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Rockville Still Hunts For Solutions

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Published on: Thursday, March 28, 2013

By Holden Wilen

ROCKVILLE – The city is finally moving toward replacing its Human Resources Director and has hired The Mercer Group, Inc., to perform the search for a new chief human resources officer.

According to the company’s website, Mercer Group is an independent management consulting firm incorporated in Georgia.  

Jennifer Kimball, assistant city manager, said the company will perform the searches for new directors in the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks along with the Department of Information and Technology. The search will begin during the second week of April, she said. The city will pay $57,000 collectively to Mercer Group to perform the search for the three department director positions, Kimball said.

“They will start by learning more about the city and our needs, and then they will prepare an advertisement,” Kimball said.

There is no timeline yet for when the search will be completed because Mercer Group is still putting together a work plan, Kimball said, but there will be estimates by the second week of April.

The search for a new chief human resources officer comes months after completing an investigation into the city’s personnel policies and procedures. In response to employee complaints last year, the city hired an independent law firm, Saul Ewing, to do so.

According to Kimball, only three people have seen the report compiled by Saul Ewing: City Manager Barbara B. Matthews, City Attorney Debra Yerg Daniel and Senior Assistant City Attorney Cynthia Walters

The report, which cost the city $190,000, will not be released beyond those three people, Kimball said, in order to maintain the confidentiality promised to employees who chose to communicate with Saul Ewing. Kimball went on to say that Daniel has informed the city manager’s office that the report is not subject to release under the Maryland Public Information Act.

“Redaction (of names) is not appropriate in this instance,” Kimball said. “Any and all identifying information, which goes well beyond the names of the individuals interviewed, is not reasonably severable from the remaining information. As such the entire document is not disclosable.”

Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio said she has only seen a “short summary” of the report which was presented to the mayor and council in an executive session on Nov. 27, 2012.

Marcuccio said she would like to see the report, but she understands the privacy issues. However, she argues that an independent third party should look at the report because it is impossible to know whether or not the city manager’s or the city attorney’s offices are not releasing the reports because they received complaints.

Regardless of whether or not she ever sees the report, Marcuccio said the most important thing is for the city manager’s office use the report to make changes, but she has not seen anything happen yet.

“I would like to see action taking place,” Marcuccio said.

Reader Comments - 2 Total

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Posted By: Concerned On: 4/3/2013

Title: Taxpayers' Money Wasted

There is no justice. A year has passed and nothing has changed for City employees. Management still rules. Staff is still miserable. All the dirt has been swept under the carpet and it’s business as usual. The taxpayers wasted nearly $200,000 to give managers more power.
The investigation conducted by Saul Ewing was ordered by management and ONLY managers benefited from the taxpayers’ dollars. Think about it.
- The initial fee for Saul Ewing was $90,000, a contract extension was approved and the cost escalated to nearly $200,000. WHY?? Could it be that the interim report did not favor managers?
- Neither the scope of the Saul Ewing contract nor the investigative results/report is accessible. How convenient.
- How insane that the M&C cannot have access to any report they request. What else is being hidden from the M&C?
- Has anyone noticed the mass exodus of valuable employees? Years of knowledge walked out the door and lost forever.
- HR doesn’t exist for employees, but HR has to report to someone and “someone” allows HR to function without accountability or penalty.
- Updating the city’s personnel policies and procedures is intended to benefit management, not the employees.
City Hall should be renamed City Asylum. The remaining employees could retire on disability, allowing management to enhance their political power by hand picking their servants.

Posted By: Teddybeartwo On: 3/29/2013

Title: It is Time

Time for The Markooch to hang up her tights to dry and retire.


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