Director of Human Resources and Labor Relations

City of Seattle, WA
September 1, 2023
Seattle, WA
Job Type


Position Description

Invitation to Compete #55-23: Director of Human Resources and Labor Relations

Central Library, 1000 4th Ave., Seattle, WA

This is a full-time, fully benefited, regular, FLSA exempt position.

Annual salary range: $118,139.04 - $194,893.92

This position is open to the public and to The Seattle Public Library's employees. Please read the How to Apply section of this bulletin for more information. This recruitment will be open until the position is filled. Online applications that have been submitted with a cover letter and resume in NEOGOV by August 25, 2023 will receive first consideration.

Position Overview

The Seattle Public Library is seeking an energetic and progressive individual to serve as Director of Human Resources and Labor Relations. This position reports to the Chief Librarian and serves as a member of the Library's Senior Management and Leadership Team. This individual will work in partnership to fulfill the Library's goals by providing direction, oversight, and management and leading organizational development efforts and essential human resources programs and services and manage the Library's labor relations efforts collaboratively with its union.

The Director directs, oversees and administers the library's human resources policies, procedures, systems and processes separate from the City's Personnel System and Personnel Rules. The Director coordinates the processing of library payroll and benefits programs with the city's Personnel Department, while maintaining the administration of such programs in the Library. The Director oversees and administers the Library's safety management program.

The Director plays a critical role in creating and maintaining a positive and healthy work environment and an organizational culture that is consistent with the Library's values.

The Director is responsible for enhancing the Library's labor-management partnership with the Union, including staff involvement and interest-based problem solving. The Director serves as chief spokesperson and lead in contract negotiations on behalf of the Library; works closely with the Union staff representative and Local Union President in addressing day-to-day problems and issues; handles grievances and representation matters; and co-chairs the Joint Labor-Management Committee.

The Director provides leadership throughout the Library system by advising Library administration regarding the impact of labor and employee relations issues, by participating in policy development, strategic planning and projects relating to the workplace environment, and by directing and evaluating the activities of HR staff and consultants.

The Director and other members of the Chief Librarian's Senior Management and Leadership Team assume responsibility for how the Library is perceived by staff and the public through collaborative program development and joint problem solving.

A total of 12 employees (FTE) work in the Human Resources Division. The Division provides a full range of leadership and professional support to the Library in the functional areas of policy analysis and development, labor and employee relations, performance management, employment and staffing, employment laws and regulations, compensation, wage and salary administration, payroll and benefits administration (including health insurance and retirement), leave administration, workers' compensation, training, health and safety, organizational development and volunteer services, as well as a variety of other programs and services. Human Resources staff members participate fully in all aspects of the Division's professional services while at the same time assuming responsibility for assigned areas of emphasis and ensuring that all Division efforts reflect a professional customer-centered service philosophy and the organization's mission, values and objectives.

