of their official duties.

For the purposes of this section, "physician course director" or "PCD" means an EMS physician who is responsible for the clinical aspects of emergency medical care training programs, including the clinical and field actions of enrolled students.

1987, c. 496, § 15.1-7.3:1; 1988, c. 432; 1997, c. 587; 1999, c. 151; 2004, c. 648; 2008, c. 118.

§ 15.2-1519. Liability insurance for employees of local departments and boards of welfare and social services; legal representation.

Notwithstanding the provisions of § 15.2-1518, the state Department of Social Services is authorized to obtain liability insurance for officers and employees of local departments and boards of welfare or social services. The attorney for the Commonwealth, city attorney, or county attorney, as appropriate, shall provide whatever legal services are required for any such officers or employees sued as a result of their conduct in the discharge of their official duties.

1974, c. 658, § 15.1-506.2; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1520. Employment of counsel to defend localities and political subdivisions, governing bodies, officers or employees in certain proceedings; costs and expenses of such proceedings.

Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, general or special, a locality, or political subdivision of such locality may employ the county, city or town attorney, or the attorney for the Commonwealth, if there be no county, city or town attorney, or other counsel approved by the governing body to defend it, or any member thereof, or any officer of the locality, or political subdivision or employee thereof, or any trustee or member of any board or commission appointed by the governing body in any legal proceeding to which the governing body, or any member thereof, or any of the foregoing named persons may be a defendant, when such proceeding is instituted against it, or them by virtue of any actions in furtherance of their duties in serving the locality or political subdivision as its governing body or as members thereof or the duties or service of any officer or employee of the locality or political subdivision or any trustee or any member of any board or commission appointed by the governing body.

All costs and expenses of such proceedings so defended shall be charged against the treasury of the locality, or political subdivision and shall be paid out of funds provided therefor by the governing body thereof. Further, in the event any settlement is agreed upon or judgment is rendered against any of the foregoing persons or governing body, the governing body may, in its discretion, pay such settlement or judgment from public funds or other funds or in connection with all of the foregoing may expend public or other funds for insurance or to establish and maintain a self-insurance program to cover such risks or liability.

1968, c. 23, § 15.1-19.2; 1976, c. 544; 1977, c. 47; 1978, c. 442; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1521. Providing legal fees and expenses for officer or employee of county, city or town in certain proceedings.

If any officer or employee of any locality is investigated, arrested or indicted or otherwise prosecuted on any criminal charge arising out of any act committed in the discharge of his official duties, and no charges are brought, or the charge is subsequently dismissed, or upon trial he is found not guilty, the governing body of the locality may reimburse the officer or employee for reasonable legal fees and expenses incurred by him in defense of the investigation or charge, the reimbursement to be paid from the treasury of the locality.

1984, c. 394, § 15.1-19.2:1; 1997, c. 587.

Article 4. Qualifications; Eligibility, Etc., of Local Elected Officers.

§ 15.2-1522. When and how officers qualify.

Every elected county, city, town and district officer, unless otherwise provided by law, on or before the day on which his term of office begins, shall qualify by taking the oath prescribed by § 49-1 and give the bond, if any, required by law, before the circuit court for the county or city, having jurisdiction in the county, city, town or district for which he is elected or appointed, or before the clerk of the circuit court for such county, city, town or district. However, members of governing bodies and elected school boards may qualify up to and including the day of the initial meeting of the new governing body or elected school board.

Any such oath of town council members, town mayors or members of Boards of Supervisors may be taken before any officer authorized by law to administer oaths. Such oath shall be returned to the clerk of the council of the town, who shall enter the same record on the minute book of the council, or, for members of the Board of Supervisors, returned to the clerk of the circuit court having jurisdiction in the county for which he is elected or appointed, who shall record the same in the order book, on the law side thereof.

Whenever an officer required to give bond is included in a blanket surety bond authorized by § 2.2-1840, such officer shall furnish confirmation by the Division of Risk Management of the inclusion of the officer on such blanket surety bond and the amount of the coverage, which shall be the equivalent of giving the bond for purposes of qualification.

An appointed officer as used in this article means a person appointed to temporarily fill an elected position. District officer as used in this article means a person elected by the people other than national and statewide officers and members of the General Assembly.

