Tuesday, April 3, 2007

More On What Constitute a "Reasonable" Local Rule

Further thoughts on City and County of San Francisco (PERB Dec. No. 1890M):

The Board held that when the reasonableness of a local rule is at issue, the burden to demonstrate that the rule is "unreasonable" falls on the party attacking the rule. On this point, the Board held that:

"Where a legislative action by a local governmental agency is attacked as unreasonable, the burden of proof is on the attacking party. Such regulations are presumed to be reasonable in the absence of proof to the contrary."

How strong that presumption is remains to be seen. As mentioned below, there are many situations where local rules differ from the "default" local rules provided by PERB regulations. For example, PERB regulations generally provide a 3-year contract bar. Many local agencies impose contract bars greater than 3 years. Presumably, PERB could not hold that any local rule providing a contract bar greater than 3 years is unreasonable. However, how much deference will PERB provide? Hopefully, this decision indicates that PERB will provide great deference to local agencies.