Job Responsibilities

  • Set the vision for human resources programs and services. Develop, recommend, implement and evaluate organizational strategies to support the achievement of the Library's strategic goals and objectives and service priorities through staff resources. Contribute to and facilitate the executive decision making process relating to employee and labor relations matters by providing counsel to the governing Board of Trustees, Chief Librarian and Library administration. Make recommendations to the Chief Librarian on operational issues, from the particular perspective of the impact on people. Keep the Chief Librarian informed of significant problems that may jeopardize the achievement of the Library's goals as well as those that are not being addressed adequately at the line management level. Translate the strategic and tactical organizational service/business plans into Human Resources strategic and operational plans.
  • Ensure the fair and equitable treatment of all employees, represented and non-represented, consistent with Library policies. Support the labor-management partnership by working collaboratively with union leadership on labor strategy and proactive resolution of issues. Lead collective bargaining negotiations and act on the Library's behalf in administering the labor agreement. Participate in joint labor-management collaborative problem solving. Investigate, manage and resolve complex employee relations issues and formal and informal complaints and/or grievances.
  • Integrate equity values and principles into program design, development, implementation and evaluation, and apply an equity lens to policies, procedures and operations to address systemic and institutionalized racism.
  • Provide for the human resource needs of the Library at all levels. Contribute toward the development of a patron experience-driven, high performance, learning organization and develop strategies and achievable goals to make the Library an "employer of choice." Be aware of and promote relevant policies, practices and trends including: innovative and creative employment practices that attract and retain staff best suited for the Library's future service delivery model; the use of performance standards and expectations that are consistent with the Library of the future; expanded staff training and development opportunities; and increased involvement of staff in committees.
  • Develop and drive a robust staff training and development program to respond effectively to a changing and flexible service environment and to form, nurture and maintain excellent leaders and staff. Ensure that organizational and staff learning needs are assessed and that annual training programs are developed. Utilize best practices of other high performing organizations relating to staff training and development. Develop and implement effective strategies to improve organizational and staff performance. Design and/or coordinate training opportunities for Library staff that fully utilize the talents and expertise of external and internal resources. Look for opportunities to educate and expose staff to emerging trends. Identify and recommend leadership and management development opportunities. Administer the Library's centralized training funds and monitor the ongoing effectiveness of all educational and compliance training programs.
  • Develop, recommend, implement and maintain library policies and procedures consistent with applicable federal and state laws, rules and regulations. Contribute to uniform understanding and application of human resources policies and procedures and resolution of problems by providing appropriate and effective counsel and by interpreting policy and procedures. Consult with the city's Law Department and consult and collaborate with the City of Seattle Human Resources Department as needed.
  • Identify and recommend leadership and management development opportunities. Proactively consult with and support directors and managers as strategic partners in the achievement of division goals and objectives. Recommend specific strategies to address key operational issues. Support the resolution of employee relations, performance management, training and development and other human resource issues. Design, conduct and facilitate team building or other efforts to support building the capacity of Library teams and unit/department staff.
  • Develop staffing strategies and implementation plans and programs to identify talent within and outside the organization. Identify appropriate and effective external sources for candidates for all levels of the organization. Develop programs to embrace applicants and staff of all backgrounds and to permit the full development and performance of all employees. Ensure the effective implementation of workforce diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility strategies that support the Library's commitment to promoting a workforce that values diversity and inclusion and reflects the diverse community served.
  • Oversee the Library's Volunteer Services Program, including the recruitment, selection, coordination and placement/supervision of volunteers; provide necessary training, orientation and recognition of volunteers. Support the utilization of volunteers as a resource in achieving the Library's service goals.
  • Lead innovative and positive human resources service delivery process improvements. Continually assess, enhance and/or develop systems that will improve the overall operation and effectiveness of the organization. In particular, manage the human resource information system database and necessary reports for critical analyses of the human resources function and people resources of the organization.
  • Recruit, direct, supervise, evaluate, mentor, develop and retain human resources staff. Ensure effective performance of human resources staff by providing appropriate training and development, timely performance appraisals and recognition for positive contributions.
  • Direct and monitor the development of the Division's operating budget and oversee expenditures; allocating and reallocating resources as needed. Provide guidance in the development of long-range forecasts for staffing resources and budget expenditures. Develop strategic operating budget plans to meet short- and long-range objectives.


  • At least seven years of progressively responsible Human Resources and Labor Relations management experience is required, with previous experience at the executive level. Having served as a member of a leadership team is highly desired and previous experience in a large urban library or public service organization is preferred.
  • A Bachelor's degree in Business, Human Resources, Organizational Development, or a related field.
  • Extensive knowledge of and experience with the principles, practices and application of human resource management and administration, with specific experience in labor relations.
  • Special skills in the resolution of complex, high-impact organizational and interpersonal conflict situations are required.
  • Extensive knowledge of and experience in identifying, recommending and implementing organizational change strategies and instituting a creative problem solving approach. The capacity to build and maintain successful working relationships and to perform effectively and advocate for staff in a culture marked with high expectations.
  • The ability to demonstrate vision, strategic thinking, collaboration and inclusive leadership skills; flexibility and adaptability; and a willingness to embrace and drive change initiatives. The ability to be intellectually engaging with strong interpersonal communication and advocacy skills.
  • The ability to influence others, negotiate to a successful resolution, and engage in effective problem solving while utilizing effective self-awareness and self-management strategies.
  • The ability to recognize and set priorities, and to use initiative and independent management decision-making.
  • The ability to make persuasive public speaking and presentations to a variety of audiences.
  • The ability to demonstrate exceptional interpersonal and communication skills; communicate in writing in a clear and concise manner with Library staff and outside vendors, consultants and community and special interest groups.
  • The ability to organize, direct, motivate and evaluate human resources staff, mentor others and foster a team environment.
  • Knowledge and experience in the application of business management principles and practices, including budget management, database administration and process improvements/re-engineering.
  • Knowledge of and proven experience applying effective management practices and principles including budget development and fiscal administration, strategic planning and program and project development and management.
  • Knowledge of public libraries and their role within a community, with particular emphasis on the library's role in Intellectual Freedom.

Desired Qualifications

  • Master's Degree
  • Professional certification such as SHRM-SCP, SHRM-CP, SPHR, or PHR certification.
  • Previous experience acting as chief spokesperson in contract negotiations and conducting a system-wide classification study is highly desired.
  • A sense of humor and a positive and enthusiastic approach to public service and library leadership.

