As the city of Statesboro’s human resources director for the past seven years and 10 months, Jeffery Grant has conducted numerous job searches. Now his own job has appeared in the list of vacancies.
Grant’s last scheduled day at Statesboro City Hall is Friday as he steps up to be human resources director for the city of Savannah beginning March 12. He is leaving a city government with a few more than 300 employees for the job with the same title in one with about 2,400 employees.
When he started as Statesboro’s city H.R. director in 2010, Grant was the only member of the department. Now it also includes Senior Human Resources Coordinator Flavia Starling, Human Resources Coordinator Krystina Johnson and Executive Assistant Dorsey Baldwin, although Baldwin is also executive assistant to the city manager, deputy manager and city attorney.
“It was a team,” Grant said last week. “I have a great team, Flavia and Dorsey and Krystina, whatever we accomplished, we did it. We worked as a team together to move those things along.”
In Savannah, Grant will head a human resources department with 15 other employees, three of whom will report directly to him.
A job notice, posted last fall by the management consulting firm The Mercer Group, described Savannah’s city human resources director as a key member of the city manager’s leadership team. “The ideal candidate will demonstrate the ability to embrace change and help guide the City through significant organizational restructuring,” the notice stated.
Larger salary tooGrant acknowledged that he looks forward to working for the larger city. “They’re moving forward, you know, that’s the theme there, ‘Savannah Forward,’ and it’s exciting to be able to be a part of that and assist in helping the city itself move forward.” “Savanah Forward” is the title of the current strategic plan for Georgia’s oldest city. Savannah’s notice also stated that the expected annual pay range was $95,000 to $120,000. Grant declined to say what salary offer he accepted, but it is clearly an increase. The city of Statesboro’s notice for the position he is leaving states the “rate of pay” as $66,916.85 but notes that actual pay may depend on experience.
Here, Grant worked with all of the city’s departments and essentially all of its employees, he said. Besides recruitment and hiring, the human resources staff deals with workers’ compensation and safety, employee benefits, health and wellness, job classification and pay, employee relations, training and professional development.
On the pay and job classification aspect, he and other staff members sought a compensation study, performed by the consulting firm Evergreen Solutions LLC in early 2016, that compared Statesboro city employees’ pay to those of 14 other public employers, including eight other cities from Dublin to Savannah.
This resulted in Statesboro City Council’s adoption of a new pay plan and approval of raises, phased in during the past two fiscal years, for most employees.
More recently, Grant reported to the council during its debate on a proposed change in the local broker for the city’s partially self-insured employee health plan. A majority of council members ultimately rejected the staff recommendation.
On the often lighter side of employee wellness, he informed the mayor and council of the results of city-sponsored fun runs and a fitness challenge that used wrist-worn digital fitness trackers to count employees’ steps.
He was often involved in presenting employee awards.
“When you build up the people, I believe that’s what makes the organization go and grow and be effective and be efficient,” Grant said last week. “I feel like my time investing in individuals, that’s what I’m most proud of, because at the end of the day, projects change, policies can be revised, but the thing that stands the test of time and stays beyond your tenure is the time that you invest in people.”
He is active in the Society for Human Resource Management and was 2014-16 president of the Statesboro Area SHRM Chapter.
Born in Toronto, Canada, Grant moved with his parents to Atlanta, where he completed his last two years of high school before coming to Georgia Southern University in Statesboro as a student in 1998. He attained a bachelor’s degree in business management with an emphasis in human resource management and worked first for the university and then for Advantage Resourcing before coming to work for the city.
He is now studying for a Master of Business Administration from Kennesaw State University through the Georgia WebMBA program.
For now, Grant and his wife, Erica Grant, and children Jeffery II and Victoria remain Statesboro residents. He will be commuting until the school year ends, but the Grants will move to Savannah this summer, he said.
Grant said he feels that he will be leaving behind other family, his Statesboro co-workers.
“It has been an honor and privilege to serve the City employees and residents of our great city,” he emailed. “I want to thank all of the professional and dedicated employees for their tireless work on behalf of the residents and businesses of Statesboro. I’ve enjoyed my time here, and each employee has played a part in that. They have been the best part of working here.”
Statesboro’s notice gives Friday as the deadline for receiving H.R. director applications.