posted on Sept. 17: Seven new faces in human resources



Seven new people have joined Human Resources Services
(HRS), formerly the Office of Human Resources, this summer as
part of a restructuring of the department.

“We're pleased that we have attracted such outstanding people
McMaster as part of the first phase of our restructuring. These
experienced, talented individuals will assist us greatly in
providing better service and support to employees and leaders
at McMaster,” says Mark Haley, assistant vice-president human

Haley says the departmental restructuring was needed to enable
HRS to provide better and more support and advice. The
positions were advertised this summer in the Hamilton
and the Globe and Mail.

“There was, and still is, an obvious need to improve our labour
relations within the McMaster community. We all need to put the
'relations' back into labour relations. This restructuring will
significantly improve HRS's capacity to deal with employee and
labour relations matters and be more effective in supporting our
employees and leaders,” says Haley.

“Our goal was to build a team that can deliver the service and
advice that is and will be needed. The collective agreement
between MUSA and McMaster presents a new working
environment. Labour relations is bi-partitite. In this case, the
actions and reactions of both the employer and MUSA will guide
labour relations. Additionally, the University has long-established
and very important collective bargaining relationships with other
trade unions and vital relationships with other non-unionized
employees,” says Haley.

A primary focus of the department now is ensuring that the
University's managers understand the collective agreement
which became effective Aug. 30. Workshops aimed at
familiarizing managers with working in a unionized environment
are being offered by HRS. “It's important that everyone know and
understand employee and employer rights and responsibilities
under this new working relationship. For some, the learning
curve is going to be steep. We want to take time and attention to
build a constructive working relationship between management
and employees,” says Haley.

While recent labour relations activities account for some of the
restructuring decisions within HR, there are other issues and
needs, says Haley, that require attention. As an example, Haley states, “Whether our colleagues choose to be members of a trade
union or not, as an employer we have to look at compensation
issues and how they relate to recruitment, retention and market
conditions generally. We have to review and assess the
demographics of our work force (for example, many staff are
nearing retirement) and we have to prepare for institutional
growth and expansion.”

HRS will be reviewing other issues as it sharpens its focus
on the provision of the best service possible. This includes staff
orientation, retirement planning, recruitment and hiring, benefit
and salary administration, and compensation plan design. All of
these areas require review and attention, says Haley, and the
goal here, too, will be providing the best possible service to
customers, be they individuals or University departments.

The coming months will likely bring more changes within the
department. “We have identified the need for a strategic plan and
we will be working on developing this over the next six to 12
months,” says Haley. “If McMaster is to continue to be an
excellent university, it's important that we manage the human
resources function really well. Our aim is to become partners
with others at McMaster to better assist and enable the HR
aspects of the University's work.”

So who are the seven new faces in the Office of Human

Murray Lapp, director, employee/labour relations, joined
McMaster Aug.
13 after running his own dispute resolution consulting firm. He
formerly director, investigation and complaint resolution, for
Ombudsman Ontario, and held various senior management positions in the
provincial government's employee/labour relations departments. He was
director of review services for the Pay Equity Commission for five years. Prior to that, he was a mediator for the Office of Mediation at the Ontario Ministry of Labour. He holds MBA and BA degrees from the University of Toronto.

An employee relations officer for GO Transit, Melissa
McMaster on Aug. 20 as senior employee/labour relations officer.
Queen's University law school graduate was called to the bar in
1998 and
began her career as a legal aid caseworker at Queen's. She
articled at
Hicks, Morley, Hamilton Barristers and Solicitors.

After completing his B.Comm. degree at McMaster, Anthony
obtained his master's in industrial relations from Queen's
and worked as a job analyst at Siemans Canada. He joined
McMaster as
human resources officer on Aug. 20 after being employed as a
relations/human resources co-ordinator for Fortino's

Human resources officer Wanda McKenna was
employed as a human resources service co-ordinator and
manager at the University of Guelph before joining McMaster in
July. She holds a B.Comm. degree from Memorial University of
Newfoundland and formerly worked in human resources at the
Hibernia Employers' Association and Memorial University.

Administrative leader Susan Mitchell joined McMaster on
Aug. 7. She was
formerly manager of administration services and executive
assistant (to
the CEO) at Munich Reinsurance Company. She has held
positions with the
Toronto Star, Club House Foods and Carquest Canada

Anna Marie Damiani, benefits assistant, was hired from
Tiercon Coatings
where she was HR assistant and payroll and benefits
co-ordinator. She
has also held office and accounts positions with L. J. Barton
Inc and CanAmera Foods.

Melanie Sodtka, who joined McMaster as a
compensation analyst on Sept. 4, holds a BA in sociology and a
post-graduate certificate in human resources management. She
has held positions as a supply teacher (Niagara Catholic District
School Board (NCDSB)) and credit officer (Associates, London,
Ont)and completed an HR assistant internship at NCDSB.

New HR staff (left to right): Murray Lapp,
Anthony Celani, Melanie Sodtka, Melissa Sergiades, Wanda
McKenna, Anna Marie Damiani, and Susan Mitchell. (Photo: Ron Scheffler)