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New HR policies put in place

The Sunnyside City Council approved a human resource policy for employees of the city at the council's most recent meeting.

The policy replaces a single ordinance from 2005 that covered mostly leave and medical information and did not include comprehensive information on job requirements, discipline, anti-harassment policies, vehicle use and other policies.

"There were no policies or procedures in place," said Anna Bullock, human resources and payroll officer for the city of Sunnyside. "When I ran into a problem not covered, I just followed the law as closely as possible."

Since she was hired in 2010, Bullock says she's been working to write a comprehensive manual for city employees. She said Byron Olsen took the job for a time, and when interim City Manager Frank Sweet was hired he made it a priority to finish the document.

"He had me go through what was already done and write up new sections," said Bullock. "I'm proud of the product."

Some portions of the document were finished early and approved by council piecemeal. As an example, Sweet put the city vehicle policy into place as quickly as he could. The policy as it was passed earlier this year by council will be a part of the new policy manual.

Bullock could not say how long the city has been without human resources policies, but Fire Chief Aaron Markham said, "I've never seen a citywide manual in 21 years."

Bullock did say individual departments had policies and procedures. The fractured nature of those policies was one of the culprits in recent findings against the city by state auditors.

"I got dinged by the auditors because I couldn't find employee records," she said. "They were stored by department. I've had to compile the records from all over."

Her efforts earned her a commendation from the auditors during the same city council meeting.

Bullock said the next step is to prepare a final copy of the manual, with all earlier policies incorporated, to be given to all employees. She also said job descriptions of all city positions would be written, outlining duties and expectations.

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