The department may make awards to current or retired state employees who do any of the following:
Propose procedures or ideas which hereafter have been adopted and which will result in eliminating or reducing state expenditures or improving operations; provided, the proposals are placed in effect.
Perform special acts or special services in the public interest.
By their superior accomplishments, make exceptional contributions to the efficiency, economy or other improvement in the operations of the state government.
Awards for superior accomplishments shall be made in accordance with procedures and standards established by the department.
Any award made by the department under the provisions of this section may be paid from the appropriation available to the state agency affected by the award.
The director may adopt rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of this section, and may appoint merit award boards made up of state officers, employees, or citizens to consider employee proposals, special acts, special services, or superior accomplishments, and to make recommendations to the department as to the merits of the proposals, special acts, special services, or superior accomplishments, and whether or not the proposals, special acts, special services, or superior accomplishments justify an award.
Any award granted under the provisions of this section shall be limited to five thousand dollars ($5,000) unless a larger award is approved by concurrent resolution of the Legislature.
Any expenditures made or costs incurred heretofore or hereafter by the director for the purposes of this section may be paid from funds available for the support of the department.
This subdivision shall only apply to state employees in State Bargaining Unit 16. If the provisions of this section are in conflict with the provisions of a memorandum of understanding reached pursuant to Section 3517.5, the memorandum of understanding shall be controlling without further legislative action, except that if the provisions of the memorandum of understanding require the expenditure of funds, the provisions may not become effective unless approved by the Legislature in the annual Budget Act.