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County reorganizes HR, cuts director job

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River Falls, 54022
Hudson Star Observer
715-386-9891 customer support
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

Under a plan endorsed by the County Board, St. Croix County will no longer have either a Human Resources Department or a personnel director.

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Instead a compensation/classification specialist will be hired, and human resource director responsibilities will be divided among Administrative Coordinator Chuck Whiting, Finance Director Michelle Pietrick and Corporation Counsel Greg Timmerman.

The compensation specialist won't be hired until mid-year and will be paid less than former Personnel Director Debra Kathan. But because a resignation agreement allows Kathan to receive her salary for most of the year, it's expected the department will overspend its 2006 budget by about $56,000.

Since Kathan's salary will no longer be in the 2007 budget, it's logical that human resources costs would be less next year.

"I'm not looking for significant savings, but I am looking for improved performance," said County Board Chairman Buck Malick as Finance Committee members discussed the change.

Before the County Board voted on the reorganization, Supervisor Daryl Standafer, who was chairman of the Personnel Committee, said the change is "an opportunity to have staff do what staff ought to do."

He said the advantage of reorganizing was "a perception that came more to the forefront" after, not before, Kathan's resignation.

But once the vacancy occurred, County Board members decided, "We really wanted more work-performers than administrators," said Standafer.

Under the new arrangement:

  • The assistant human resources director will report to the corporation counsel.
  • The human resources specialist will report to the finance director.
  • The compensation/classification specialist will report to the administrative coordinator.

    Standafer said the reorganization has been under discussion since January and there has been considerable dialogue among the committees involved.

    He said the new worker will do more technical work, including implementing work done by Springsted, the advisory group hired to revise the county's job description and classification plan.

    The Personnel Committee has been dissolved and most of its duties transferred to the Finance Committee. The chairman of the Finance Committee has the authority to appoint an ad hoc committee to handle negotiations with employee unions. That committee will be appointed only when it is needed and will disband when negotiations are completed.

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