ADAMS – Through a state grant, Adams, North Adams and Williamstown are teaming up to share a human resources manager to manage employee relations for the three municipalities.
Jay Green, the city administrator of Adams who brought up the subject, said the three communities also had the option of engaging the services of a human resources consultant to manage the work.
The problem they are tackling is that none of the three communities has the money—or the workload—needed to hire a full-time human resources officer on their own.
But all three need someone to audit HR policies and practices and suggest changes to update personnel issues, adjust policies to systemic racism issues, create a standardized training program for new hires and standardize pay levels. The Director of Human Resources would be responsible for diversity, equity and inclusion policies and training programs.
“For each of us,” Green said, “there just isn’t enough work to justify a full-time employee with benefits. You don’t always need it, but when you need it, you really, really need it. In general, you definitely need someone to take care, manage and initiate HR policies and best practices. »
The $100,000 grant comes from the state Community Compact Program and expires after a year, during which time cities will try it out and decide if it works or if there needs to be a different approach.
Andrew Hogeland, chairman of the Williamstown Select Board, said he hopes the shared human resources manager can also improve the effectiveness of new hire search tactics and find a way to increase the diversity of the candidate pool.
To implement the program, Hogeland said, the money would be split three ways, with 54% going to North Adams, 28% to Adams and 26% to Williamstown.
The grant was awarded in early April and the three cities are working on developing a job description. Then the search for the right candidate will begin.
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Under the terms of the grant, after the first year, cities will continue the program for a second year at their own expense and evaluate the practice towards the end of the second year.
“With shared resources, we will be better able to meet the needs we have,” Hogeland said, noting that the city already shares services with other cities for land use planning, assessment and inspections. sanitary. “So this is another step in the same direction.”
Lisa Blackmer, North Adams City Council chair and business administrator for the Northern Berkshire School Union, said shared services in general are a good idea, but she worries the workload of one person to manage HR needs of these three municipalities cannot be too many.
“I know we need it, but sharing one could be a huge effort,” Blackmer said.