Bartlett defends HR department, review

Posted: Friday, October 01, 2010

Bartlett Regional Hospital's CEO defends the human resources department that has come under fire for its letters to employees, but adds a review is coming soon.

At Tuesday's hospital board meeting, three employees raised issue with a letter being sent to either themselves or their employees. The letter twice threatens termination, doesn't give specific details to what infraction the employee may have committed and has an overall hostile tone.

CEO Shawn Morrow said Wednesday the Foraker study done on the culture at Bartlett has indicated some HR policies and procedures do need to be looked at, and a review has been scheduled for more than a month now.

"It's a welcomed review by the HR director," he said. "We will look at how we do things and discover areas where we can do better."

Morrow said culture improvements are in the works and that morale is moving up.

"I think there's a lot of strength and unity going on here," he said. "The Foraker report was good in that it said there's work to be done, but the majority of employees enjoy working here."

Morrow pointed out that there is an internal grievance process for employees who don't feel like their personnel issue was handled fairly.

He called it an internal line of defense for employees, and said some just may not know about it. Morrow said the three employees were directly made aware of the option following the meeting, hoping they use the grievance process and that they will have faith in it.

"The board's role is not to delve into personnel issues," he said. "That issue of personnel is primarily a non-board function. It's a management function and we take that seriously. Aside from patient care, it's our most important stewardship as managers."

Morrow also said when employees choose to take their issues public, it casts an unfair light on the HR department because it cannot defend itself.

"They do an excellent job," he said. "They care about the employees, they care about the organization."

Morrow said HR employees go out of their way to do things for individual employees, including visiting them when sick.

"Sometimes HR employees have to do a very difficult job," he said. "Without gratitude or thanks or any acknowledgment. They keep taking the punches and the punches. I want to acknowledge what a wonderful job our HR department does. ... They do most of it behind the scenes. There are no e-mails sent out to "Bartlett All" telling people of the wonderful things they've done."

The Empire attempted to reach the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 200, a union affiliated with hospital employees, for comment on the procedures for this kind of complaint. A call to the main number listed on the ILWU website was answered by a recording stating the person we were trying to reach was not accepting calls at this time. A call to the number listed for Al Lodovici, president of ILWU Local 200's Unit 2201, was not answered.

Contact Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at sarah.day@juneauempire.com.



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