Contentious HR director officially gone - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Contentious HR director officially gone

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Posted: Sunday, September 9, 2007 5:06 am | Updated: 6:32 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Teri Traaen’s tumultuous tenure as Scottsdale’s human resources leader officially came to an end last week.

Traaen, whose department lost 21 employees during her 19 months in charge, resigned from day-to-day operations in February but continued to collect her $134,513 annual salary — or roughly $70,000 plus benefits — through Sept. 3 as part of a severance package that required her to produce four reports.

Traaen turned in the reports on ethics, health and wellness, retirement education and performance evaluations in April and May. The 136 total pages include program recommendations, action plans for 2007-08 and appendices.

Assistant city manager Neal Shearer, who has been the acting human resources general manager since February, said the reports have provided a solid foundation for city programs.

Shearer said the ethics report was used to help develop an online ethics training course for city employees that will be rolled out this fall. The health and wellness report included research that was used by an employee committee in creating a worker wellness program.

The city plans to move toward a more simplified and streamlined employee evaluation system, using recommendations made in Traaen’s report, Shearer said. He added the retirement education report will be utilized over at least the next year, but there has been no immediate result.

Shearer said the city is starting a national recruiting effort to fill Traaen’s position.

Since Traaen resigned, she acquired the business, Train the Organization, and in June founded Traaen & Associates, LLC.

During Traaen’s tenure, there were 21 departures from her 35-member department as reports of low morale and high turnover at City Hall became commonplace.

Traaen declined to comment last week on her time in Scottsdale, her department’s turnover or her resignation.

“I would never breach the confidentiality of any issue or item that occurred simply because it’s not the best practice in my industry,” said Traaen, an ethics researcher who is planning to release a book, her second, next year.

In her Feb. 26 resignation, Traaen said “the direction now sought for the (human resources) department is significantly different than that under which I was sourced to work, therefore it is best for me to pursue additional professional opportunities at this time.”


1. Develop plan for the design and implementation of the citywide Employee Ethics Training Program.

2. Develop a “wellness and health care” education campaign for 2007-08 that helps all health plan members.

3. Develop a “retirement education” program to ensure that employees who are planning retirement have the information and staff support needed to fully understand and successfully navigate the process..

4. Develop improved performance evaluation forms and instructions.

5. Create an executive summary to outline staff responsibilities

6. Be available during business hours to review this report and ongoing issues.

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