Doubling down on two jobs with the town
CHRISTIANSBURG – Becky Wilburn is wearing two hats these days.
Christiansburg’s public relations officer for the past two years, Wilburn became the town’s human resources director as well this summer.
Both she and Town Manger Barry Helms describe the dual roles as a happy meshing of opportunity and skills. When the town’s former HR director, Ashley Ferguson, moved out of state in May, Wilburn had the interest and experience to give the job a try.
“It’s allowed us to free up some finances and to reorganize and restructure … it’s allowed us to have more support staff in both areas and it’s saved us money,” Wilburn said.
Some of the money saved by not having an administrator position in both areas helped boost Wilburn’s salary from $55,250 to $67,423, though part of her pay increase was a five percent raise given to all town employees as part of a state-mandated retirement contribution adjustment.
Another part of the savings went to adding a full-time position to the human resources office, taking it from the one-person operation it was previously to a one and a half positions as Wilburn split her time between jobs.
Wilburn’s human resources experience includes work as a corporate recruiter. Town Council members said last month that they thought she was ready for the new tasks, and gave her a year to pass a national exam to acquire professional certification in human resources. The time frame for certification was written into the town’s job description and would apply to anyone appointed to the job, Wilburn said.
Wilburn said her first push in her new position will be to centralize various personnel-related functions so that new hires in all departments, for example, get the same information about town policies.
Wilburn said that her first weeks have not been too big an adjustment. Public relations and human resources are more aligned than might be initially evident, with both essentially management positions geared toward the distribution of information, she said.
Of course, in public relations, the information goes to the entire community, while in human resources, it is shared in-house, Wilburn added.
Helms called the paired jobs an example of “right people in the right spot.”
“She works well with the employees,” Helms said. “And a lot of things she does sort of overlap anyhow.”
The Roanoke Times | 381-1669
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