RE: Advisory Opinion: N.C. Gen. Stat. § 150B-2(8a)(i); Rulemaking for Career Banding Classification of State Employees
In your letter of April 11, 2002, you ask our opinion regarding whether the career banding project which the Office of State Personnel plans to implement requires formal rules in order to be implemented.
You cite to G.S. 150B-2(8a)(i). This subsection defines the word “rule” as used in Chapter 150B, the Administrative Procedure Act, and specifically excludes from the definition of “rule” “[j]ob classification standards, job qualifications, and salaries established for positions under the jurisdiction of the State Personnel Commission.”
In construing the meaning of the words “job classification standards” and “salaries,” we have assumed that these words have their usual meaning. “ ‘Ordinary rules of grammar apply when ascertaining the meaning of a statute.’ Dunn v. Pacific Employers Ins. Co., 332 N.C. 129, 134, 418 S.E.2d 645, 648 (1992). ‘When the language of a statute is clear and unambiguous, there is no room for judicial construction, and the courts must give it its plain and definite meaning.’ Lemons v. Old Hickory Council, BSA, 322 N.C. 271, 276, 367 S.E.2d 655, 658 (1988).” Smith Chapel Baptist Church v. City of Durham, 350 N.C. 805, 811, 517 S.E.2d 874, 878 (1999).
As we understand career banding, this is a method by which certain classifications of positions will be grouped together for the purpose of establishing certain salary ranges for these groups. We understand that currently the classification of positions subject to the jurisdiction of Letter to Thomas H. Wright April 12, 2002 Page 2
the State Personnel Commission, and the salaries attached to those groups, are not the subject of any rules approved by the State Personnel Commission and adopted by the Office of State Personnel. It is our opinion that a mere change in the manner in which current classifications and salary ranges are assigned to various positions under the State Personnel Commission’s jurisdiction would likewise be exempted from the formal definition of “rule” under Chapter 150B.
We hope that the above has been helpful. If we can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to let us know.
Ann Reed Senior Deputy Attorney General
Lars F. Nance Special Deputy Attorney General
Valerie L. Bateman Assistant Attorney General