WALLA WALLA — A $27,000 plan to hire a firm to recruit a new human resources director failed to pass Council by a vote of 3-3.
At Wednesday’s Council meeting, City Manager Nabiel Shawa reported that he is currently looking to replace the human resources position that was previously held by Jennifer Seekamp, who recently took a position in the Portland area.
Shawa said the recruiting and hiring period was estimated at four months, during which time the city would save $34,281 because it would not be paying salary and benefits for its human resources director.
Shawa went on to state that the savings could be used to pay the $27,000 recruiting fee by Bob Murray & Associates and leave the city with a balance of $7,281.
Shawa also noted that the city’s current lack of a human resources director adds to the need to outsource recruitment, as that department is currently understaffed without a director.
Council members Mary Lou Jenkins, Shane Laib and Chris Plucker voted against hiring the recruiting firm, while Mayor Jim Barrow and Council members Barbara Clark and Jerry Cummins were in favor of the expense.
“One of the important factors of the quality of life here in Walla Walla is the quality of employees,” Clark said. “In this case we have the funding to pay for this without taking out a loan or going out of pocket. I think this is something that makes sense to do.”
“I don’t feel like we need a consultant to help us do this,” Plucker objected. “I know this is going to create a little more work, but I don’t think it is worth it, and it will look like another wasted $27,000.”
Alfred Diaz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8325.