Officials: HR director will save city in long run

OBSERVER Photo by Nicole Gugino Dunkirk Councilman-at-Large Andy Woloszyn cast the sole no vote to hire a human resource director Tuesday.

The human resources director will cost the city $60,000 annually, but that could be a drop in the bucket to what it will save the city, officials said.

Last year the Common Council approved a charter change to create the position and it was budgeted in the 2018 budget. Resolution 20 sought to follow up on those actions by hiring David Campola.

Third Ward Councilman Shaun Heenan and Fourth Ward Councilman Mike Civiletto were not on the board when the initial action was taken, but after hearing the reasoning from Mayor Willie Rosas, both spoke in favor of the position and person to fill it.

“Currently, I hate to say this, but the city is out of compliance with New York state and federal regulations. We’re mandated to provide certain trainings to our staff and board members. We’ve been out of compliance for many years, so the goal here is not only to bring the city into compliance, but to run that department efficiently,” Rosas explained, noting there is a full-time clerk, part-time personnel administrator and part-time executive assistant in the department, all of whom are unqualified for the director position.

City Attorney Richard Morrisroe said instead of considering only the cost, also consider the savings.

OBSERVER Photo by Nicole Gugino Common Council members voted 4-1 to hire a human resources director Tuesday. Pictured are First Ward Councilman Don Williams Jr., Second Ward Councilman Marty Bamonto, Third Ward Councilman Shaun Heenan and Fourth Ward Councilman Mike Civiletto, who all voted yes to the resolution.

“Having preventative medicine and having someone to steer the ship in terms of human resources issues, be it personnel discipline, trainings, or be it avoiding litigation down the line. The savings, the dollar figure on that is not one I can pinpoint and say x equals y but I can guarantee … we’re going to save some money,” he said.

The only council member to voice opposition was Councilman-at-Large Andy Woloszyn, who clarified that his opinion has nothing to do with Campola or employees of the personnel department.

“My concern with it is still he same one that I discussed with the mayor months ago when this first came up. My concern isn’t even necessarily the city’s fault, it’s a systemic issue. That issue is if we have a problem that we can’t get certain things done in the office, then we should fix the root of the problem instead of trying to add another layer on top of it to try to cover up the problem,” he said.

First Ward Councilman Don Williams Jr. used Woloszyn’s metaphor to express his support.

“I’m just thinking that the human resource director is kind of like the old stump grinder that gets rid of that root. I think that having a good, qualified HR director for the city will actually alleviate a lot of the problems and get to the core of the problems that the city’s had,” he said.

When the vote was taken, the resolution passed, 4-1.

“I understand his concerns, Rosas said. “We have had discussion on it and we pretty much agree on everything except one thing. I believe this is the root cause of the problems that we have and I believe very firmly that we, today, have begun to address those.”

Rosas said he is looking forward to working with Campola who has negotiated 30 union contracts before his retirement from ECR International. Campola will begin immediately and will not be paid benefits.

The Common Council began its meeting with a moment of silence for the late Jim Nichols.

“Jim Nichols was a friend to the city, served on as chair of the Harbor Commission and really cared a lot about the city of Dunkirk and I just wanted to make sure that his family knows that our prayers and thoughts are with them,” Rosas said.