Personnel Committee - Feb. 1, 2018

Commission vice chair Hal Floyd talks about Personnel committee priorities while Chair Jennnifer Hulsey listens on. (Kevin Myrick/SJ)

Commission Vice Chair Hal Floyd still considers himself the new kid on the block when it comes to his time on the Polk County Commission. He’s been sitting, listening and learning during the past months all about how things operate.

Now he’s looking to make sure that not only is the county taking care of employees, but also have them understand accountability will be the cornerstone for ensuring taxpayer money is being used wisely.

Floyd’s first order of business was to hear from those in leadership how they believe the public perceives the county.

He got a mixed reaction. On the one hand, those like County Manager Matt Denton pointed out some of the public’s opinion on county operations was being based on what is happening at the Federal level, where political back and forth has been the order of the day for many decades.

County Clerk Dawn Turner also point out some of the public’s negative comments that are hard to overlook, like criticisms about specific road conditions or the Grady Road Landfill, as examples.

“I think we’re doing what we can at this point,” Turner said.

One addition to the conversation was assistant county manager Barry Akinson, who was rehired and just returned to his job last Thursday in time for meetings after resigning back in November for family reasons. He said after many years of experience working in local government, the biggest fight municipalities continue to fight is inefficiency and personalities.

We have a group and team of 250 people, but we have 250 people who perform customer service and interface differently,” Akinson said. “People are coming in here for specific reason, and how is dealt with either hits it out of the park or leaves a bad taste in their mouth.”

He also said local government will always struggle with the problem of also dealing with employees who see their jobs as only one set of responsibilities, when really they might have more or less than what is actually on their job description.

“Across the board we have to be accountable for everything we’re doing,” Akinson said.

Which drove home to several points Floyd presented about how he wanted to see the county’s personnel procedures work out moving forward. He explained that based on his past experience of working as an executive at TipTop, he found one of the top priorities of the organization was positive “personnel relations,” with the focus on serving employees just as much as serving taxpayers.

“It is all about our people and doing the right thing by them,” he said. “We’re here to serve.”

Among the items he wanted to address were the need to have more women involved in personnel elated disputes, noticing also the lack of a step of grievances getting to the human resources manager in the ordinance before coming before the committee.

Floyd also wants more clear and concise job descriptions for employees across all departments, but with employees and managers involved in the process together.

“Everyone has a position, everyone has a job description and a job to do. Taking aside the person, that job has to be respected,” Floyd said. “Respect the job, then respect for the person doing the job, then respect for that person.”

He additionally called for more employee evaluations, thorough documentation of employees records, and more training opportunities for those who have need in their positions.