Archive for Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Human Resources to remain county division

November 26, 2008

Leavenworth County commissioners are backing away from a proposal to disband the county’s Human Resources Department.

At their meeting Monday, Diane Collins, the county’s Human Resources director, delineated reasons to commissioners why the department was worth keeping.

There are currently three full-time employees in the department, but in January the office will shrink to two employees, the director’s title will change and pay will be reduced for the position. Plans are on the table in which the department itself would also be split up and moved to other county departments.

Collins said her department was already behind after one of the employees had an extended absence, and it would be difficult for only two people to do the job.

“You make this permanent situation and we’re not going to be able to keep up and that’s the bottom line,” Collins said.

Also at the meeting were County Clerk Linda Scheer and Janet Klasinski, deputy county clerk. Scheer explained that payroll was once done out of the Clerk’s Office but was transferred to Human Resources in 2004.

“That was to better service the employees of the county with no extra cost,” Scheer said. “I think it is more productive for that office if they were to stay together. I think it provides a better service for the county and the employees.”

Scheer’s comments elicited a question of who could back up the remaining employees if they were to go on vacation or something were to happen to them.

Heather Morgan, county administrator, said officials could develop a plan to train other county employees for such a case.

Another possibility discussed would be to automate the county’s payroll system. Commissioner J.C. Tellefson said it could cost $60,000 to start an automated system, but it may save the county money in the future.

Morgan said she has worked in other municipalities that started an automated payroll system, but it was about six months before the system was running smoothly.

There was a consensus that the office shouldn’t be disbanded, but the question of who would provide backup to the department employees and whether there should be a part-time employee added to the department’s staff was not determined.

In other business Monday, the commission:

• Unanimously voted to proclaim November as pulmonary hypertension awareness month.

• Met in executive session for 10 minutes to discuss personnel. No action was taken.

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