Mayor Ted Bettencourt is looking for a new human resources director for the city while also having an eye to consolidating the personnel offices at and the .
Heidi Henson, who spent 10 years on the job and was first appointed by former Mayor Michael Bonfanti, resigned earlier in August. Bettencourt said the decision to leave was a mutual one between himself and Henson.
The job was then publicly advertised and 20 applicants turned in their resumes, Bettencourt said.
In the interim, Bettencourt's chief of staff Chris Ryder, Finance Director Patricia Schaffer and Dr. Herb Levine, , are sharing Henson’s responsibilities in managing the Human Resources Department.
Bettencourt said last week that 12 candidates were being interviewed. Levine, Ryder and School Committee member Beverley Griffine Dunne are serving as a screening committee who will then forward on the finalists to Bettencourt.
Henson is among a handful of top city officials whom Bettencourt has let go since taking office – most recently it was . In the first few months of his tenure, Bettencourt appointed a , hired a chief of staff and brought Jean Carnevale in as the new city treasurer.
He also made a couple other key promotions, but those were mainly due to retirements, and replaced a few staff members at .
Consolidating offices expected to reap savings
Bettencourt readily reveals he is planning to follow through on years of talks among elected officials to . In this case, the area of by eliminating duplicative services. The timing is opportune with former .
The consolidation study was commissioned by Bonfanti and . The largest area for savings was actually identified as within the , which operates independently of the city, but Bettencourt has made no public moves to begin talks there yet. He has said he would like to work together with PMLP on that front as well.
The plans for consolidating city and school offices are still just plans at this stage.
Bettencourt says he would first need 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.
For the time being, a new director will be hired for the existing city department and the school office will remain vacant.