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Mayor & Council (View All)

City Council Study Session Minutes

Thursday, October 16, 2014

City Council Study Session Minutes
October 16, 2014
The meeting was called to order at 6:02 p.m. in the Medford Room, City Hall, 411 W. 8th Street, Medford with the following members present:
City Manager Eric Swanson; Deputy City Manager Bill Hoke; Deputy City Attorney Lori Cooper; Finance Director Alison Chan; Deputy City Recorder Karen Spoonts
Acting Mayor Daniel Bunn; Councilmembers Chris Corcoran, Tim Jackle, Dick Gordon, Eli Matthews, John Michaels, Bob Strosser
Human Resource (HR) Update – Human Resource Director Mike Snyder
City Manager Eric Swanson stated that this is HR Director Mike Snyder’s opportunity to expose us to new ideas and appreciated that he was able to get a new evaluation form in as well.
Mr. Snyder noted that he has been with the City for 10 months; one of the things he discovered within the HR Department was that they were a maintenance department although the picture given was a progressive HR Department. He stated that he tends to be aggressive with respect to this and overloads himself. The small HR staff was rather overloaded and he thought Medford deserved more than that.  Mr. Snyder noted that he is looking for help to do this. He provided information on HR responsibilities and those who work within the department. He also discussed projects, such as performance management.
Councilmember Jackle questioned how the previous evaluation form was a hindrance; Mr. Snyder talked about performance evaluations and the success of doing them. Those processes are written for supervisors who tend to give high marks because they don’t want to have an employee complaining about a lower mark. The evaluation can come back to bite you because there was nothing negative about the employee. Where he was at they liked the program but there was no accountability; supervisors and employees must work together. They need to manage performance as it occurs. He noted that employees are a huge investment.
Councilmember Michaels noted there was a move to show where you needed improvement and questioned do we still have that. Mr. Snyder noted that this is a living and breathing project and we are working with Wendy Brown of Organization Systems International (OSI) on issues such as that. The next portion will be development.  
Mr. Snyder went on to say that another project in the works is the classification plan. Ms. Brown provided information on her team who will be working on these projects; these projects should be completed by the end of this year. She is also creating a manual for future job descriptions.
Councilmember Gordon noted that the previous HR director took a lot of attorney time; Mr. Snyder noted that he will do things differently. Councilmember Gordon thanked him as it would save the city a lot of money.
Mr. Snyder spoke about other projects, such as recruitment and selection, and that the HR Department is continuously engaged.
Councilmember Corcoran questioned how many full time employees there are; Mr. Snyder noted we have over 400. Councilmember Corcoran questioned about claims; Mr. Snyder was unsure of those statistics but more than 10% of the employees are protected.
Councilmember Michaels questioned regarding diversification; Mr. Snyder noted that we are broadening out and working with the Spanish magazine; females in the Fire Department were also discussed.
Mr. Snyder requested an Executive Assistant effective January 1, 2015. He found it somewhat burdensome not to have one. Funding would come out of vacancy savings in the General Fund.
Councilmember Corcoran questioned if that vacancy savings comes from other departments or HR; Finance Director Alison Chan noted that it does come from the General Fund. Mr. Snyder noted that we are serving every department within the agency. Councilmember Corcoran questioned if the funding for the consultant comes from his budget; staff noted that part came from another area. Ms. Brown’s portion was about $40,000 including expenses. Ms. Chan noted that it was Finance Department. Funding coming from the Fire Department was also discussed.
Councilmember Jackle questioned the salary; staff noted it would be about 40% less than shown as the numbers given includes all benefits.  
Councilmember Gordon noted that the next budget cycle will be extremely tight and this permanent position will need to stand up with all other positions requested. Councilmember Matthews agreed that we should discuss this during the budget cycle for a full time position.
Ms. Chan noted there will be a transfer for the $33,000 which will come before council at an upcoming council meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 6:55 p.m.
Karen M. Spoonts
Deputy City Recorder

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