Code 1950, § 15-475; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-38; 1972, c. 549; 1979, c. 643; 1993, c. 329; 1996, c. 167; 1997, c. 587; 2000, c. 293; 2017, c. 598.

§ 15.2-1523. Record of qualification.

When an officer qualifies and gives bond, the judge shall certify the fact and the bond and certificate shall be returned to the clerk of the circuit court, and the certificate shall be entered in the order book of the court on the law side thereof and such bond shall be recorded by the clerk. When the officer qualifies and gives bond before the clerk, the clerk shall enter the fact of such qualification in the order book of the court, on the law side thereof, and record the bond.

Code 1950, § 15-476; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-39; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1524. Failure to qualify vacates office.

If any such officer fails to qualify and give bond, as required by § 15.2-1523, on or before the day on which his term begins, his office shall be deemed vacant. However, members of local governing bodies and elected school boards may qualify up to and including the day of the initial meeting of the new governing body or elected school board.

Code 1950, § 15-477; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-40; 1996, c. 167; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1525. Where officers shall reside.

A. Every county officer shall, at the time of his election or appointment, have resided thirty days next preceding his election or appointment, either in the county for which he is elected or appointed, or in the city wherein the courthouse of the county is or in a city wholly within the boundaries of such county. If no practicing lawyer who has resided in the county or in such city for the period aforesaid offers for election or appointment or if there is not more than one practicing lawyer residing in the jurisdiction who would be qualified to offer for election, it shall be lawful to elect or appoint as attorney for the Commonwealth for such county a nonresident, or one who has not resided in the county, or in such city, for the period above mentioned. Every city and town officer except the town attorney shall, at the time of his election or appointment, have resided thirty days next preceding his election or appointment in such city or town unless otherwise specifically provided by charter. Every district officer shall, at the time of his election or appointment, have resided in the district for which he is elected or appointed thirty days next preceding his election or appointment, and residence in any incorporated town within the district shall be regarded as residence in the district.

B. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, and except as other provisions of law may require otherwise, nonelected officers of any locality, and nonelected deputies of constitutional officers, shall not be required to reside in the jurisdiction in which they are appointed. However, the sheriff of any county or city may for law-enforcement purposes require that deputy sheriffs live within a reasonable distance of the administrative office of the sheriff's department.

Code 1950, § 15-487; 1952, c. 336; 1954, c. 323; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-51; 1966, c. 97; 1968, c. 6; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 155; 1972, cc. 549, 620, 624; 1973, c. 124; 1974, cc. 135, 229, 646; 1975, c. 100; 1976, c. 402; 1977, c. 28; 1978, cc. 106, 113; 1979, c. 362; 1980, cc. 1, 8, 11; 1981, cc. 551, 552, 556, 560, 561; 1982, c. 48; 1983, cc. 51, 76; 1984, cc. 65, 106, 711; 1994, c. 516; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1526. Removal vacates office.

If any officer, required by § 15.2-1525 to be a resident at the time of his election or appointment of the county, city, town or district for which he is elected or appointed, or of the city wherein the courthouse of such county is or in a city wholly within the boundaries of such county, remove therefrom, except from the county to such city or from such city to the county, or in case a nonresident who has been elected attorney for the Commonwealth remove from the county or county seat of the county in which he resided when elected, except to the county in which he is elected, his office shall be deemed vacant.

Code 1950, § 15-488; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-52; 1966, c. 97; 1997, c. 587.

Article 5. Bonds.

§ 15.2-1527. Bonds of officers.

Every treasurer or director of finance, sheriff, clerk of a circuit court, commissioner of the revenue, and other persons in the offices of constitutional officers required to give bond shall, at the time he qualifies, give such bond as is required by § 49-12. Bonds for a treasurer or director of finance, sheriff, clerk of the circuit court and commissioner of the revenue shall be provided through the state Department of the Treasury, Division of Risk Management pursuant to subsection B of § 2.2-1840. The penalty of the bond of each officer shall be determined by the court or clerk before whom he qualifies, within the limits prescribed in §§ 15.2-1528, 15.2-1529 and 15.2-1530.

