The City of Yankton is looking to upgrade its human resources position.

During Monday’s meeting of the Yankton City Commission, the board voted 8-0 in favor of hiring a consulting firm to seek out a human resource and employee engagement director.

Yankton City Manager Amy Leon said that a retirement will give the city an opportunity to change the position.

“As many of you are aware, Sue Berke-Hanson has submitted a written letter of notification regarding her intention to retire in May,” Leon said. “We have discussed the desire to change the position from a  coordinator’s position to a full director position. I’m recommending that what we do is hire a human resource and employee engagement director, and I would like to engage a consulting firm to help us recruit that individual.”

Leon recommended HueLife of Minnesota, which is run by Dr. Richard Fursman and his wife Irina.

“I have a history with both of the Fursmans,” Leon said. “Richard was a city manager previously, so he has a good understanding of my position that I’m in and how valuable it is to find the right people for your team.”

She added that it was Richard Fursman who helped her find her way to the Yankton position.

“He was a mentor of mine when I was in college,” she said. “Since then, he’s worked as a recruiter as well as a consultant for team building. I’ve done many trainings with him and Irina. They’re also responsible for hiring me in Canton, so I don’t know if we want to thank them or hate them for that. They were the firm that did that search and have done a number of career coaching things with me throughout my time as a city manager.”

Leon said the cost for recruitment is $15,000 plus expenses with the hope of recruiting a human resource and employee engagement director by early June.

She added that going through a recruiter such as HueLife is beneficial as opposed to the city recruiting on its own.

“Certainly, we have done recruitment on our own in the past,” she said. “I think that we have a better chance of getting a wider variety of candidates. At a department head level position, I think it’s a smart move. Not getting the right person in the right chair can be a lot more expensive than that.”

Mayor Nathan Johnson said that the new director position will help the city in its mission.

“I think this will be a key role in helping our organization evolve in competing in the workforce world that we’re in,” Johnson said. “We struggle to find enough people in the workforce to fill the positions that we have, so I think it’s really incumbent upon us as a city to make sure that our organization is modern, make sure that our employees understand the benefits and culture that we have, but then also looks at ways we can improve it as well.”

Commissioner Chris Ferdig was absent during Monday’s meeting.

In other business Monday, the board:

• Approved an addendum to the police chief’s personnel contract.

• Approved a sidewalk café license.

• Approved salary adjustments for the city finance officer, city manager and city attorney.

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