There is hereby continued an employee suggestion award program within the Department of Administration for employees of state government. Under this program cash or honorary awards may be made to state employees whose adopted suggestions will result in substantial savings or improvement in state operations.
There is hereby continued an employee suggestion award board which shall be composed of the secretary of administration or his or her designee, Governor's chief technology officer or his or her designee, the President of the Senate or his or her designee, the Speaker of the House of Delegates or his or her designee, two members of the House of Delegates from different political parties to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates, two members of the Senate from different political parties to be appointed by the President of the Senate, and the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources or his or her designee. The terms of the members of the board shall be consistent with the terms of the offices to which they have been elected or appointed.
It shall be the duty of the board to adopt rules governing its proceedings, to elect a chairman and secretary, to keep permanent and accurate records of its proceedings, to establish criteria for making awards, to adopt rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of this article, and to approve each award made.
In establishing criteria for making awards, the board may exclude certain levels of positions from participation in the program, but in no event shall:
(1) The following levels of management, within the spending unit where the adopted suggestion will result in substantial savings, be eligible to receive cash awards under the program:
(a) Governor's staff, departmental secretaries and their equivalent; and
(b) Assistant or deputy secretary, assistant to secretary, commissioner, assistant or deputy commissioner, major fiscal and administrative policy departmental staff or their equivalent.
(c) Director or division chief, including the division chief or director of a statewide program, and which includes a chief of a division supervising several service units or their equivalent.
(d) Assistant to director or division chief, section chief or head of major departmental function or their equivalent; and
(2) The following levels of management, not within the spending unit where the adopted suggestion will result in substantial savings, be eligible to receive cash awards under the program:
(a) Governor's staff, departmental secretaries and their equivalent;
(b) Assistant or deputy secretary, assistant to secretary, commissioner, assistant or deputy commissioner.
(a) The maximum cash award approved is limited to twenty percent of the first year's estimated savings, as established by the head of the affected spending unit, or $16,000, whichever is less. A cash award approved by the board shall be charged by the head of the affected spending unit against the appropriation item or items to which the estimated savings apply.
(b) Commencing December 2015, and every five years thereafter, the board shall submit a report to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance, including:
(1) Recommendations for the maximum award amount adjusted for inflation; and
(2) Any other information concerning the maximum award amount.
(c) After the board has made an award, the Governor may make one secondary award of up to twenty percent of the additional savings realized by implementing the suggestion in other state agencies, not to exceed $5,000. The Governor shall pay the secondary awards from funds appropriated by the Legislature for secondary awards.
The state shall become the sole owner of all suggestions accepted by the employee suggestion award board. The acceptance of a suggestion by the board shall constitute an agreement by the employee and the state that all claims pertaining to the suggestion, immediate and future, on the State of West Virginia are waived.