Commission discusses HR officer position

During their regular meeting in Virginia City on Tuesday Madison County Commissioners took a wide variety of public commentary on the recently-vacated county human resource officer position.

Nearly a dozen individuals and department heads from around the county filled the Broadway Annex conference room to give input on what they saw as the needs of the county. Some questioned whether or not the position was warranted, suggesting that individual department heads were sufficiently qualified to deal with issues related to the job duties of their fellow employees. Others said their departments might benefit from a more specialized Human Resources Officer to act as a supportive resource and team building entity.

Commissioner Dave Schulz encouraged those in attendance to share their perspective on the issue in order to determine what people really want from a HR officer.

“In two years we’ve experienced the presence of three HR people and we’ve certainly brought together some interests and concerns about what’s going on and if it’s the right approach,” he said.

County attorney Chris Christensen said that it is important to maintain an efficient chain of command when dealing with human resource issues.

“The department heads have to know what their job duty is and not try to pass it on to the HR person because it’s a difficult decision they have to make,” he said. “Employees need to know that they’ve got to report their grievance to the department head, not go around to report to somebody else.”

Commissioner Dan Happel added that accountability is a critical factor in resolving human resource issues.

“If we try to scatter it where every department head has their own ability to control the HR process than we are going to have problems,” he said. “Whether its part time or full time, we’ve got to have one person that’s accountable in that position.”

After nearly an hour of back and forth discussion between the board and members of the public Schulz requested that the issue be tabled and brought up at a later date in consideration of the volume of commentary taken by administrative assistant Laurie Buyan.

In other news the board approved a draft resolution for commission district reapportionment with attachments of a map and legal description. The legal description of the changes to the districts must be finalized before the resolution is presented to District Judge Loren Tucker for final approval.

The board also met with Madison County Sanitarian Ralph Hamler to review a memo of understanding with the Big Hole River Watershed Committee in support of a mapping project of the approximate floodplain boundary.

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