At an educational session sponsored by the Maryland Association of County Human Resources Officers at MACo’s Winter Conference, the issues surrounding staffing during emergencies were addressed by a panel of human resources professionals and an attorney representing labor organizations involved in the dispute over how to define “essential employees.”
Keith Zimmerman Esq., Principal, Kahn, Smith & Collins, P.A. provided the perspective of an attorney representing union employees called into work during emergencies, while Colleen Denston, Deputy Director of the Maryland Society of Human Resources shared background on human resources issues in emergency management nationwide. Joe Adler, President of the Maryland Association of Human Resources Officers described insight gained from the Montgomery County continuity of operations planning process, where he serves as Director of Human Resources.
Mr. Adler shared the many responsibilities of an Office of Human Resources, including
• Facilitate purchase of priority vaccines/medications• Occupational Medical Services to personnel• Seamless coordination for processing personnel payroll• Provide insurance coverage information; assist processing claims• With county attorney, provide technical advice to departments on personnel regulations, county code, bargaining agreements
Finally, Gregg Todd, County Administrator, Queen Anne’s County, related the importance of having emergency plans and roles defined before an emergency happens.