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2014 Founders’ Fellows: State of Public Human Resources Management

Social Media as a Means to Meet the Challenges of Personnel Management in the 21st Century
By Bryan C. Farrell, Mississippi State University

There are enormous challenges in managing and leading public service organizations in the 21st century.   The way we as individuals communicate and share ideas are drastically changing.  With the advent of social media, managers and employers face major difficulties in assessing the proper ways of controlling or limiting exposure to the negative potentials of the technology.   The usage of social media, however, has brought about a host of positives within the field of public administration.  Some of these positives are customer relations, branding, informing the public, and promoting agency awareness.   As I have yet to make it fully to the practitioner level, I want to examine the uses of this new medium at a practical level against a theoretical framework.  Public agencies are always trying to attract the best and most highly motivated individuals. In addition managers have the task of attempting to motivate their employees.   I want to understand the range of positives for personnel management that can occur if managers promote social media.  How can this technology lead to positive outcomes for public administrators and managers with regard to personnel management?

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Case Study: The History that Divides and the Politics that Conquer Strategic Human Resource Management Assessment

By Rahel Weldeyesus, Florida International University

Over the years, the City of Buffalo Fire Department has seen its share of administrative coup d’états, shifting political allegiances, and financial hemorrhaging at the hands of racial discrimination litigations and long-established policy loopholes. Whether directly stated or historically implied, political tensions mired deep in racial prejudices, coupled with market-lagging wages have pitted City administrators against powerhouse Union IAFF Local 282, management against ground level staff, and ranking white firefighters against black firefighters. To add fuel to the fire, the 11-year contract stalemate between the City and Local 282 has strained the City’s budget with excessive overtime to cover ongoing vacancies. Taxpayers are caught in the middle of this firestorm and foot the bill for the team of attorneys it takes to represent the City in litigations and failed contract negotiations, for the lawsuit awards in the millions, and for the numerous retired and/or retiring firefighters whose pensions have been “padded” by years of overtime pay and under-the-table deals. Trimming fire service costs in the City’s budget is no small feat, and in fact can seem daunting, but equipped with a combination of best practices and a progressive ideology, the City can overcome many of its budget challenges linked to department overtime and pension costs.

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