You will be successful in this role if you have the following:

  • Strategic focus on the long-term health of the Library's culture and demonstrates a natural value for this approach.
  • Aware of new and best practices in both public and private sector Human Resources and can incorporate the same into the Library's Human Resources program.
  • Experience with talent recruitment, development and retention.
  • A positive and collaborative labor-management philosophy and the ability to personally model this commitment through his/her behaviors and communications.
  • A commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility while personally modeling this commitment through an application of an equity lens.
  • Exhibit integrity, high ethical standards, discretion, professionalism, respect and accountability.
  • Ability to establish credibility throughout the organization with management, the union and employees.
  • Active listener and problem solver.
  • An exceptional ability to communicate interpersonally and relate to people at all levels in the organization.
  • Accountable and an honest and open communicator who inspires trust.
  • An energetic, forward-thinking and creative individual who is a team player.
  • A team leader who can enhance the skills and talents of members of the Human Resources team to support the work of all staff.
  • A decisive individual who possesses a strategic focus as well as a tactical/operational and detailed-oriented perspective.
  • Innovative, flexible, responsive and self-directed.
  • Motivation to seek and spark creative contributions from others.
  • Team-oriented and possess a collaborative leadership style.
  • Embrace change and develop staff skill sets to manage and effectively respond to change.
  • Possess facilitation skills and can assist staff with challenges and conflicts.

Additional Information
How to Apply

Candidates who meet the qualifications are asked to submit the following items in NEOGOV. Application materials received by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, August 25, 2023 will receive first consideration.
Complete online applicationA cover letter that describes how your experience and skills align with the stated job responsibilities and qualifications. Please let us know why you are interested in this position.Current resume that summarizes relevant professional experience, education, training and skills.

Applications that do not include a cover letter, resume, and complete online application will not be considered.

Applications will be screened for competitiveness and completeness. Initial screening will be based on a review of application materials. The employment history detailed in your application materials MUST validate/support your responses to the supplemental questions. If your responses cannot be validated, you will not proceed to the next steps of the review/selection process. The most competitive candidates will be invited to participate in a series of one or more interviews.

About The Seattle Public Library

The Seattle Public Library's mission is to bring people, information and ideas together to enrich lives and build community. We view Seattle as a city where imagination and opportunity continue to thrive. Since 1891, we have grown from a single reading room in Pioneer Square to a world-class library system with 27 locations, including the flagship Central Library.

The Library works every day to foster and support a healthy city and a healthy democracy. We do this work guided by the principles of intellectual freedom, literacy and the love of learning, racial equity, privacy and confidentiality, respect for the community, strong partnerships and innovation. We are an active and committed partner in the City of Seattle's Race and Social Justice Initiative and we seek diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in our public services but also in our talent recruitment, development and retention.

Library employees are highly regarded by the public for their knowledge, quality of service and care. As a workplace, we value respectful and transparent communication, partnership and engagement. We are enriched individually and organizationally by our diversity. We take time to recognize and celebrate the achievements of others.

If you share these values and meet the qualifications, the Library invites you to apply for the Director of Human Resources and Labor Relations position.

Why join us?
The Seattle Public Library provides an inclusive work environment that supports a work life balance, including:

  • Hybrid work schedule opportunities
  • Generous benefits package
  • City pension plan with employer/employee contributions
  • Free public transportation options
  • Friendly and diverse work environment

Benefits and Salary Information

The full salary range for this position is $118,139.04 - $194,893.92 annually.

The City of Seattle offers a comprehensive benefits package including vacation, holiday, and sick leave as well as medical, dental, vision, life, and long-term disability insurance for employees and their dependents. More information about employee benefits is available on the City's website at: "Most" Employees Plans - Human Resources |

Retirement information can be found here: Seattle City Employees' Retirement System (SCERS) - Retirement |

Additional Information

Who may apply: This position is open to all candidates that meet the minimum qualifications. The Seattle Public Library encourages people of all backgrounds to apply, including people of color, immigrants, refugees, women, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, veterans, and those with diverse life experience. We actively work to eliminate racial and other disparities and welcome candidates with diverse backgrounds and/or multicultural skill sets and experiences.

If you have questions regarding this bulletin or employment at The Seattle Public Library, please send an email to . The Library promotes diversity and inclusion in employment. If accommodations are needed during the selection process, please email .

Please keep in mind that job offers are contingent on a review of criminal history as well as verification of information provided by the applicant as part of the application process.

The City of Seattle offers a comprehensive benefits package including vacation, holiday and sick leave as well as medical, dental, vision, life and long-term disability insurance for employees and their dependents.

More information about employee benefits is available on the City's website at:
"Most" Employees Plans - Human Resources |

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