City personnel director Diane Ferguson will be retiring.
At the Tuesday, July 10, meeting of the City Council, Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu said with Ferguson’s departure, the position will be reevaluated.
Zoppo-Sassu explained that as part of her efficiency initiative, “any time a position becomes vacant” the city will review the job description, functionality of the position, and begin to decide “whether the duties can be split up amongst other existing positions,” in order to ensure that “city government is operating at peak efficiency and that all of our resources are directed to the delivery of effective city services.”
“That is not a position that we’ll be evaluating for elimination, but we may tweak the job description which hasn’t been changed in 14 years,” said Zoppo-Sassu. “There are little tweaks that I might make to the job description, but other than that I think it’ll just be a regularly, publicly advertised solicitation for qualified candidates, and we’re going to do that [advertising], I’d say, within the next couple of weeks.”
The mayor did say that one aspect of the job that would be changed would be the name. Instead of the position being called the personnel director, Zoppo-Sassu believes “human resources director” is a more apt description of the position.
Zoppo-Sassu did not know whether the possible creation of a personal advisory committee had anything to do with Ferguson’s retirement, but believes that committee will “provide guidance” in situations such as what occurred in the former administration, where “the personnel director, who really was in an untenable situation last year, where she was put in a position of having to evaluate the behavior of the mayor, who she reports to.”
Former mayor Ken Cockayne was accused of sexual harassment in two separate occasions—one involving a city employee and another involving a councilor— before he lost to Zoppo-Sassu in last November’s election.
Zoppo said Ferguson has served the city for 22 years. Initially, she was hired as a personnel analyst, and worked her way up to the role of personnel director, said Zoppo-Sassu.
“I wish her well in pursuing new opportunities,” said Zoppo-Sassu.
Until a new personnel director is hired, Zoppo-Sassu said the assistant personnel director, Linda Milia, and the personnel department will continue to function in a “business as usual” capacity.