Code 1950, § 15-478; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-41; 1964, c. 278; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 155; 1972, c. 549; 1997, c. 587; 2000, cc. 618, 632.

§ 15.2-1528. Penalties of bonds of sheriffs, clerks of the circuit court and commissioners of the revenue.

The penalty of the bond of a sheriff shall be $30,000. The bond of the clerk of a circuit court shall not be less than $3,000 and the bond of such clerk shall bind him and his sureties, not only for the faithful discharge of his duties as clerk of the court, but also for the faithful discharge of such other duties as may be imposed upon him by law in like manner or by order of the court and with the same effect as if it were so expressed in the conditions of his bond. The bond of the commissioner of the revenue shall not be less than $1,000 nor more than $3,000.

Code 1950, § 15-479; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-42; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 155; 1981, c. 120; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1529. Amount of bond of treasurer or director of finance of counties.

Notwithstanding the provisions of §§ 15.2-416, 15.2-541, 15.2-642, 15.2-707 and 15.2-852 requiring the surety bond given by a county treasurer or director of finance to be in an amount of not less than fifteen percent of the amounts to be received annually by such officers, the court or the governing body responsible for fixing the penalty of the bond may in its discretion exclude the amounts to be received for the county from temporary and long-term loans and federal revenue sharing funds when fixing the required minimum bond, and the amount of the bonds to be given shall not exceed the following maximums based on the population of the respective counties unless, for good cause shown, a greater bond is deemed advisable:

1. In counties having a population of not more than 10,000, the bond shall be limited to $300,000.

2. In counties having a population of more than 10,000 but not more than 30,000, the bond shall be limited to $400,000.

3. In counties having a population of more than 30,000 but not more than 50,000, the bond shall be limited to $500,000.

4. In counties having a population of more than 50,000 but not more than 100,000, the bond shall be limited to $750,000.

5. In counties having a population of more than 100,000, the bond shall be limited to one million dollars.

1973, c. 320, § 15.1-43.1; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1530. Bonds required of treasurers or directors of finance of cities.

Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, general or special, the penalty of the bond for treasurers or directors of finance of cities shall be not less than fifteen percent of the amount of revenue to be received annually by him but not more than $500,000 for treasurers or directors of finance of cities under 100,000 population nor more than $1,500,000 for treasurers or directors of finance of cities over 100,000.

Code 1950, § 15-481; 1950, p. 411; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-44; 1973, c. 195; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1531. When certain city and county treasurers not required to give additional bond.

Whenever the treasurer for any city or county is appointed finance officer under any regulation of the State Board of Education relating to the operation of jointly owned schools for cities and counties, and such duties do not substantially increase the amount of the revenue to be received annually by him, then no additional bond shall be required of him.

Code 1950, § 15-481.1; 1962, c. 493, § 15.1-44.1; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1532. Payment of premiums on bonds for more than one year in advance.

Governing bodies are authorized to pay out of their respective treasuries, the premiums on the surety bonds of all local officials who are required to be bonded, for a period of more than one year when a discount for advanced payment of such premiums may be obtained under the rates, rules and regulations promulgated by the State Corporation Commission according to law.

If any such surety bond be cancelled prior to its expiration, the portion of the premiums to be returned shall be calculated on the basis of the regular annual rate of premiums for the duration of the bond as such refunds are prescribed by the rates, rules and regulations promulgated by the State Corporation Commission according to law.

Code 1950, § 15-483; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-46; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1533. Bond plan to be forwarded to clerk and Comptroller.

The state Department of the Treasury, Division of Risk Management shall forward to the clerk of the circuit court for each county and city and the Comptroller of the Commonwealth a copy of the plan promulgated pursuant to subsection B of § 2.2-1840.

Code 1950, § 15-484; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-47; 1979, c. 643; 1997, c. 587; 2000, cc. 618, 632.

Article 6. Prohibition on Dual Office Holding.

§ 15.2-1534. Certain officers not to hold more than one office.

A. Pursuant to Article VII, Section 6 of the Constitution of Virginia, no person holding the office of treasurer, sheriff, attorney for the Commonwealth, clerk of the circuit court, commissioner of the revenue, supervisor, councilman, mayor, board chairman, or other member of the governing body of any locality shall hold more than one such office at the same time.

