Mary Ann Hardie: New HR director for Edmonds
When it came time for the mayor and city councilmembers to select the city’s new human resources director, they didn’t have to look far.
Mary Ann Hardie had been there all along. For 12 years, in fact.
On Tuesday, after Hardie was officially confirmed, the city of Edmonds had its first HR director since 2011 and the fiasco that was the feud between then-Mayor Mike Cooper and then-HR director Debi Humann. Humann would go on to win a lawsuit over her termination from the city.
Carrie Hite has been serving as the HR reporting director for the department since that time, while Hardie was the HR manager. Hite will return full-time to her position of director of parks, recreation and cultural services.
Hardie, 43 next month, joined the city in January 2005 as an HR assistant. She was promoted to HR analyst in September 2008 and acting HR manager in late 2011.
“I can truly say that, almost 12 years ago, I could not have imagined this moment,” Hardie said. “I cannot express how truly pleased, honored and delighted I am by this opportunity that has been provided, and the chance to further serve the city in an even greater capacity in this role. I want to also thank the mayor and council, as well as the staff, for their continued support of HR and the very clear value and understanding of human resources through the creation of this position.”
Hardie’s promotion never really seemed in doubt.
The city received 43 resumes after posting the job description. Two finalists were interviewed, including Hardie.
“Having served the city in human resources capacities for almost 12 years, Hardie has a critical combination of knowledge, education and experience necessary for this position,” Mayor Dave Earling said.
Hardie’s office is on the third floor of City Hall, the one with great views of Puget Sound. She’s not too far from the mayor’s office.
“I enjoy working with the mayor; he’s a great boss,” she said. “He’s supportive, fair and ethical. He really is a critical part of what makes the organization strong, and helps the city in the direction it’s going.”
That direction is busy, busy.
Since eliminating the HR director position in 2011, the city said it has seen an increase in staffing levels, additional state and federal regulations, additional HR programs implemented (safety, wellness, light duty program, stay-at-work program, ergonomic assessments), organizational training and development needs, labor relations, and considerable work completed on health benefits for employees.
Hardie certainly will have a lot on her plate.
“HR is not static,” she said. “It is evolving, so HR, too, must continue to evolve. It is a different work environment today, with changing legislation and practices. We have to look at different ways of doing things to engage, attract, recruit and retain talent, and this is why it is important to maximize the value of HR programs.
“We are having transitions from the workforce, retirements, and we are competing not just with the public sector, but also the private sector and a changing applicant pool.”
Given the many new regulations of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, which mandates essential required plan coverage items, Hardie will be reconvening a health benefits committee to tackle new regulations to ensure compliance and adequate benefits for employees.
Hardie said the committee process in underway and is up to the mayor as to the timing.
“This also involves negotiation, since health insurance is a mandatory subject of bargaining,” Hardie said. “So, since the Cadillac Tax has been delayed until 2020, we could have a process any time between now and 2019. This is important, since we don’t want anyone to get the misimpression that the health benefits committee process would be starting anytime soon.”
The so-called Cadillac Tax is a 40 percent excise on any employer with more than a certain number of employees, which the city of Edmonds would fall under. The city’s insurance is through the Consortium of Washington Cities.
“When we go through this committee process, the final recommendation would go to the mayor and council as to the best medical insurance plan or plan options,” Hardie said. “This is quite a process.”
Hardie said she is ready for the challenge of being the director of a human resources department of more than 200 employees in a city of more than 40,000 people.
“Those who have worked with me over the years here know that I have sometimes an overabundance of energy and enthusiasm for this often very complicated, but engaging area of work,” she said.
“While we have a lot of challenges ahead of us in HR, I am really looking forward to continuing to dig in further and completing critical work projects as well as working with the hard-working, competent and talented staff and great leaders within our organization. And, even though we are an internal service provider, working with citizens when given the opportunity.”
Hardie lives in Kenmore with her husband, Kenneth Hardie. They’ve been married 18 years and have a 21-year-old son who just graduated from the University of Washington.
She said she loves arriving in Edmonds every day.
“It’s a family work environment here,” she said. “I wouldn’t trade my view for anything in the world. The people are engaged, caring and passionate about what they do. I see so much potential to provide value.”