Nebraska Association
of Public Employees

DHHS Office Technician Sees Pay Raise After Grievance Filing

NAPE member Bette Westerfield is an Office Technician at the DHHS Intake Center in Omaha. When Bette received her 2021 performance evaluation in March 2022, she was rated unsatisfactory with a score of 2.9 out of 5. Bette did not believe this was correct, and reached out to her supervisor to resolve the issue. Her supervisor said she would work on getting it corrected, but never did. Bette then reached out to a NAPE steward who put her in touch with NAPE Staff in order to investigate and assist.

Upon review, we discovered many areas of concern on Bette’s evaluation. First, there were two goals in the evaluation that were left blank and unscored. Evaluations with blank or unscored sections do not comply with the approved evaluation system, and the change was never communicated with Bette as required by our contract. Additionally, several of the comments left in Bette’s evaluation indicated that she should have been scored higher than she actually was. Her supervisor left comments that Bette goes above and beyond the requirements of her job, yet she was only rated a 3, or “meets expectations” in these sections. Bette challenged these scores in accordance with our contract. 

In addition, the majority of Bette’s evaluation was very positive, with the exception of one single section being scored unsatisfactory. This section rated Bette’s accuracy in processing applications. The problem was, Bette was never notified at any point throughout 2021 that her accuracy was unsatisfactory, and the accuracy rating is not available for employees to view throughout the year. Bette had no idea until receiving her evaluation that improvements were needed. Our contract requires that performance feedback be provided to employees throughout the evaluation period.

With these violations in mind, NAPE Field Staff soon filed a grievance on Bette’s behalf, alleging multiple violations of our contact. After a hearing was held, DHHS agreed that Bette’s performance for 2021 was satisfactory. They changed her evaluation to reflect her satisfactory performance so Bette will receive her step increase this July.
If Bette had waited for her supervisor to fix the evaluation, it may never have been resolved. Luckily she reached out to her union and was able to ensure she receives her step increase in July. If you believe our contract may have been violated, contact us right away for assistance.

Nebraska Association of
Public Employees