B. Subsection A shall not be construed to prohibit:

1. A commissioner of the revenue of a county from serving as appointed commissioner of the revenue of a town located in the county;

2. A treasurer of a county from serving as appointed treasurer of a town located in the county;

3. A deputy sheriff of a county from serving as appointed town sergeant of a town located in the county;

4. A person from serving simultaneously as an assistant attorney for the Commonwealth in the City of Winchester and Frederick County;

5. A person from serving as attorney for the Commonwealth for Bland County and assistant attorney for the Commonwealth of Wythe County;

6. The election of deputies of constitutional officers to school board membership, consistent with federal law and regulation; or

7. A person from serving simultaneously as a part-time assistant attorney for the Commonwealth in more than one locality with the consent of the respective attorneys for the Commonwealth and the Compensation Board in accordance with procedures adopted by the Compensation Board.

1993, cc. 621, 781, § 15.1-50.4; 1995, c. 290; 1997, c. 587; 2002, c. 294.

§ 15.2-1535. Members of governing body not to be elected or appointed by governing body to certain offices.

A. Pursuant to Article VII, Section 6 of the Constitution of Virginia, no member of a governing body of a locality shall be eligible, during the term of office for which he was elected or appointed, to hold any office filled by the governing body by election or appointment, except that a member of a governing body may be named a member of such other boards, commissions, and bodies as may be permitted by general law and except that a member of a governing body may be named to fill a vacancy in the office of mayor or board chairman if permitted by general or special law.

B. Pursuant to Article VII, Section 6 of the Constitution of Virginia, and without limiting any other provision of general law, a governing body member may be named by the governing body to one or more of the following positions:

1. Director of emergency management pursuant to § 44-146.19;

2. Member of a planning district commission pursuant to § 15.2-4203;

3. Member of a transportation district commission pursuant to § 33.2-1907;

4. Member of a behavioral health authority board pursuant to Chapter 6 (§ 37.2-600 et seq.) of Title 37.2;

5. Member of a hospital or health center commission pursuant to Chapter 52 (§ 15.2-5200 et seq.) of Title 15.2;

6. Member of a community services board pursuant to Chapter 5 (§ 37.2-500 et seq.) of Title 37.2;

7. Member of a park authority pursuant to Chapter 57 (§ 15.2-5700 et seq.) of Title 15.2;

8. Member of a detention or other residential care facilities commission pursuant to Article 13 (§ 16.1-315 et seq.) of Chapter 11 of Title 16.1;

9. Member of a board of directors, governing board or advisory council of an area agency on aging pursuant to § 51.5-135;

10. Member of a regional jail or jail farm board, pursuant to § 53.1-106 or of a regional jail authority or jail authority pursuant to Article 3.1 (§ 53.1-95.2 et seq.) of Chapter 3 of Title 53.1;

11. With respect to members of the governing body of a town under 3,500 population, member of an industrial development authority's board of directors pursuant to Chapter 49 (§ 15.2-4900 et seq.) of Title 15.2;

12. Member of the board of directors, governing board, or advisory council or committee of an airport commission or authority;

13. Member of a Board of Directors of a Regional Industrial Facility Authority pursuant to Chapter 64 (§ 15.2-6400 et seq.) of Title 15.2;

14. Member of a local parks and recreation commission;

15. Member of the Board of the Richmond Ambulance Authority;

16. Member of a local convention, visitors, or tourism board, authority, or agency; and

17. Member of the Board of Directors of the Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority pursuant to § 33.2-2901.

C. If any governing body member is appointed or elected by the governing body to any office, his qualification in that office shall be void except as provided in subsection B or by other general law.

D. Except as specifically provided in general or special law, no appointed body listed in subsection B shall be comprised of a majority of elected officials as members, nor shall any locality be represented on such appointed body by more than one elected official.

E. For the purposes of this section, "governing body" includes the mayor of a municipality and the county board chairman.

1993, cc. 621, 781, § 15.1-50.5; 1995, cc. 696, 699; 1997, c. 587; 1998, c. 488; 1999, c. 811; 2001, c. 8; 2009, cc. 400, 649; 2011, cc. 41, 51; 2012, cc. 803, 835; 2014, c. 469; 2018, c. 659.

