In its aim to better serve its public employees, the Board of County Commissioners has endorsed a consolidation of internal services, which will result in transitioning two of its managerial staffers into new roles and the deletion of five positions, according to County Manager Erik Martin.
The reorganization will reportedly entail IT Services Director Steve Wohld taking on his new position as chief of internal services, while current Central Services Director Steve Walton will become the county’s new human resources and risk management director.
The goal, Martin said, is to streamline services by beefing up the human resources department for the benefit of the 550 to 600 individuals that comprise Lewis County personnel.
“Historically, we’ve had two people in HR. Workers need access to people who can explain their benefits to them,” he said.
Martin sees the HR unit as a central part of internal work environment, as it provides employees with the necessary assistance and advice pertaining to the interpretation of employment laws, employee relations, compensation and other functions.
The four positions that will reportedly be eliminated are: IT manager, HR administrator, risk administrator, central services director and emergency services director.
In the case of Steve Mansfield, who presently serves as the county’s emergency services director, Wohld confirmed that his position would not be filled once he retires later this year.
Furthermore, Wohld explained that under the new organizational configuration, emergency services would report directly to the Department of Public Works headed by Josh Metcalf.
Commissioner Edna Fund indicated that some dollars might be saved with the series of personnel moves, but she defined the endeavor as a revenue neutral reorganization as far as how it affects the budget.
“A study was conducted and it’s a more efficient way of getting work done and getting a better response rate,” she said.
When the changes are ultimately implemented, there will be eight departments that will operate under the supervision of the Board of County Commissioners, the county manager (Martin) and the Budget Manager Becky Butler. Those will consist of: HR/risk management, IT, facilities, Southwest Washington Fairgrounds, community development, public works, 911 services and public health and social services.