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Grovetown's new HR manager is staying busy

Posted: September 26, 2012 - 12:04am
Elaine Matthews has been hired as the human resources director for the city of Grovetown.  Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Elaine Matthews has been hired as the human resources director for the city of Grovetown.

For years, Grovetown officials planned for a human resources manager to handle the city’s growing roster of personnel.

Elaine Matthews filled that position in late June.

“They needed an HR manager about 50 employees ago,” Matthews said.

The city currently employs about 88 full-time employees. That’s a big change from when Matthews worked as city clerk from 1974 to 1977.

“I think there were about 15 or 20 employees back in 1977,” she said.

Matthews left to work for Columbia County, where she served as administrative services manager and county clerk for 16 years. Matthews left the county in 1993 to work for Community Mental Health and the Department of Juvenile Justice at the Regional Youth Detention Center. She worked there for 11 years.

“All of her governmental experience,” Grovetown Mayor George James said, “that’s the main thing we really wanted in a human resources person.”

Matthews is a lifelong Grovetown resident.

“I’m glad to be here,” Matthews said. “I live a half mile up the street. I’ve lived in Grovetown all my life. I consider it really to be a privilege to be here, to work with the city.”

The city has definitely changed, Matthews said. She doesn’t have to drive to Augusta for fast food like she did in 1977.

But growth has changed her hometown, Matthews said.

Matthews hit the ground running by updating the city’s employee dress code.

“That was one of the first things the (City Council) asked me to address,” Matthews said. “I am a firm believer that if you look professional and you conduct yourself in a professional manner, that people will look at you in a different way. I think the way we look is important because we’re here representing the city each and every day.”

The city has grown tremendously in the past decade and human resource duties fell on the city manager and city clerk.

“Developing policies and procedures for HR management nowadays is not just something you can do without a lot of thought process,” Matthews said. “You have to have the time.”

Matthews said she’s been conducting employee surveys to find out how they do their jobs, how they like their jobs and what she can do to make them more productive. She’s also working on job descriptions and an organizational chart to allow promotional opportunities for employees.

Updating the city’s personnel policy also is on Matthews’ to-do list.

“The policy is a living, breathing document,” Matthews said. “You have to pay attention to it all the time.”

Matthews, who is getting close to retirement, said she plans to work for the city for at least five years.

“I’m glad to be here,” she said, “I really am.”

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