Article 7. Other Officers of Local Governments.

§ 15.2-1536. Required and discretionary officers.

Every locality shall appoint or designate a clerk for the governing body and in its discretion, a chief administrative officer and an attorney.

1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1537. Financial officer.

Every locality, unless otherwise provided for by general law or special act or unless such functions are performed by the constitutional offices of treasurer and commissioner of the revenue, shall appoint an officer to be responsible for its financial affairs. Such person shall work with the above-mentioned constitutional offices in performing his duties and shall perform such other related duties as may be assigned to him by the governing body.

1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1537.1. Disposition of state funds locally collected.

All state funds collected by the financial officer shall be paid into the state treasury without deductions on account of their compensation or on account of expenses. The Comptroller shall promptly forward to such officers his warrants on the State Treasurer for the compensation due them and the estimated amount allowed them out of such funds for expenses.

Code 1950, § 14-161; 1964, c. 386, § 14.1-161; 1998, c. 872.

§ 15.2-1538. Clerk for the governing body.

The governing body of every locality in this Commonwealth shall appoint a qualified person, who shall not be a member of the governing body, to record the official actions of such governing body. The person so appointed shall be called clerk for the board of supervisors or council, as the case may be.

In localities where the clerk of court also serves as clerk of the governing body such person may receive as compensation for his services as clerk of the governing body a salary in an amount determined by the governing body. Such compensation shall be in lieu of, and in satisfaction of, any compensation allowable under § 33.2-721. Such compensation shall not be considered in determining the maximum total annual compensation of officers as set forth in §§ 17.1-283 and 17.1-287.

Code 1950, § 15-238; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-533; 1968, c. 328; 1980, c. 257; 1985, c. 108; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1539. General duties of clerk.

It shall be the clerk's general duty to:

1. Record in a book the proceedings of the governing body;

2. Make regular entries of all its ordinances, resolutions and decisions on all questions concerning the raising of money, and within five days after any order for a levy is made, to deliver a copy thereof to the commissioner of revenue of his locality or the person performing such commissioner's duties, as the case may be;

3. Record the vote of each supervisor or council member on any question submitted to the board or council, as required by law or his governing body; and

4. Preserve and file all accounts acted upon by the governing body, with its actions thereon, for a period of five years after audit and thereafter until the governing body shall authorize their destruction in accordance with retention regulations for records established pursuant to the Virginia Public Records Act.

Code 1950, § 15-237; 1956, c. 710; 1960, c. 34; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-532; 1982, c. 493; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1540. Chief administrative officer.

The governing body of any locality may appoint a chief administrative officer, who shall be designated county, city or town administrator or manager or executive, as the case may be.

1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1541. Administrative head of government.

Every chief administrative officer shall be the administrative head of the local government in which he is employed. He shall be responsible to the governing body for the proper management of all the affairs of the locality which the governing body has authority to control.

He shall, unless it is otherwise provided by general law, charter or by ordinance or resolution of the governing body:

1. See that all ordinances, resolutions, directives and orders of the governing body and all laws of the Commonwealth required to be enforced through the governing body or officers subject to the control of the governing body are faithfully executed;

2. Make reports to the governing body from time to time as required or deemed advisable upon the affairs of the locality under his control and supervision;

3. Receive reports from, and give directions to, all heads of offices, departments and boards of the locality under his control and supervision;

4. Submit to the governing body a proposed annual budget, in accordance with general law, with his recommendations;

5. Execute the budget as finally adopted by the governing body;

6. Keep the governing body fully advised on the locality's financial condition and its future financial needs;

7. Appoint all officers and employees of the locality, except as he may authorize the head of an office, department and board responsible to him to appoint subordinates in such office, department and board;

8. Perform such other duties as may be prescribed by the governing body.

1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1541.1. Authority of county administrator to maintain centralized system of accounting.

A county administrator shall maintain a centralized system of accounting for the county, including the county school board and the local board of social services, when such centralized system of accounting is authorized by the governing body under the provisions of § 30-137.

