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County HR director rescinds resignation

Published: Thursday, May 22, 2014 8:49 p.m. CDT

MORRIS – Grundy County’s Human Resource Director Debra Johnson says she is not going anywhere.

Johnson announced her resignation internally to County Board members Wednesday morning, but officially rescinded her resignation Thursday.

“I just officially rescinded my resignation. I am staying at the county,” Johnson wrote in an email sent Thursday afternoon.

Johnson did not share her reasoning for her original resignation.

Johnson had sent a previous email to board members Wednesday notifying them of her intentions to resign and included her proposed last day.

Before officially withdrawing her resignation Thursday, she told the Morris Daily Herald she was reconsidering her resignation and planned on extending the date of her last day.

It was not immediately clear why Johnson decided to stay, but Grundy County Board Chairman Ron Severson said he and members of the county’s administration staff spoke with Johnson for hours Wednesday and Thursday, trying to mend any problems.

“There’s still some issues that need to be tied up, but I think she’s going to stay,” Severson said Thursday afternoon. “I’m glad because I’ve had these meetings with other employees and I don’t like to see employees go.”

Severson said he has asked Johnson to “at least think about this overnight” before she makes any final decisions, but it appears Johnson has officially decided to stay with the county.

Johnson’s decision to leave came after she was involved in heated public debate about switching the county’s insurance brokers.

The county’s move to switch brokers from Morris-based Northern Insurance to Rockford-based Williams-Manny was discussed in great length at previous County Board and personnel committee meetings throughout the last month.

Johnson initially proposed switching brokers after encountering communication and professionalism issues with Northern’s broker, she said. Grundy County Personnel Committee Chairwoman Vicki Geiger and several personnel members also said they experienced issues with Northern’s broker.

At this month’s County Board meeting, the county’s original Northern Insurance broker made accusations about Johnson and other members of the personnel committee, claiming they weren’t treating Northern professionally as the county’s “broker of record.”

He also accused Johnson of rushing the process of switching brokers without giving Northern time to address the board.

Johnson and Geiger denied the accusations and presented emails showing Johnson made Northern aware of the county’s intentions to look at other brokers as early as March.

Northern sent another broker to the most-recent personnel committee meeting in an effort to offer improved communication, but the committee still voted to hire Williams-Manny in a 6-1 vote.

The board’s latest decision was to delay the full board vote on the broker change to allow for further research.

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