West Valley Water District hires HR manager to help implement best practices, mitigate employment issues

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Under the direction of Board President Channing Hawkins and Vice President Kyle Crowther, the West Valley Water District (WVWD), announced the hiring of Martin Pinon as Interim Human Resources and Risk Management Manager on Feb. 4.

President Channing Hawkins stated, “We are glad to have selected Mr. Pinion. He has the education, experience and skill set to assist West Valley at the critical time. The board and I look forward to working with him to develop and implement Human Resources policies and practices to move our organization forward.”

Martin Piñon, Interim Human Resources and Risk Management Manager, stated, “I am truly excited about accepting this appointment to serve West Valley Water District. With the support and leadership of the board of directors, our senior administration, and department leaders, I know we can turn this place around and achieve even more. The District ratepayers deserve the best service and the employees deserve a good, engaging and respectful workplace.”

On December 19, 2019, WVWD administered a temporary ban on recruitment and hiring of new personnel to address several human resources issues within the District. The ban included an exception to positions critical to safe and effective operations of the District. The hiring of Pinon does not end the freeze but is a critical step to lifting the temporary ban and resolving the District’s personnel issues. Hiring will not resume until a strategic plan is presented to the Board of Directors on how steps will be taken to assess and correct the District’s personnel issues.

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In addition to implementing best practices and standards for human resources, Pinon will manage the District’s personnel activities including salary and benefits administration, workers’ compensation, risk management, safety, training, employee relations, recruitment and selection. Pinion will also ensure that the District is in compliance with employment laws and work with management to correct employee deficiencies, apply disciplinary actions, address grievances and follow-up with complaints and inquiries.

Pinon is a seasoned human resource professional, trained as a lawyer with management-leveexperience. Prior to his hiring at the WVWD, Pinion worked as the interim human resources director for the City of West Covina in California, where he was responsible for all human resources functions including employee relations, labor relations and risk management.

He also served as Interim HR Manager and Labor Negotiator for the Inland Empire Utilities Agency, in Chino CA. While there, he managed the human resources department and successfully negotiated five separate labor contracts and obtaining for 3-years terms on all of the agreements.

He also served as director for human resources and risk management for the City of Nogales in Arizona, where he managed human resource policies and regulations, employee selections, compensation, health and safety issues and other human resource programs. Prior to these positions, Pinion served as an human resources analyst for the County of Maricopa, human resources and employee relations supervisor for JBS, Inc. in Tolleson, Arizona, management consultant for Management First in La Quinta, California, assistant city manager and director of human resources for the City of Barstow in California and director of human resources for the City of El Centro in California.

Pinon is a member of the California Public Employers Labor Relations Association (CALPERLA), Public Entity Risk Management Authority (PERMA), the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and International City/County Management Association (ICMA), which is the leading association of local government professionals. Pinon also holds several professional certifications, is bilingual and holds a law degree from California Southern Law School and Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University San Bernardino.

Vice President Kyle Crowther stated, “West Valley needs a breath of fresh air, and that’s exactly what Martin Piñon is. He has a professional record of working with medium and large sized governmental entities and understands the value of employees. I am honored to extend my congratulations to Mr. Piñon as we work together on writing West Valley’s next chapter.”

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