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Effective HR director in county is necessary

DEAR EDITOR:

Our Trumbull County commissioners have a human resource director who, by stories in the Tribune Chronicle, appears to have difficulty managing employee relations.

What has our director done to help establish job descriptions, evaluate employee performance, resolve employee conflict, handle employee complaints, handle emotional behavior in discussions, avert discrimination problems, document disciplinary action and effectively terminate an employee?

We have several employees, including our HR director, who have apparently not received good human resource assistance at work and so have found it necessary to seek human resource assistance from outside agencies. It’s like a restaurant chef hiring a cook from another restaurant to prepare food. We should keep the cook and fire the chef.

Our commissioners chose to hire outside counsel, which county taxpayers pay for, and keep the director, whom we pay $93,600 per year.

What does our director do all day? By his own admission, he spent 20 work hours on the cat issue. Even if true, what professional would publicly admit that? So, ask yourself, what were his reasons for doing so? A director should be able to enforce a posted rule quickly and efficiently.

From published stories, one of our employees worked 17 years without having a performance review or a review of her job description. Where has HR been? Our HR fix when this employee resigned was to offer her a 13 percent raise. This would result in a clerical position working 32.5 hours per week making $81,432 per year.

Do you think our director is on top of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Ohio payroll law? By the FLSA our director, an exempt employee, is not entitled to overtime, while nonexempt employees are. Another recent story relates that the director was suspended without pay on two occasions. Per Ohio law, you cannot treat an employee as an exempt employee in one pay period and then as a nonexempt employee in the following pay period. An employee is classified as either one or the other, but never both. If an exempt employee, like our director, works any time during a pay period and the employer suspends the employee without pay, then the employer may be treating that employee as a nonexempt employee. This cannot be done. The penalty for doing so may entitle the affected employee to be considered as a nonexempt employee. The employer would have to pay overtime for the entire period of employment going backwards to the date of hire and forward to the employee’s last day of work.

Do we believe our director provided good human resource counsel to the commissioners regarding his own suspension?

BILL LICHT

Cortland

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