A divided Gloversville Common Council Tuesday night voted 4-3 to create the city’s first-ever human resources manager position with a projected annual salary of $55,0000 to $65,000.

The resolution was sponsored by 3rd Ward Councilwoman Betsy Batchelor and faced fierce opposition from 4th Ward Councilwoman Ellen Anadio, who lead the charge against the measure, objecting to the idea on several grounds.

Anadio said she had not seen Batchelor’s resolution until just prior to the meeting. That being said, she added that she would have been against the idea regardless of when she became aware of it.

“I don’t think the city needs it, and I don’t think we can afford it with the economy not looking so great now,” she said. “Supposedly this it to explain people their health insurance, stuff like that. [After talking to city officials, I’m hearing] they are overloaded with grant stuff they are working on, so I think maybe we need a part-time person to help with the grant work.”

Batchelor’s resolution authorizes Mayor Vince DeSantis to hire the human resources manager in consultation with the Common Council’s three-member personnel committee chaired by 6th Ward Councilman Wrandy Siarkowski. For 2022, the two other council members on the personnel committee are 5th Ward Councilman Jay Zarrelli and Batchelor.

According to the position’s job description, the person will work under Gloversville Finance Commissioner Tammie Weiterschan

Anadio, backed up by Zarrelli, proposed a motion to allow Weiterschan and Gloversville’s labor attorney Bryan Goldberger to join the personnel committee and the mayor in the process of hiring the new human resources manager, but the motion was defeated. Anadio then attempted to table the resolution, arguing that it was not ready for consideration by the council, but that motion was also defeated.

The resolution to create the position passed with support from Batchelor, 1st Ward Councilwoman Marcia Weiss, 2nd Ward Councilman Art Simonds and Siarkowski, while Anadio, Zarrelli and Councilman-at-large Wayne Peters voted against it.

Batchelor explained why she supported the creation of the new management position.

“A lot of the issues facing the council are personnel issues, and none of us has access to all of the information that employees need, especially new employees,” she said. “What this person [will do] is make sure that each member of each union has the right contract, that everybody has the right insurance, that everybody has proper training for all of those things you get trained for. A lot of it [right now] is falling on our commissioner of finance, and — especially with the [$10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant] — she’s got enough on her plate to need to do this. And, we’ve had grievances. People who have felt there was harassment, or whatever else, and it should not be handled by somebody that is part of another union or is just personnel themselves, and a lot of people just come in complain to whoever is available, and we need somebody who is a professional person who knows how to talk those situations down and make sure that everybody knows the rules and try to resolve things without grievances.”

The duties of the new position were explained in a document created by the Fulton County Personnel Department and are broken down into these percentages:

• 30% of the job’s time will be spent overseeing city staff compensation issues, managing personnel records, reviewing payroll, administering employee benefits and ensuring the confidentiality of human resources issues.

• 20% will be spent managing government regulations and labor law compliance, making sure employee paperwork is accurately completed and sent to the appropriate agency, as per regulations, and making sure all employee personnel files are properly maintained.

• 5% will be assisting with screening and interviewing job applicants, conducting new employee orientation, conducting staff training as needed and conducting exit interviews.

• 20% will be assisting directly in labor negotiations, developing bargaining proposals as requested by the city labor attorney, investigating employee concerns and complaints as requested by the mayor or city finance commissioner, and assisting department heads and the city’s labor attorney in disciplinary matters.

• 25% will be helping to develop the city’s employee handbook and reviewing and updating current practices and procedures.

After the meeting, Zarrelli said he isn’t necessarily against the creation of the position, but he agreed with Anadio that the resolution needed additional work.

“I like to see a finished product when it comes up for a vote, so I voted to table it to get it right,” he said. “You have to be able to get the attachment [with the job description] and the resolution in full, and we have to be able to look at it for at least a couple of days, and it wasn’t like that.”

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