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City fires personnel boss

[8/21/01] Wayne Roberts, the head of the city’s human resources department for 28 years, has been fired.

“All of the problems with the city employees root back to the human resources department,” Mayor Laurence Leyens said Monday in a telephone interview from out of town.

Roberts, 55, said he was asked before a closed meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen Friday to turn in his resignation and was terminated after he refused. He said he was not given a reason

“I haven’t been given any specifics at all,” Roberts said. “I don’t know exactly what happened.”

The termination is effective Aug. 31.

Leyens said Roberts had been a tremendous asset to the city, but he was not able to keep up with changes in human resources policies and laws.

“It’s very important for us to have a strong head of human resources,” he said. “We’re looking for someone who understands current human resources law.”

The department, which is moving to City Hall Annex from City Hall, accepts employment applications for each of the city’s 16 divisions and handles personnel issues for about 540 full-time city employees.

The office also deals with about 100 temporary seasonal employees who work mostly in the recreation department during the spring and summer.

The human resources department employs two people, Roberts and insurance specialist and administrative assistant Pam Flagg. Flagg was on the job this morning.

Roberts said this morning he plans to return to work this week and wait until he gets official notification from the city of his termination.

“I’m not bitter, but I am not happy,” he said. “I’m hurt.”

Roberts’ wife, Sue Roberts, administrative assistant to South Ward Alderman Sid Beauman, was also not at work this morning. Wayne Roberts said she was taking a few days off, but that she would return.

Until a replacement is found for Roberts, the legal department will take over handling personnel matters for the city.