History of the Human Resources Department
In October of 1985, Janice St. John was hired as Walworth County’s third Personnel
Director. At that time, the personnel department, as it was called, was responsible for
such things as providing staff support to the Personnel Committee, administering and
interpreting the personnel policy, conducting contractual negotiations with the County’s
bargaining units, administering equal opportunity and affirmative action policies,
administering payroll and administering and maintaining the fiscal records for all County
employee benefit programs.
Prior to 2001 each of the larger departments had payroll personnel embedded in each
department. Beginning in 2001 with the nursing home and continuing in 2003 with
Health & Human Services the Human Resources Department absorbed the duties, and in
some cases the personnel as well, of the larger departments’ payrolls.
2004 was a year of numerous changes. Effective June 21
of that year, the payroll
function was transferred to the Finance Department under the direction of the Finance
Director. The Payroll and Benefits Coordinator, HR Payroll Technician and Clerk III
were transferred to the Finance Department with the payroll function. (The Payroll &
Benefits Coordinator became the Payroll Coordinator, and the HR Payroll Technician
became the Finance Technician). The department name also changed from the Human
Resources Department to the Employee Relations Department.
In July of 2004, Deputy Corporation Counsel, Mari Nahn, assumed responsibility for
support of the Human Resources Committee (formerly the Personnel Committee) in
preparation for Janice St. John’s retirement. Later that year, Nahn assumed responsibility
for the balance of Employee Relations staff and functions.
In the spring of 2005, the newly created Employee Relations Department moved from
their offices in the Annex to the Corporation Counsel office at the new Judicial Center.
While the department was no longer responsible for payroll, it was responsible for
recruitment, orientation, benefits, performance, position changes, discipline and
retirement. The department also continued to be responsible for collective bargaining
agreement negotiations and administration, insurance plan renewals, changes and
budgeting, worker’s compensation
, organizational development and salary
Another change in the department was the creation of three employee relations specialist
positions. The three positions reported directly to the Deputy Corporation
Counsel/Director of Employee Relations. Each specialist was assigned specific County
departments. The specialists were responsible for handling any issues relating to
recruitment, employee benefits, discipline, performance and grievances in their assigned
departments. The department also consisted of a Recruiter, Leave Technician and
Compensation and Benefits Technician.