Neighborhood Council Grievance Page
Welcome to the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment’s Grievance Portal.
The Department is making changes to its Grievance Portal to provide Neighborhood Councils (NCs) and Stakeholders with appropriate expectations, guidelines and resolutions regarding Neighborhood Council Grievances. Each grievance is based on its conformity with the Neighborhood Council Grievance Ordinance (No. 183487) The Ordinance is codified in Section 22.818, Article 3 of Chapter 28 of the Los Angeles Administrative Code. The ordinance combined two processes previously in effect into one system to be administered by the Department. The ordinance also gives the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners
(Commission) with the option to declare one or more seats on the board vacant rather than decertify an entire Neighborhood Council. The Department is vested with the authority to form Regional Grievance Panels and to hear appeals based upon allegations of malfeasance.
The Grievance Portal was created to allow stakeholders or board members to file grievances against a Neighborhood Council board that they believe has failed to follow any of the following:
- “A bylaw or standing rule of the Neighborhood Council”
- “A section of the Los Angeles Administrative Code”
- “A section of the plan for the Citywide System of Neighborhood Councils”
- “An applicable policy of the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners”
- “A rule or regulation promulgated by the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment”
- “Any other City Code, executive directive, rule or regulation applicable to Neighborhood Councils”
Any Grievance alleging a violation relating to Neighborhood Council funding must be filed within 90 calendar days of the date the expenditure is made. All other grievances must be filed within 30 calendar days of the alleged occurrence.
What Happens After a Grievance is Filed?
Please see the flow chart of the Grievance Process at the bottom of this webpage
The Department will assess what aspects of your grievance fall within its purview and the gravity of said complaint. Grievances are intended to address only those Neighborhood Council Board actions that are in violation of the official rules and regulations that govern and apply to Neighborhood Councils. Examples include: Commission Minutes Policy, Code of Conduct Policy, Agenda Posting Policy. Disputes by stakeholders or board members who simply disagree with official actions taken by the Board or have complaints against individual Board Members are not considered grievable matters under the Grievance Ordinance.
The Department will examine the matter and give a reply within seven calendar days of submission. Certification of a grievance only affirms it meets the minimum threshold to advance to the next step and is not a certification f the merits of the grievance. Certified grievances filed by stakeholders (which includes board member filing against another board – not their own) are referred to the Neighborhood Council. Grievances filed by a board member against his or her own board will bypass consideration for a remedy by the impacted Neighborhood Council Board and be directed to a Regional Grievance Panel.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Grievances can only be filed against the Neighborhood Council body as a whole, not against an individual board member, and must be filed within 30 days from the date of the event giving rise to the grievance (90 calendar days for funding related matters). Many grievances are not certified by the Department because they fail to articulate what action the Board took in connection with the grievant’s allegations as expressed on the form. As an additional note, a Board’s inaction, or failure to take action, pursuant to a rule, policy, regulation eligible under the ordinance might be a grievable matter. We encourage you to review the Department’s determination letters on previous grievances to learn more.
What Happens if a Grievance is Not Certified by the Department?
If a grievance is not certified, the grievance will not be forwarded to the Neighborhood Council or Regional Grievance Panel and the matter will be closed. The grievant is normally notified by the Department via email.
The following are examples of allegations that are not considered grievances and would not be accepted:
- “An alleged violation of state or federal law;”
- “An allegation of wrongdoing by an individual member of a Neighborhood Council board or committee; or”
- “An allegation involving an action or inaction by a Neighborhood Council board or committee; (unless the action violates the aforementioned policies above) or”
- “A policy dispute or disagreement regarding the position of a Neighborhood Council board or committee.”
If the grievance is deemed to be valid (certified), by the Department, the grievance will be forwarded to the Neighborhood Council in question and the grievant will receive an email notification. Again, certification of a grievance only affirms it meets the minimum threshold to advance to the next step and is not a certification f the merits of the grievance.
Certified grievances filed by stakeholders are referred to the Neighborhood Council for resolution. This can include grievances filed by board members against board on which they do not serve (neighboring board, for example). The Neighborhood Council shall have 60 calendar days to resolve the grievance. If a Neighborhood Council fails to respond or take any actions towards the resolution of a grievance, the matter will be forwarded to a Regional Grievance Panel of Neighborhood Council members or stakeholders for final resolution. The Panel is assembled by the Department.
Certified grievances filed by board members against their own board are referred directly to a Regional Grievance Panel.
How does the Regional Grievance Panel Process Work?
Regional Grievance Panels shall have 21 days to resolve and make a final determination on grievances filed with a Regional Grievance Panel. Regional Grievance Panels cannot hear any matters that have not first been submitted to Neighborhood Councils for resolution; Regional Grievance Panels shall not hear matters that have not gone through a grievance process at the Neighborhood Council level, unless the Neighborhood Council has failed to respond or take any action on a grievance.
Appointment to a Regional Grievance Panel
Each Neighborhood Council may appoint one board member or stakeholder to serve on a pool of panelists eligible to sit on a Regional Grievance Panel. The Term of each panelist shall commence when the Neighborhood Council notifies the Department of the appointment and shall be valid until such time as the Neighborhood Council names a replacement. The Department, in its sole discretion, may reject or remove any panelist appointed by the Neighborhood Council and request the neighborhood Council to appoint a replacement panelist.