West Valley Water District hires firm to rewrite HR policies, procedures

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On February 24, 2020, West Valley Water District (WVWD) Board President Channing Hawkins announced that the Water District selected a firm to rewrite the Human Resources: Policies and Procedures Manual, which is a critical step towards increase accountability, improving hiring procedures and ensuring the Water District maintains a healthy working environment and efficient operations for ratepayers.

President Channing Hawkins stated, “It is inexcusable that we’ve been operating on an outdated policies and procedures for the Water District. I am confident the new policies and procedures will help end dysfunction and address ongoing personnel issues that need to be corrected. With these changes, employees can expect a better organization and ratepayers can expect a better, more efficient public resource.”

Beyond written company culture, values and mission statement, the new manual will contain human resource and legal information as well as rights and obligations to employment. It will also contain organization expectations for employees and employee expectations for the company. Other items may include job descriptions, compensation, vacation time, sick days and other medical and family leave information. The new manual will help to fill knowledge gaps for employees on the correct policies and procedures needed to navigate the Water District.  

The WVWD will enter into an agreement with Liebert Cassidy Whitmore (LCW), a nationally-recognized firm that serves many jurisdictions throughout California. WVWD’s new Interim Human Resources and Risk Manager Martin Piñon selected the firm in accordance with Water District purchasing policies and requested bids from 3 firms and received 2 proposals. Piñon selected LCW due to their extensive experience in representing public agencies in developing related policies. The WVWD hired Piñon earlier this month to address best practices and other human resource issues such as resolving personnel issues. Piñon is a seasoned human resources professional, trained as a lawyer with management-level experience

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The firm is a pioneer in the training field through its Employment Relations Consortiums, which are comprised of nearly 800 cities, counties, special districts and schools as well as other public-sector agencies in the State of California. The firm provides annual training to thousands city managers, county executives, general managers, city attorneys and heads of schools. For the Water District, the firm will focus on preparing and presenting new human resources policies and procedures for the Board to consider.

Vice President Kyle Crowther stated, “Some of our policies and procedures are outdated and need to be rewritten. This is an opportune time to perform a complete review and ensure we have a solid document to stand on as we move forward with additional improvements.”

This action follows a major effort by the Board of Directors to make the Water District more transparent and accountable. Some of the most recent actions include approving a temporary hiring freeze, prohibiting the general manager from entering into professional service agreements without board approval, conducting public meetings to scrutinize all professional services contracts, appointing an interim human resources manager and creating a live stream for board meetings via social media.

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