Mayor hires 1st human resources manager

By Sara Bruestle | Aug 27, 2014
Julie Good

Mukilteo’s first-ever human resources manager keeps her door open.

Julie Good likes to encourage open communication, such as suggestions, concerns and criticisms about matters of importance to employees.

“Everyone is welcome,” said Good, a certified human resources professional. “I have an open door policy, so anyone can come in and talk at any time.”

Good started work on Aug. 1 in the new position. The city has never before had an HR manager.

Historically, human resources work had been managed by the city administrator and carried out by the executive assistant.

However, Mayor Jennifer Gregerson restructured her administration to hire a manager with the right background and training to do the job.

She found it odd that Mukilteo has more than 110 employees, yet no human resources professional. She said city employees deserve to have one.

“Our people are the biggest line item in the budget, if you think of salaries and benefits,” Gregerson said. “We need to take care of the people who take care of us.

“We need to make sure we’re doing things the right way, tie up risk and liability, and deliver services effectively and efficiently.”

Gregerson said she’s added an HR manager without increasing upper management salaries’ bottom line.

She did so by replacing the city administrator and assistant to the city administrator positions. The replacement jobs – management services director and policy analyst, respectively – have lower starting salaries.

Gregerson said Good was by far the most qualified for the job.

“She has just the right background,” Gregerson said. “She was basically doing the same work at Arlington, just with a different title. Arlington has a similar size of city and number of employees.

“It seemed like her demeanor and style would fit that role well.”

Gregerson hired two consultants with Prothman Co. to assess the city’s human resources needs. The consultants recommended she add the new position.

The City Council approved the job description on May 5.

The city received 15 applications. A Prothman consultant narrowed candidates down to four, who were then interviewed by a panel of three city employees plus the consultant.

Gregerson and Interim Management Services Director Rex Caldwell interviewed the top candidates and agreed to offer Good the job.

“Julie was the only one recommended by the interview panel,” Gregerson said.

As human resources manager, Good will develop employee practices, coordinate hiring processes, and assist the city’s management and supervisory staff. She’ll also serve as a consultant in training, career development, employee relations and legal compliance. The full-time position pays $80,600 a year.

Good said the mayor has set a list of priorities for her in her new job.

Right now, she’s working to update policies and procedures, increase staff training, set up employee evaluations and improve interpersonal relationships.

“It’s really giving employees the tools they need to do their jobs better,” Good said. “It’s easier to do your job when you know what is expected of you.”

Since they’ve never had an HR manager, Good is also letting employees know what human resources is and what services will be available to them.

Good said she’s happy to be at City Hall to help employees with all things HR, services she said hadn’t been receiving the attention they need.

“There was someone working hard trying to fill that role, but also fulfill their own job,” she said. The HR was tacked on. Someone was doing their best to do that, but it’s a hard job to add as an additional duty.

“It’s a primary duty that needs to be focused on.”

She said she became a human resources professional because of a desire to help employees get the most out of their jobs.

“We spend so much time at work [that] it’s crucial to enjoy what you do and have good relationships with the people you work with,” Good said.

Good was Arlington’s human resources analyst for six years. For two years, she worked in police records for the Arlington Police Department.

She was also a paralegal/legal assistant for law firms in Everett, Seattle and Bellevue for a total of nine years.

A U.S. Army veteran, she holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration from Columbia College and a professional in human resources certificate from the Society of Human Resource Management.

Good summed up how her new job is going in one word: “Terrific.”

Gregerson agreed.

“The response from city employees has been great,” she said. “They look forward to having professional support and a resource.

“That makes me feel like we’re doing something right.”

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