Idaho’s state Division of Human Resources has requested another staffer next year, in part to help investigate complaints regarding state employees including workplace harassment complaints. DHR Administrator Susan Buxton told JFAC this morning that the state is seeing “an increase in respectful workplace complaints,” but after her presentation, she said she misspoke. “We’re having a lot more conversations about what’s happening within the agencies,” she said. “It appears that having that ability to provide an investigator for agencies, through our agency, is a best practice. We’re seeing the need for that, we’re seeing the outreach for that.”
DHR can help with mediations and investigations, she noted. “Having an unbiased investigator that’s not part of your agency, for certain types of investigations, I believe is a best practice.”
That’s one of three factors driving the need for an additional senior HR specialist, beyond the four already on staff, she said; the other factors are the need to conduct quality assurance reviews for state agencies to ensure compliance with federal and state laws and rules; and the move of the state Department of Labor from delegated status to falling under DHR. Buxton isn’t requesting any additional funding for the position; she said she believes the division’s existing budget “would allow for one more person.”
Gov. Butch Otter has recommended funding the position.
The DHR’s budget proposal for next year also includes $62,500 for a second year of a local salary survey to supplement the Hay Group survey that’s conducted regularly on state employee compensation; the local survey was conducted this year by Milliman Inc., after it was requested by lawmakers. Otter also has recommended funding for that request.
JFAC held budget hearings today for DHR; the Division of Veterans Services; the Office of Drug Policy; and the Department of Finance. Budget-setting will start in mid-February in the joint committee.