1998, c. 380; 2002, c. 747.

§ 15.2-1542. Creation of office of county, city or town attorney authorized; appointment, salary and duties.

A. Every county, city or town, not otherwise authorized to create the office, may create the office of county, city or town attorney. Such attorney shall be appointed by the governing body to serve at the pleasure of the governing body. He shall serve at a salary or at an hourly rate to be fixed by the governing body and shall be allowed to recover his reasonable costs expended. Any such attorney serving at an hourly rate shall provide the locality with an itemized list of fees and expenses. In the event of the appointment of such attorney, the attorney for the Commonwealth for such locality shall be relieved of any duty imposed upon him by law in civil matters of advising the governing body and all boards, departments, agencies, officials and employees of the locality, of drafting or preparing ordinances, of defending or bringing actions in which the local government or any of its boards, departments or agencies, or officials or employees, thereof, shall be a party, and in any other manner advising or representing the local government, its boards, departments, agencies, officials and employees, and all such duties shall be performed by the local government attorney. Nothing herein, however, shall relieve such attorney for the Commonwealth from any of the other duties imposed on him by law including those imposed by § 2.2-3126.

B. The county attorney may prosecute violations of the Uniform Statewide Building Code, the Statewide Fire Prevention Code and all other ordinances as may be agreed upon with the attorney for the Commonwealth. Such attorney shall be accountable to the governing body in the performance of his duties.

C. The county attorney of Montgomery, Fairfax or Prince William Counties may prosecute violations of county ordinances, except those ordinances which regulate, in a manner similar to State statute, the operation of motor vehicles on the highway.

D. City and town attorneys, if so authorized by their local governing bodies, and with the concurrence of the attorney for the Commonwealth for the locality, may prosecute criminal cases charging either the violation of city or town ordinances, or the commission of misdemeanors within the city or town, notwithstanding the provisions of § 15.2-1627.

1968, c. 695, § 15.1-9.1:1; 1974, c. 305; 1977, c. 584; 1979, c. 328, § 15.1-9.1:01; 1981, c. 122; 1982, c. 30; 1994, c. 357; 1995, c. 740, § 15.1-9.1:3; 1997, c. 587; 2002, c. 802.

§ 15.2-1543. Employment of purchasing agent; duties.

A. Any county may employ a county purchasing agent or designate some official or employee of the county to perform the duties herein provided, and provide compensation for such service. The person so employed or designated shall serve at the pleasure of the board and shall give bond in such amount as shall be prescribed by the board.

B. The county purchasing agent shall, under the supervision of the board of supervisors, purchase or contract for all supplies, materials, equipment and contractual services required by any department or agency of the county, subject to the provisions set forth in Article 2 (§ 15.2-1233 et seq.) of Chapter 12; shall draw up, subject to the approval of the county board, and enforce standard specifications which shall apply to all supplies, materials and equipment purchased for the use of the county government; shall have supervision over all central storerooms now operated or hereafter established by the county; and shall transfer to or between county departments and agencies or sell supplies, materials and equipment which are surplus, obsolete, or unused.

Code 1950, §§ 15-539, 15-541; 1962, c. 623, §§ 15.1-103, 15.1-105; 1997, c. 587.

Article 8. Local Trusts to Fund Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions.

§ 15.2-1544. Counties, cities, towns, school divisions, and certain political subdivisions may establish local trusts or equivalent arrangements to fund postemployment benefits other than pensions.

The governing body of any county, city, or town may establish a trust, trusts, or equivalent arrangements for the purpose of accumulating and investing assets to fund postemployment benefits other than pensions, as defined herein. Deposits to any such trust, trusts, or equivalent arrangements and any earnings on those deposits shall be irrevocable; shall be dedicated to providing benefits to retirees and their beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the plans or programs providing postemployment benefits other than pensions; and shall be exempt from taxation and execution, attachment, garnishment, or any other process. For the purposes of this article, an equivalent arrangement shall mean any fund or similar arrangement established by the governing body pursuant to this article under which funds are irrevocably allocated, segregated, or otherwise dedicated to providing postemployment benefits other than pension benefits to retirees and their beneficiaries. The governing body of any such county, city, or town also may make appropriations to any such trust, trusts, or equivalent arrangements, and any such governing body may require active and former employees covered by a postemployment benefit plan or program to contribute to such a trust or equivalent arrangement through payments or deductions from their wages, salaries, or pensions. Officers and employees who are subject to inclusion in the retirement plans described in § 51.1-800 also may be included in any such trust, trusts, or equivalent arrangements by the governing body.

