Polk set to hire new human resource officer

Published 10:00 pm Monday, January 12, 2015

by Leah Justice


The Polk County Board of Commissioners approved by a 4-1 vote hiring a human resource officer to manage the county’s 161 full-time and 50 part-time employees.

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Commissioners met Jan. 5 and approved advertising for the position as well as a budget amendment to pay for the position from now until the new budget year begins on July 1.

County manager Marche Pittman reviewed a job description for the position as well as a target salary for the position based on 15 other counties in the state who have a human resource officer positions with 25,000 or less population. Pittman said those counties pay their human resource officers between $41,000 and $68,000 annually.

Commissioner Ray Gasperson was the sole vote against the hire, saying he has reservations right now. Gasperson said he looked at 14 counties in North Carolina with a population of 18,000 – 25,000. Gasperson said he called some of the counties and would like to see Polk County make sure it can afford the position and wait until the new budget year with a balanced budget before considering a new hire.

Gasperson said one county commissioner he spoke to told him they would like to have a human resource manager but have to live within their means.

Gasperson said some counties handle the human resource officer duties like Polk County does and split the duties between the county manager and the finance department.

“This board is going to do what it is going to do,” Gasperson said. “I’d like to see it as part of the budget process.”

Commissioner Michael Gage said Polk County should have hired a human resource officer last year.

“I think it will save us money in the long run and think the employees will appreciate it,” said Gage.

Gage also said Pittman likely spends half of his time doing human resources and Polk County needs to move forward.

Gapserson said he’s completed six years on the board of commissioners and has never seen a compelling need for the position.

Commissioner Shane Bradley said with his experience, it makes employees a lot happier if they have only one person to go to for those needs.

“I’m in favor of moving forward with it,” Bradley said.

Commissioner chair Tom Pack said when Pittman began giving commissioners daily reports it really brought to light how much time he spends on personnel issues.

“I think we need someone who specializes in that,” Pack said.

Pack said with Obamacare kicking in he thinks a human resource officer can help give Polk employees the best benefits.

The majority of commissioners approved advertising for the position as well as approving a budget amendment for $30,069 to take out of contingency and the manager’s discretion budgets to pay for the position for the next six months. The target salary, Pittman said, is $47,357 annually. Pittman said the $30,069 includes benefits for the next six months.

According to the job description, the education requirements for the position include a master’s degree in human resources, public administration, business administration or related human services field and three years of human resources or related work experience including supervisory or managerial work; or a bachelor’s degree in the same fields and five years of the same experience; or equivalent training and experience demonstrating knowledge and abilities.

Polk County in the past has handled human resource officer duties within another position, most recently the county manager and previously through the finance office and prior to that the county clerk.