Services Spotlight: HR Consulting with the Town of Strasburg and the Roanoke Valley-Allegheny Regional Commission

For many public entities, the role of human resources (HR) is often combined with additional duties. As part of VRSA’s commitment to serving members, HR consulting services are offered to members purchasing public officials’ liability coverage to assist in preventing and reducing employment liability claims.

For Clerk of Council and Office and HR Manager for the Town of Strasburg Amy Keller and Roanoke Valley-Allegheny Regional Commission Director of Finance Sherry Dean, these HR services have been helpful in assisting them with managing their broad responsibilities.

Both have utilized the services provided through VRSA Director of Human Resources Tina Stevens regularly.

“When I started, I was hired as clerk of council and administrative assistant and since then my job has expanded to the office and HR manager,” said Keller. “In small communities, we wear many hats, so HR manager is one of those hats I wear.”

The town has used Tina’s services for many things, but especially for keeping their personnel policy manual current.

“We had our basic personnel manual, and we were going through it, and I would send her questions – she reviewed it to make sure we had everything in there we legally had to have,” said Keller. “I’ve reached out to her whenever an employee is terminated, or if there are questions with hiring – she’s even done background checks for top hires like town manager and director of finance positions.”

VRSA’s HR services are designed to assist in the mitigation of employment practices’ liability exposure and are available to members purchasing Public Officials’ Liability Coverage. Members are encouraged to utilize this service to help avoid EEOC charges for such things as discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination.

“We love Tina,” said Dean. “I usually always run any kind of law changes or changes we want to make to benefits or rules that we have for employees by her – she will get back to you most of the time in the day you asked.”

Stevens has assisted Keller with many cases involving the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

“FMLA is always tricky because you want to make sure that you are doing it the right way because it is a federal program,” said Keller. “Our most difficult one is intermittent FMLA leave, and she has a spreadsheet on the website that helps you calculate that – it keeps track of how many hours a person has taken and how many they have left.”

For questions beyond Tina’s scope of expertise, VRSA offers the services of HR ExecSupport, which includes access to HR attorneys from the law firm of Littler Mendelson.

Both Keller and Dean have utilized many of the HR resources available on the VRSA website.

“There’s a wealth of information on the website,” said Keller. “You can get all of the HR posters that you need on there, there are webinars on HR topics – many offering continuing education credits – and also remember that Tina and other VRSA staff will come to your locality and do a presentation.”

In the past, Stevens has provided training to town staff on harassment, diversity, and ethics.

“I have researched some things on your website – it’s a great resource,” said Dean. “Anything that comes from VRSA whether it be training or online content, it’s all been excellent.”

Both would recommend utilizing VRSA’s HR services to other members.

“Tina is there to help you, your question, your problem is not unique to just your locality all of us have the same things,” said Keller. “Most of the questions another would ask I’ve already asked; she doesn’t make you feel like your question is stupid she’s just there to help you.”

Contact your member services representative for more information on VRSA’s HR Consulting Services.