Crown Capital International Relations...

Crown Capital International Relations: Human/International Relations Director

Posted in the Business News Forum

Since: Feb 13

West Chicago, IL

#1 Feb 14, 2013
Holland —Members of the city of Holland’s Human Relations Commission and International Relations Commission have concerns about the proposal to eliminate the full-time human relations director position.

The position has been a hot topic since long-time Director Al Serrano retired Jan. 31. Human Relations Commissioner Maggi Rivera has spoken to city council twice about her concerns, saying she doesn’t understand how the city could approve other positions, such as the new downtown manager, but eliminate human relations.

The city council voted Wednesday to break up the duties between other city staff in the interim. Fair housing concerns will be handled by Community Development Coordinator Joel Dye, and tenant/landlord disputes will be addressed by Ourstreet Coordinator Sue Harder, who is bilingual, City Manager Ryan Cotton said.

Cotton will oversee equal employment opportunity questions. Harder would continue to handle tenant/landlord issues under the realignment proposal, Cotton said.

“This is an opportunity to do things different,” Cotton said.

The Human and International Relations commissions reviewed Cotton’s suggestions Thursday. He faced concerns about moving most of the functions from the city clerk/human relations offices in city hall to the Community and Neighborhood Services office. Other concerns included whether the city managers office could deal with Title VI and Equal Employment Opportunity issues and if transferring duties would be overburdening other city staff too much.

“It’s a fair question and a reasonable concern,” Cotton said of overburdening staff.

Councilman Myron Trethewey voiced a similar concern at the city council annual budget retreat, saying city staff have stepped up in the past few years but asked how long they could sustain the extra responsibilities.

There are three options with the position, Cotton said:

Replace Serrano with another full-time staff.
Put most of the responsibilities in the Community and Neighborhood Services department with Dye and Harder and supplement them with other staff, who are preferably bilingual.
Keep the human and international relations in the clerk’s office and hire one person for 12 hours per week to deal with international relations and a second for 24 hours per week to deal with human relations.

Keeping the jobs in the clerks office would allow those staff to assist in an office that sees a lot of traffic, especially people who want to register to vote.

Cotton’s suggestion of replacing the one position with two part-time posts could save the city $30,000, with those positions costing $44,754 compared to the $77,643 in salary and benefits earned by Serrano.

The issue will come before the city council for review at the Feb. 27 study session. Councilman Wayne Klomparens already has voiced his concern about not replacing Serrano with a full-timer. The city council will make a decision about the position at a regular meeting after that.

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