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Bettencourt Hires New City Human Resources Director

The mayor's office said Karen Budrow brings many years of experience in municipal administration to the job.

Mayor Ted Bettencourt's office announced Monday that Karen Budrow will be the city's Director of Human Resources.

Budrow fills the post formerly held by Heidi Henson, who left in August after 10 years with the city.

Budrow has spent 12 years as the Director of Human Resources and Administration in Chelsea, and prior to that served in similar roles in Methuen, Everett and Gloucester, where she lives.

“The city of Peabody will benefit greatly from Karen’s vast experience in municipal human resources,” Bettencourt said in a statement. “Karen comes to us with a stellar reputation as a skilled and capable professional.”

“I am particularly impressed by her eagerness to take on some of the new challenges which this position in Peabody will entail,” he added, alluding to his intentions to consolidate human resource departments between the city and schools.

By doing so, Bettencourt is effectively following through on years of talks among elected officials to consolidate some operations to reap savings and efficiencies.

Before he can do that, however, he needs approval from the School Committee to relinquish control of the district’s HR office and then support from the City Council for an increased salary for the director of the new centralized office.

Chief of Staff Chris Ryder said Monday afternoon that Bettencourt will be making those recommendations to the City Council and School Committee for a starting annual salary of $97,000 to head up the new office.

"The Mayor believes such a consolidation could save taxpayers up to $70,000 per year in salary and benefits in addition to streamlining operations and reducing administrative costs," Ryder said via email.

As a point of comparison, Henson earned $82,693 last year while former School Human Resources Director Louise Genualdo took home $69,010. Her job has been vacant since taking a similar post in Marblehead this summer.

Budrow is scheduled to begin work on Oct. 29.

Until then, Ryder, Finance Director Patricia Schaffer and Dr. Herb Levine, who is now a paid city consultant, will continue to share responsibilities in managing the Human Resources Department.

Saber Walsh October 02, 2012 at 01:54 PM
This makes total sense and it's about time. There's so much waste in government that could be re-directed to public safety and schools. I'm so glad to see this mayor taking the reins on this. IMHO, taxpayers in Massachusetts and in our surrounding communities have paid quite enough for Dr Levine's services over the years. He's really a pro. As soon as the new HR director arrives, we should have a really big party for his sendoff -- and then help him find another community.

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