The governing body also may authorize the governing body of any other political subdivision that is appointed in whole or in part by the governing body of such county, city, or town, to establish and fund a trust, trusts, or equivalent arrangements for its active and former employees. Any appointed or elected school board may establish and fund such a trust, trusts, or equivalent arrangements for its active and former employees. The governing body of any county, city, or town also may enter into agreements with the appointed or elected school board that provides public schools within its boundaries or with any other political subdivision, which is appointed in whole or in part by the governing body of any such county, city, or town, to permit any such school board or such other political subdivision to participate in any trust, trusts, or equivalent arrangements established by the governing body of any such county, city, or town.

The governing body of any such county, city, or town, the school board of the local school divisions, and the governing body of any other political subdivision that establishes or participates in any such trust, trusts, or equivalent arrangements, shall have the right to revise or discontinue its plans or programs providing such postemployment benefits other than pensions for its active and former officers and employees as it may deem necessary or transfer any assets held in any trust or equivalent arrangement established pursuant to this article to any other trust, trusts, or equivalent arrangement established pursuant to this article; provided, however, any amendment, suspension, or revocation of any plans or programs providing such postemployment benefits other than pensions or transfer of assets held in a trust or equivalent arrangement shall not have the effect of diverting the assets of any trust, trusts, or equivalent arrangements to purposes other than the exclusive benefit of the active or former employees or their dependents or beneficiaries entitled to such postemployment benefit. If all plans or programs providing such postemployment benefits other than pensions for which a trust or equivalent arrangement is established are repealed or terminated by the governing body that created such trust, trusts or equivalent arrangements, then there shall be no continuing responsibility for that governing body to continue to make appropriations to such trust, trusts or equivalent arrangements, and the assets of any such trust, trusts or equivalent arrangements shall be used to provide any benefits continuing to be due to active or former employees (and their dependents or beneficiaries) under such plans or programs. If there are no active or former employees (or dependents or beneficiaries) due a benefit under any plan or program providing such postemployment benefits other than pensions for which the trust or equivalent arrangement was established, then any remaining assets may revert to the locality.

2007, c. 710.

§ 15.2-1545. Postemployment benefits other than pensions defined.

Postemployment benefits other than pensions covered by the trust, trusts, or equivalent arrangement shall be defined by the governing body of the county, city, or town, by the appointed or elected school board, or by the governing body of any other political subdivision that creates any such program or trust. Such benefits may include but are not limited to medical, dental, and life insurance provided to individuals who have terminated their service and to the dependents of such individuals and may be provided by purchasing insurance, by a program of self-insurance, or by a combination of both. Such postemployment benefits other than pensions may be provided to the officers and employees or to their dependents, estates, or designated beneficiaries. Any benefits arising from any postemployment benefits other than pension plans shall be clearly defined and strictly construed.

2007, c. 710.

§ 15.2-1546. Assets of trusts or equivalent arrangements for postemployment benefits other than pensions.

The assets of any trust or equivalent arrangement for postemployment benefits other than pensions shall be exempt from state and local taxation, and the assets of any such trust or equivalent arrangement shall not be subject to execution, attachment, garnishment, or any other process.

2007, c. 710.

§ 15.2-1547. Creation of local finance boards to manage the assets of postemployment benefits trust or equivalent arrangement; composition of such boards; alternatives to such boards; liability; and removal from office.

