By: Mike Earl, Senior Vice President, GovHR USA
GovTempsUSA was established in 2011. At the time, the founders saw a need for a firm to focus on providing short and long-term staffing options exclusively for local governments. They were right. As of January 2019, GovTemps has filled over 360 positions at 171 local governments in 11 states. Below are just a few success stories where GovTemps has made a difference to communities and to persons seeking positions in local government.
Success Story #1 – Mid-Career Municipal Manager Loses Job
An established, highly skilled and talented Manager falls victim to a change in elected leadership and loses her position. She submits her resume to GovTemps. Shortly thereafter she is selected to serve as interim Manager for three months in a smaller community where one of her eventual responsibilities was to coach and mentor the newly appointed Manager. From there she served in another slightly larger town as its Interim Manager. While still in the interim role, she applied for and was selected for a permanent Manager position in a community more to her liking. During this time, she was able to keep her skills sharp, provide assistance to two communities that were in need of professional managerial skills, and receive some financial security while in transition.
Success Story #2 – Community Strapped for Revenue
A small community with a population of 11,000 located on the fringes of a major metropolitan City has a challenging financial situation. In response, the governing board elects to use the services of a third-party employer (GovTemps) and outsource its staff. Accordingly, GovTemps placed a former municipal manager (who is also receiving a pension and working 40 hours/week), a Finance Manager (three days/week) and a Planner (30 hours/week). The Planner, who was in transition, was on site for several months before eventually leveraging his experience to secure a full-time position in the private sector. The end result was a community that was not obliged to pay for employee health insurance nor absorb any expenses related to an employee pension all the while receiving professional staff support.
Success Story #3 – Manager Needs Professional Financial Assistance
The incumbent Finance Director gives his two weeks’ notice to take a position in the private sector. Fairly new to the profession, the Manager is not intimately familiar with financial operations and needs to soon present her first proposed budget. She knows it will take three to four months to hire a full-time Finance Director and contacts GovTemps because she needs someone now.
In response, GovTemps places a retired Municipal Manager/Finance Director familiar with the state’s financial reporting requirements and budget development. Working 40 hours/week, the GovTemps employee capably handles the essential position requirements of Finance Director, shares her experiences and insight with the Manager, and assists with the selection process to fill the position on a permanent basis.
Success Story #4 – Park District Finance Supt. Desires Summer-Long Trip Across the Country
A Park District Finance Superintendent advises her Director that she plans to retire because of a desire to travel around the country in an RV with her husband. Recognizing the value of the employee to the organization, the Director encourages the Superintendent to instead consider a sabbatical. GovTemps is contacted and places an Interim Finance Director in the position for five months. The interim is a retired finance professional with many years of experience in local government and who desires temporary work at 25-30 hours/week. The end result is a Park District that retains a valued employee, a long-term district employee who is able to take a “bucket list” trip with her husband, and a GovTemps employee who earns extra income during the summer months while still receiving her pension.
Success Story #5 – Communities Share Property Maintenance Officer
Two neighboring rural communities are in need of part-time assistance to perform property maintenance duties. They are experiencing challenges finding good candidates. A Manager of one of the community’s contacts GovTemps to ask if it is possible for GovTemps to find a candidate who can work at both towns in a shared arrangement. With the candidate outreach services of its parent company (GovHR USA), GovTemps takes the assignment. The end result was a full-time GovTemps employee who worked two days in one town and three days with the other.
Choosing the Right Staffing Firm
Staffing agencies focused on local government should know where to go to recruit and vet qualified contract employees. The agency ought to be sensitive to the daily fiscal pressures facing local government leaders and understand what makes for a successful local government employee. An established local government staffing firm can serve as a clearing house for candidates who are looking for part-time or full-time work and who are amenable to short-term assignments. Communities who need assistance can contact the agency for candidates available for temporary, direct hire, temp-to-hire or outsourced assignments.
The ideal agency is able to assist communities with reaching candidates that many towns need but are unable to recruit. In seeking to fill these positions, organizations spend considerable time and resources trying to find the right candidate when this function can be transferred to a reputable staffing firm. A good firm needs to have formal agreements, carry workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance and liability insurance, and compensate its staff members as W2 employees not as 1099 employees. An experienced and networked staffing firm focused on local government can assist communities with solutions to its staffing needs.
This article appeared in the February 2019 issue of both the Illinois City/County Management and Wisconsin City/County Management monthly newsletter.