This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Law Enforcement Labor Services, Inc., et al.,
County of Cook,
Filed September 7, 1999
Cook County District Court
File No. C1-97-211
Marylee A. Abrams, Law Enforcement Labor Services, 373 Selby Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55102 (for appellants)
William J. Hennessy, Cook County Attorney, Courthouse, P.O. Box 1150, Grand Marais, MN 55604 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Harten, Presiding Judge, Toussaint, Chief Judge, and Parker, Judge.[*]
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant challenges a district court judgment declaring that respondent Cook County’s imposition of a 38-mile area response time requirement for sheriff’s deputies is an inherent managerial right and therefore not negotiable. Appellant claims that the requirement is a term and condition of employment, which must be negotiated before it can take effect. Because we conclude that the area response time requirement is not severable from the terms and conditions of employment, and because the legislature has specifically allowed such a requirement, we affirm.
On September 23, 1997, respondent Cook County (County) adopted a residency requirement for its sheriff deputies. Appellant Law Enforcement Legal Services brought a declaratory action and moved for summary judgment, asserting that the requirement violated Minn. Stat. § 415.16 (1996) (providing that a county may not enact a residency requirement). The district court denied appellant’s summary judgment motion, and appellant filed for discretionary review in this court. Because County rescinded the residency requirement, thereby mooting the appellate issue, we denied review by order opinion. Law Enforcement Labor Servs., Inc. v. County of Cook, C4-98-411 (Minn. App. Mar. 24, 1998).
County then adopted an area response time policy, requiring deputies to reside within 38 miles of the Sheriff’s Department in Grand Marais. County claims the requirement provides for a 90 minute response to an emergency between any two points within the county.
Appellant challenged the area response time policy and moved for summary judgment, arguing that the policy is a term and condition of employment to be decided through the collective bargaining process under Minn. Stat. § 179A.07, subd. 2 (1998) (Public Employment Labor Relations Act (PELRA)). The district court denied the motion, and appellant again petitioned this court for discretionary review. We denied review because the issue was not of broad application appropriate for immediate review. Law Enforcement Labor Servs., Inc. v. County of Cook, CX-98-2017 (Minn. App. Nov. 17, 1998). The district court subsequently ordered judgment for County. This appeal followed.
D E C I S I O N
In cases involving the interpretation of Minn. Stat. § 179A.07, subd. 2 (1998), the district court's findings of fact will not be set aside unless clearly erroneous, but questions of law are fully reviewable by this court. AFSCME, Council No. 14 v. City of St. Paul, 533 N.W.2d 623, 626 (Minn. App. 1995).
A public employer is not required to meet and negotiate on matters of inherent managerial policy. Matters of inherent managerial policy include, but are not limited to, such areas of discretion or policy as the functions and programs of the employer, its overall budget, utilization of technology, the organizational structure, selection of personnel, and direction and the number of personnel. * * *.
A public employer has an obligation to meet and negotiate in good faith * * * regarding * * * the terms and conditions of employment * * *.
Minn. Stat. § 179A.07, subds. 1, 2(a). "Terms and conditions of employment" are defined as
the hours of employment, the compensation therefor including fringe benefits except retirement contributions or benefits other than employer payment of, or contributions to, premiums for group insurance coverage of retired employees or severance pay, and the employer's personnel policies affecting the working conditions of the employees.
Minn. Stat. § 179A.03, subd. 19 (1998).
Appellant argues that the district court erred in finding that the area response time requirement is a matter of inherent management policy, which is not subject to collective bargaining, rather than a term or condition of employment, which is subject to collective bargaining.
Whether an area response time requirement is a managerial policy or a term or condition of employment is an issue of first impression. Generally, the statutory mandate of PELRA is construed broadly, unless it involves an inherent managerial policy. Law Enforcement Labor Servs., Inc. v. County of Hennepin, 449 N.W.2d 725, 727 (Minn. 1990). The distinction between managerial policy and terms and conditions of employment is far from distinct and the two often overlap. University Educ. Ass’n v. Board of Regents, 353 N.W.2d 534, 539 (Minn.1984). When this occurs, and
where the policy decision and its implementation are so inextricably intertwined that negotiation of one would be tantamount to negotiation of the other, the policy decision is not subject to mandatory bargaining. If, however, the establishment of a policy and [its] implementation * * * are severable, then the implementation * * * is subject to mandatory bargaining with respect to the direct effect of the policy on the terms and conditions of employment -- but only to the extent that negotiation is not likely to hamper the employer’s direction of its function and objectives.
City of West St. Paul v. Law Enforcement Labor Servs., Inc., 481 N.W.2d 31, 34 (Minn. 1992).
The district court found that the area response time requirement was a "policy," and noted that "the decision to adopt a policy is not negotiable or bargainable under PELRA." The district court also found that although implementation of the policy might be a term or condition of employment, that implementation was so "intrinsically interwoven" with the policy itself that the policy could not be negotiated. Appellant agrees that the area response time requirement is a policy, but argues its implementation is "severable" and is therefore a term or condition of employment.
The legislature has provided that
[a] statutory or home rule charter city or county * * * may impose a reasonable area or response time residency requirement if there is a demonstrated, job-related necessity.
Minn. Stat. § 415.16, subd. 2 (1998).
We note that, except for two affidavits, the parties furnished very little evidence to the district court. They provided no evidence that the policy is not reasonable or not a job-related necessity. Evidence of the impact of the policy on the terms and conditions of employment was limited to the affidavit of one deputy who would like to move out of the 38-mile zone. Moreover, there was no evidence to show what elements of implementation, if any, are severable from the policy itself. On this limited evidence we conclude that the area response time requirement is a policy.
If appellant is allowed to negotiate this policy, it would hamper the employer’s policy of ensuring a "reasonable area or response time residency requirement," specifically allowed by the statute. Id. Moreover, negotiation of the policy’s terms and conditions would be tantamount to negotiating the area response time requirement itself. Law Enforcement Labor Servs., 449 N.W.2d at 727. We agree with the district court that the policy is so "intrinsically interwoven" that the area response time requirement cannot be negotiated. West St. Paul, 481 N.W.2d at 34.
In summary, because the area response time requirement is a policy specifically permitted by the legislature, and because it is so intertwined with the terms and conditions of employment that severing the terms and conditions for negotiation would inevitably involve negotiation of the policy itself, we conclude that the area response time requirement is not negotiable.
Affirmed.[*] Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.
 Several cases from other jurisdictions have found that a residency requirement is a term or condition of employment. See, e.g., City of Chester v. Fraternal Order of Police, 615 A.2d 893, 896 (Pa. 1992) ("residency requirements have traditionally been considered as a term or condition of employment"), but no case has specifically analyzed an area response time requirement.