Except as otherwise provided herein, the governing body of any county, city, or town that establishes a trust, trusts, or equivalent arrangements for postemployment benefits other than pensions pursuant to this article also shall create a finance board to serve as trustee of such a trust, trusts, or equivalent arrangements and to manage and invest the assets of that trust, trusts, or equivalent arrangements. Such a finance board shall be composed of at least three members who shall include the chief financial officer of the locality, the treasurer of the locality, and at least one other additional person who shall be a citizen of the Commonwealth with proven integrity, business ability, and demonstrated experience in cash management and in investments. If the locality does not have a chief financial officer or a treasurer, then that position may be filled by the chief administrative officer of the locality or by a citizen who meets the qualifications set forth above. The citizen member shall be appointed initially by the governing body of the locality for a term of two years and if more than one citizen is appointed to serve on any such board, then the local governing body may appoint those citizens for staggered terms of one and two years. Subsequent appointments shall be for two-year terms or to fill the balance of any unexpired term. The finance board shall annually elect one of its members as chairman and another as vice-chairman. The finance board shall meet at least four times a year, and a majority of the members shall constitute a quorum.

Any school board of a local school division or the governing body of any other political subdivision that establishes its own postemployment benefits trust, trusts, or equivalent arrangements pursuant to this article shall create a finance board to serve as trustee of such a trust, trusts, or equivalent arrangements and to manage and invest the assets of that trust, trusts, or equivalent arrangements. Such a finance board shall be composed of at least three members consisting of the chief administrative officer of the entity, the chief financial officer of the entity, and at least one additional person who shall be a citizen of the Commonwealth and who meets the qualifications set forth above. The citizen member shall be appointed initially by the governing body of the locality for a term of two years and if more than one citizen is appointed to serve on any such board, then the local governing body may appoint those citizens for staggered terms of one and two years. Subsequent appointments shall be for two-year terms or to fill the balance of any unexpired term. The finance board shall annually elect one of its members as chairman and another as vice-chairman. The finance board shall meet at least four times a year, and a majority of the members shall constitute a quorum.

Alternatively, and in lieu of establishing the finance board as described in this section, the governing body of any county, city, or town, school division or other political subdivision that has established a retirement board or deferred compensation board to manage pension benefits provided to or for its active and former employees may designate that retirement board or deferred compensation board to serve as trustee and to manage the assets of a trust or equivalent arrangement established pursuant to this article. Any such retirement board or deferred compensation board shall have all the powers and duties of the finance board described in this article, mutatis mutandis.

Except in the case of gross negligence or intentional misconduct, any member of a finance board established pursuant to this section, any director of finance or another appointed official with a similarly named position, or any member of a retirement board, who is acting in accordance with the provisions of this article, shall not incur any liability for investment losses suffered by a trust established pursuant to this article. Members of any such finance board shall be subject to removal from office as set forth in §§ 24.2-230 through 24.2-238.

2007, c. 710.

§ 15.2-1548. Finance boards or alternatives thereto to manage the assets of trusts or equivalent arrangements to fund postemployment benefits other than pensions and provide annual reports; exemption from Public Procurement Act.

Except as otherwise provided herein, any finance board or any other person or entity serving as an alternative thereto pursuant to § 15.2-1547 shall retain the services of an investment manager, invest its funds in accordance with § 15.2-1549, maintain records of all of its proceedings, make such records available for inspection by the public, invest the assets of the trust or equivalent arrangement in accordance with the provisions of this article, and provide the governing body that created it an annual report on the fund's performance and financial status. In lieu of any finance board or other person or entity serving as an alternative thereto pursuant to § 15.2-1547 serving as trustee, the investment manager may serve as trustee of the funds. The selection of services related to the management, purchase, or sale of authorized investments, including but not limited to actuarial services, shall not be subject to the provisions of the Virginia Public Procurement Act (§ 2.2-4300 et seq.).

2007, c. 710.

§ 15.2-1549. Investment of assets of trusts or equivalent arrangement for postemployment benefits other than pensions.

All funds appropriated to a trust or equivalent arrangement for postemployment benefits other than pensions, as defined in § 15.2-1545, and all funds accrued from the investment of any such funds that are on hand at any time and are not necessary for immediate payment of benefits shall be invested by the finance board, by any person or entity serving as an alternative thereto pursuant to § 15.2-1547, or by an investment manager who is serving as a trustee of the funds. All such funds shall be invested in accordance with the prudent person standard established by § 51.1-803 and such investments shall not be limited by Chapter 45 (§ 2.2-4500 et seq.) of Title 2.2.

2007, c. 710.