Scituate, Marshfield, and Norwell are seeking to hire a Human Resources Director with grant money provided by the Patrick-Murray Administration’ s Community Innovation Challenge Grant.
Even though the funding, a requested $150,000, would only be available for a year, it would go a long way for all three towns, administrators said, and would set in place policies and job descriptions that are lacking currently.
“When that person comes on board, they will help us just by their existence and providing the service,” said Marshfield Town Manager Rocco Longo. “From my understanding…80 percent of the litigation of the towns is personnel related. So this position is significant to us. When I got here, there wasn’t anybody to answer questions about family medical leave or protective classes; the three administrators realize how it is. We’re dealing with difficult times, and this is a breath of fresh air.”
According to the job description, the position would form administrative work for the Town Administrators in planning, implementing, and operating projects and programs, including personnel, job postings, job descriptions updates, salary surveys, policy development and assistance in general employee relations programs and policies development and delivery.
The new person would conduct an HR Audit of each town to look over the deficiencies of each town and begin making changes.
The needs differ from town to town, with Scituate requesting the need for personnel policies for non-union staff and an employee handbook and with Marshfield citing the need for a centralized appointment authority and an updated personnel bylaw.
Norwell Town Administrator James Boudreau was not available for comment.
Although not decided yet, Longo envisions the position’s time to be split equally amongst the three towns, perhaps with the HR person spending two days in Marshfield, two days in Scituate, and one in Norwell each week.
The towns would eventually split the cost, with Marshfield and Scituate paying $60,000 a piece and Norwell paying $30,000.
In addition to helping the towns catch up on HR aspects currently lacking in all three departments, the position will also help the officials see if regionalization of a position like this is possible in the long term.
“Maybe we don’t need three personnel directors. Maybe it will work with just one…but I think it’s critical,” Longo said. “It will be a learning experience and we can learn from each other as well.”
According to Scituate Town Administrator Patricia Vinchesi, if the grant was received, it would be a priority to continue it going forward.
As for working with the two other towns on the project, Scituate sees no concern about how they might divvy up the position.
“I don’t see it as an impediment,” Vinchesi said. “These are incredible economies of scale and [it would be] a benefit to communities that have to provide the same services.”
The grant has $4 million eligible to communities, and will be given to towns that demonstrate creativity in regionalizing their municipal service needs.
Longo hopes that the tri-town aspect of the job will make the three towns more competitive in the process, but nothing will be for sure until the results are released at the end of this month.
To view the entire application, click here.