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DE8602DF8EB9710C872582F70052375A Hearing Summary


Date Aug 15, 2018      
Location HCR 0112

Committee Discussion Facilitated by the Legislative Staff of Initial Drafting Concepts Regarding Human Resources Department Structure - Committee Discussion Only

10:22:19 AM  

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.

12:32:57 PM  

The meeting was called back to order.

Mr. FitzSimons and Mr. Barry resumed the discussion about HR department structure.  Mr. FitzSimons questioned the need for three employees, as recommended in the report and suggested that two employees might better reflect the workload.  He further suggested contracting out for a victim's advocate and various other support services.  He explained how the duties of the office could be divided, with the director or manager position faciltating the more formal complaint and resolution process while the other employee concentrates on the informal complaints, as well as education, outreach, training, and development.  Mr. FitzSimons also noted the office could take on more skills-based training such as emotional intelligence and team building. 


The committee discussed the work flow and the possibility of session-only hires.  The committee further discussed the benefits of having  employees of both genders in the new office or providing access to employees of both genders through contracted services.  

Mr. Barry answered questions about the new office being located within OLLS.  Mr. Barry noted that if HR office  is to stay wihtin OLLS, it would be advantageous for one of the attorneys to have employment or HR legal expertise.  


The chair acknowledged committee agreement about increasing the functions of the new HR office, but suggested revisiting the topic to determine staffing and other logistical concerns.  

Mr. Barry asked the committee about establishing an anonymous hotline.  The committee discussed the necessity of a hotline, anonymous complaints, duplication of services, financial concerns, and convenience.  

Mr. Barry next raised the issue of  the independent Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Advisory Panel to oversee investigations for complaints against members.  The committee discussed its necessity, including whether the panel would add another unecessary layer or be a neutral panel to help de-politicize the process.