Voters to weigh benefits of $75,000 human resource allocation
Date: 5/2/2011May 2, 2011
By Chris Maza
Reminder Assistant Editor
EAST LONGMEADOW Residents will be asked at the Annual Town Meeting May 16 to vote whether to appropriate $75,000 for human resource consulting services for the town.
Selectman James Driscoll told Reminder Publications
that this in no way means the town is planning on employing a full-time human resources officer.
The town outsources its human resource services, he said, explaining that contractors bid for the opportunity when the town releases a request for proposals (RFP) annually.
"This is to pay a human resource contractor. It is a full-time resource, but it is not a full-time position. We don't offer benefits or anything like that," Driscoll said. "These services have saved the town money in a lot of areas and has helped us develop policies and procedures that we have never had before, which, in effect, is protecting us as a town from liabilities. In reality, we are a $55 million organization and it's scary that we haven't had these services until now."
Resident Neil Hawley, who was in attendance at the April 20 public hearing to discuss the consolidation of the police and fire departments' administrative duties, alleged the town was attempting to turn a part-time human resources position into a full-time position.
He questioned why the town was attempting to cut funds from public safety, while nearly doubling the human resource expenditure.
Driscoll said the assumption that the town was creating such a job title was completely false.
Maintaining that position on April 27, Driscoll explained that the Board of Selectmen asked the town to approve an expenditure of $40,000 for human resources at last year's Annual Town Meeting, which was approved by voters.
Driscoll said the Appropriations Committee and the Board of Selectmen later agreed the town would benefit from an expansion of the services that the human resources contractor K & D, Human Resources Contracting offered the town.
Warrant Article 3 went before the Special Town Meeting on Sept. 27, 2010, and called for the town to appropriate $65,000. That article was also approved by the town and awarded K & D a new contract for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 (FY11) on Dec. 23.
"When that happened, the contract for $40,000 stopped. From that contract, we only paid $23,000," Driscoll said. "We awarded a new contract on Dec. 23 , which is over on [June] 30. We've spent about $38,000 out of that $65,000. The total expenditure for fiscal year 2011 was about $60,000 and change."
He went on to say that the town, seeking a more long-term approach to human resources, included in FY11's RFP the option for companies to submit bids for 2012, as well. The board selected K & D.
Driscoll said the $75,000 allocated for human resources is not a guaranteed figure, describing it as a proposed dollar amount that the town is not to exceed.