Saratoga Springs council votes to fire human resource firm
SARATOGA SPRINGS Mayor Scott Johnson said Wednesday the City Council made a mistake by ending the city’s contract with Pinnacle Human Resources LLC.
The Albany-based firm provides human resource services to cities and towns on a contractual basis, but the council voted 3-2 Tuesday to terminate its contract.
Johnson and Public Works Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco voted against the measure in a decision split along party lines.
Johnson said the move put the city at risk of having no human resources services in 30 days, when the contract will be formally ended.
“The reason we went to Pinnacle was the experience of their staff and cost effectiveness,” Johnson said.
He said the company — through consultant Joe Lattanzio — provided the city with 25 hours of human resource expertise each week and was on call 24 hours a day in the event of emergencies.
For 2012 through the end of July, the city had spent about $50,000 on Pinnacle’s services. The city had budgeted $75,000 for the service for the entire year.
City Accounts Commissioner John Franck, who made the motion to end the contract, agreed with the mayor that the city was “on budget” with the Pinnacle contract, but said he was not satisfied with the services provided.
“We need a full-time human resources person. Having a part-timer doesn’t make sense,” Franck said.
In past years, the city had its own human resources director, but that person left for another job. Franck said before hiring Pinnacle, the city went 14 months without a human resources specialist.
“I personally was satisfied [with Pinnacle],” Johnson said.
He said a personnel issue developed this year in the Accounts Department, but that was an “isolated” incident. Neither Johnson nor Franck would say if an alleged disciplinary problem in the Accounts Department involving clerk Mary Zlotnick, who was placed on 30-days unpaid suspension in recent weeks, was a factor in the Pinnacle issue.
They said they could not comment on internal personnel cases.
Johnson said Pinnacle was meeting the needs of the city and was cost-effective. He said the city did not have to pay fringe benefits and pension payments for the Pinnacle services.
If the city were to again hire its own human resources director, it would be “hard to find” a qualifying person to take the job at a price to the city of $75,000, including benefits and pension payments. He said the cost of the benefits package for such a job would be another 40 percent beyond the money the city budgeted for the position.
“It would be a much more expensive endeavor,” Johnson said.