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City makes plans to move beyond investigation

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Published on: Thursday, December 06, 2012

By Daryl Buchanan

ROCKVILLE-  City leaders here say they are moving ahead on recommendations made by Saul Ewing after a nine-month long, $190,00 investigation and change could be on the horizon.

“We know what is wrong now, and we have to move forward and fix it,” Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio said.

Last week Saul Ewing formally presented their findings to the Mayor and Council after months of work collecting and combing through information from a number of City of Rockville employees. Following the inquiry Saul Ewing made the following recommendations that could improve the conditions within Rockville.

•    Affirmation from the human resources staff and from all City supervisors that all personnel information remain confidential

•    Purchase Human Resources Information Systems software to facilitate the tracking and monitoring of employee complaints, grievances, and evaluations

•    Clarify and refine the City’s employee performance evaluation policies and procedures, including the implementation of an electronic performance evaluation system

•    Update the City’s Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual

•    Improve training on the City’s personnel policies and procedures to ensure consistent interpretation and application across the organization

According to Councilmember Tom Moore the Mayor and Council have seen the recommendations, but the report from Saul Ewing is primarily for City Manager Barbara Burns Matthews to consider in any personnel matters and changes within the City.

“The Mayor and Council will make policy decisions and will consider appropriating money if she asks us to do so, but by and large, this has to do with personnel, and personnel matters are the City Manager’s responsibility,” said Moore.

Moore also said he was pleased with the investigation and its outcome. He also expects the recommendations made by Saul Ewing to be carefully scrutinized.

“I was pleased that the investigators, even after turning over every rock, discovered no illegal behavior on the part of City staff. They did find evidence that the City can use systemic reform of its HR policies and procedures, with better oversight and training,” said Moore.

“Every one of the law firm’s recommendations are carefully thought out and will be considered very carefully by the City Manager and, if appropriate, the Mayor and Council.”

There is no solid timetable on when the possible changes could be made, but Councilmember Mark Pierzchala expects some of them to be put in place in a matter of months. Among those includes a new hire and changes in policy.

“There is no formal timetable, but I expect the actionable items to be accomplished within some months. These mainly included a new Human Resources Director, changes to our policies and procedures, and new Human Resources software, along with their effective implantation,” said Pierzchala.

Pierzchala went on to say, “We just want it fixed, Matthews knows that, and we expect that she will do a great job.”

City Manager Barbara Burns Matthews says she supports the recommendations made by Saul Ewing. She also has a plan on how they will be put in place.

“Some of the recommendations are tied to the Human Resources Director and I want to hire our new Human Resources Director before I move ahead with putting those in place. I specifically held off on filling that position until I received the Saul Ewing report,” said Matthews.

“Any of the recommendations that may not require the input of our HR Director I will move on and put in place as quickly as possible.”

Matthews says she plans to begin the recruitment process for the Human Resources Director in January and expects the process to take some time.

According to the council members any policy and expenditures changes will be made public; however specific personnel matters will not be public information.

“Most of the next actions are in the hands of the City Manager, she knows that we want this resolved. Matthews has a Human Resources background and she knows how to fix the problems,” said Councilmember Pierzchala.

Reader Comments - 2 Total

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Posted By: Sara T On: 12/15/2012

Title: What a joke!

So thew city spends 190 THOUSAND DOLLARS and gets a recommendation to rewrite the HR manual. This goes down as one of the largest fleecing of taxpayers in the history of the city.
Matthews is nothing but a complete clone of the former city manager. Why are the supervisors still employed?
A better question is exactly what is the city hiding? It is clear to this reader that the duck and cover is supporting the statements made by the former employees.
Wake up Matthews this is not going away and continues to get worse everyday for the city.

Posted By: City staff... maybe not for long. On: 12/7/2012

Title: A sad joke and day for Rockville

So the city of Abuse and Lies spent $190,000 dollars to have the policy manual examined! I read the policy just on harassment and the city should be found GUILTY!
So much for Mathews seeing the issues and getting rid of the problem supervisors.
I now fear that my name is out for Jenny Kimbal and others to use against me for speaking out.
Thanks for nothing!


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