County of­fi­cials eye new po­si­tions

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NOTHWEST ARKANSAS - SCAR­LET SIMS

FAYET­TEVILLE — Jus­tices of the peace ap­proved a new hu­man re­sources direc­tor and an in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy po­si­tion for the Wash­ing­ton County Sher­iff’s Of­fice dur­ing the Per­son­nel Com­mit­tee on Mon­day.

The cost of the changes will be cov­ered by po­si­tions left va­cant and elim­i­nated within the depart­ment, said Blair Jo­han­son, man­age­ment con­sul­tant.

Sher­iff Tim Helder was able to re­or­ga­nize his depart­ment to in­crease ef­fi­ciency and cre­ate po­si­tions cost­ing the county noth­ing ex­tra, said Jus­tice of the Peace Lisa Ecke, a Repub­li­can rep­re­sent­ing south­east­ern Spring­dale. Jus­tices of the peace have said re­peat­edly they are wor­ried about the bud­get. Helder’s move is great for the county, Ecke said.

Wash­ing­ton County has a roughly $65 mil­lion bud­get with about a $5 mil­lion gap be­tween spend­ing and rev­enue. That gap doesn’t in­clude money left un­spent at the end of the year.

The un­ap­pro­pri­ated re­serve is about $6.3 mil­lion.

Helder said the po­si­tion changes at the Sher­iff ’s Of­fice may end up sav­ing money long term.

“This is re­ally just go­ing to help us be much more ef­fi­cient,” he said.

The Sher­iff ’ s Of­fice needs a com­puter ad­min­is­tra­tor to keep up with ad­vanc­ing tech­nol­ogy, Helder said. The com­mit­tee ap­proved the po­si­tion to start at $48,045.

The Sher­iff’s Of­fice also plans to hire a hu­man re­sources direc­tor to work in tan­dem with the county Hu­man Re­sources depart­ment. The Sher­iff’s Of­fice has more than 300 em­ploy­ees of the county’s roughly 606 full-time em­ploy­ees, and those em­ploy­ees have spe­cial needs, such as cer­ti­fi­ca­tions, train­ing, ex­ten­sive back­ground checks, over­time and 24-hour-seven-days-a-week op­er­a­tions, said Jay Cantrell, chief deputy.

The hu­man re­sources work­load has be­come too much for the one per­son han­dling it, Helder said.

The salary for the hu­man re­sources po­si­tion starts at $39,087, ac­cord­ing to records.

Six other po­si­tions de­scrip­tions, ti­tles or du­ties were changed or up­graded Mon­day. Those po­si­tions in­clude Ju­ve­nile Court of­fi­cers up­grades to ac­count for new cer­ti­fi­ca­tions. The change doesn’t im­pact salaries.

The com­mit­tee also ap­proved a part-time coun­selor-as­ses­sor for Drug Court paid for via a three-year grant.

The com­mit­tee also agreed to change the ti­tle of a po­si­tion to tech­nol­ogy direc­tor from IT man­ager. The start­ing salary was bumped to $54,000.

The top salary range had been about $52,000 pre­vi­ously.

The Quo­rum Court will con­sider adopt­ing the new po­si­tions and the elim­i­na­tion of po­si­tion dur­ing at the 6 p.m. Aug. 17 meet­ing.

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