Ben FitzSimons, Legislative Human Resources Administrator, and Jerry Barry, Office of Legislative Legal Services (OLLS), facilitated a discussion about human resources department structure. They referenced a list of questions that members received prior to the meeting (Attachment J). Mr. Barry stated that he would compile a list of agreed upon items and draft policy recommendations for committee review at an upcoming meeting.
Mr. Barry began the discussion by asking what HR functions should be handled by the new agency or department. The committee discussed if the office should include traditional HR functions such as personnel, pay, and benefits. They also discussed who is performing these functions now and if any changes are neeeded. Mr. FitzSimons commented that core HR functions could be combined, but focus may need to be on the area of employee relations including employee engagement, retention, handbook revisions, responses to claims, and training.
The committee discussed training and agreed that mandatory sexual harassment training should be provided at new legislator orientation, as well as at other times during the year. The committee discussed what should be included in the training and touched on such topics as bystander training, workplace culture, and emotional intelligence. Varying the trainings for the different types of employees (such as aides, interns, legislators, and non-partisan staff) was also mentioned. The committee agreed about providing more comprehensive trainings and that HR personnel should conduct them.
The committee next talked about where the HR office should be housed, both organizationally and physically. The committee discussed that Mr. FitzSimons is currently located in OLLS and agreed that this is a good fit in terms of organizational structure and the assumption of confidentiality. The committee discussed the need for confidential work spaces and exploring the availability of office space within the Capitol and at 1525 Sherman Street.
The committee returned to the discussion about HR scope and jurisdiction and recommended that the more traditional components of HR not be part of this office. Rather, the committee suggested that the new HR office handle the invesigation of complaints and policy violations, determine remedial and protective measures, cultivate workplace respect, and conduct trainings in addition to other employee relation duties.
The committee stood in recess.