Human Resources Director

City of Suffolk, Virginia, United States | Full-time


The Position

The City of Suffolk is seeking a passionate Human Resources (HR) professional to lead the Department of Human Resources (Department) in becoming a trusted strategic business partner by improving service delivery and helping to reshape the City’s policies and workforce for the future. The next Human Resources Director will have the opportunity to work in a vibrant, fiscally strong city while building and promoting future leaders and empowering employees.

The Director of Human Resources is a key member of the City Manager's Executive Leadership Team with responsibility for driving HR and Risk Management best practices and initiatives to provide strategic direction and expertise for the full scope of employee relation functions.

Reporting directly to the City Manager, the Director of HR will develop and execute the HR strategy for the City of Suffolk. This role will provide HR advisory and development guidance with regard to risk management, Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS), employee benefits, complex policy development and interpretation, leadership, coaching, employee relations, talent acquisition, engagement, culture, compensation, organizational design and change, performance management, and learning and development. The HR Director serves as the City's liaison to outside organizations and agencies involved in City employee matters while leading, assessing, mentoring, and supporting team members to ensure daily HR operations are handled appropriately, ensuring legal compliance, and supporting the City's values, mission, goals, and strategy.

The Director collaborates directly with staff while also fostering a climate of trust and credibility. The Director facilitates training on diversity, equity, and inclusion and is dedicated to progressing a workforce that values opportunity for all. In collaboration with other City Departments, the Director develops outcomes, metrics, and goals that ensure accountability towards equitable delivery of City services that support our connection to the community.


  • Develop and maintain positive working relationships with City leadership, Department directors, and other key staff. Listen and learn about the current operations of the City and the needs of the Departments.
  • Embrace designing the future of Human Resources – with a strategic partner focus, develop a plan and lead the necessary change and transformation to modernize the Department.
  • Address and provide oversight regarding the ongoing implementation of IT systems such as Munis and new modules in NEOGOV.
  • Balance the strategic vision with a continued focus on ensuring compliance within each individual Department and improving the transactional services of the HR Department.
  • Work to streamline processes, simplify decision-making, identify opportunities for efficiency, and drive uniformity in business endeavors, all through an equitable focus.
  • Actively champion and support the City’s emerging diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
  • Foster a welcoming and collaborative organizational culture. Create opportunities for employee engagement, growth, and development with a focus on programs that support retention, building and promoting future leaders, and empowering employees.

The Successful Candidate

The next Director of Human Resources is an approachable and highly competent leader who thrives in change management roles and values fostering leadership at all levels. The ideal candidate will understand the complexities of municipal government service delivery and governance and will be able to apply HR principles to departments with different needs and circumstances while upholding fairness and integrity.

The ideal candidate has exceptional communication skills and will value facilitating clear communication across the organization. The next Director of Human Resources is fully committed to progressive and strategic management practices, can manage multiple projects at the same time, delegate appropriately, and will help staff prioritize to achieve both day-to-day and long-term objectives.

The next Director of Human Resources will have a strong foundation in core human resources services, including compliance, classification and compensation, benefits, risk management, employee relations, training and development, performance management, safety and wellness, records and data management, and can help instill innovation in each of these areas.

The next Director will be technologically savvy, with experience in navigating HRIS and ensuring the proper functionality for the City’s workforce needs.

The successful candidate also has strong leadership and coaching skills, with the proven ability to motivate employees and foster a collaborative work environment. This Director will serve as an internal consultant to City leaders concerning human resources and workforce best practices, programs, and initiatives. The ideal candidate will be a model of integrity and will proactively address workplace challenges and opportunities, providing leadership in diversity and inclusion, and pushing the City to continuously improve its service through employees and systems, with a strong emphasis on staff development and employee engagement.


Minimum requirements include a bachelor's degree in human resource management or a closely related field and ten (10) years of progressively responsible human resources leadership experience in public personnel administration and management. Experience should include demonstrated experience managing a full and comprehensive human resources program for a municipal structure or similar organization and extensive experience in developing and implementing strategic plans or any equivalent combination of education, training, and experience which provides the required knowledge, skills, and abilities to effectively perform the duties of the City's Human Resources Director.

This is not a remote-work position.

Preferred qualifications include a master’s degree, at least five (5) years of public sector HR experience, and knowledge of high-performing organization (HPO) principles and a strong customer-oriented delivery model. Demonstrated expertise in policy development, employee relations, providing vision and building a diversity, equity, and inclusion program, and implementation of modules in an HRIS. SPHR, SHRM-SCP, and IPMA-SCP certifications are also preferred. If the successful applicant does not have any of these certifications, they will be expected to receive one certification within the first 18 months of employment.

Inside The Organization

The City of Suffolk is organized under a Council/Manager form of government. Eight elected officials sit on City Council to form the legislative and policy-making body of the City Government. A City Manager serves as the Chief Executive Officer, overseeing the daily operations of the City and administration of the City Government.

The Department of Human Resources is an integrated team of professionals that provides support to the City Manager and City Departments in the recruitment, hiring, development, and retention of employees. These services are provided through data collection, needs projection, recruitment, selection, retention, general training, advice to management, and review of human resources policies and procedures. The Department oversees ongoing programs related to employee health and welfare, employee recognition, and employee relations with internal and external customers.

The City has approximately 1,500 employees (full-time equivalents) and has no unions. The HR department’s team includes 21 full-time and two part-time staff with an annual operating budget of approximately $1.8 million (FY 2022-23 adopted budget). The Director has five direct reports which include the Assistant Director, HRIS Manager, Employee Relations Consultant, Risk Manager, and Training Manager.

Human Resources’ Fiscal Year 23 Objectives are to:

  • Hire and retain qualified and engaged employees that are committed to serving the needs of Suffolk citizens.
  • Create a diverse and empowered workforce that makes contributions to and understands the City’s mission.
  • Provide learning opportunities that contribute to the growth and development of all employees.
  • Launch a compensation strategy that simplifies pay structures and processes.
  • Improve service delivery and quality in all Human Resources programs.

The Community

Located in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area, Suffolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is the ninth most populous city in the state of Virginia and the largest by boundary land area.

Suffolk is a vibrant and fiscally strong community leading the region in advancements in education, comprehensive transportation, public safety, and diverse economic growth while continuing to preserve its rural heritage and enhancing its neighborhood and urban centers. Home to over 95,000 residents, citizens and tourists alike enjoy Suffolk’s range of recreational outdoor activities, such as parks, marinas, and historical sites, and the revitalized downtown featuring diverse shopping and dining, as well as cultural and educational opportunities. There are numerous trails for walking, bicycling, and horseback riding, as well as four golf courses.

Suffolk’s up-and-coming arts and culture scene has developed into the perfect blend of local, regional, and national artisans through visual art, theatre, dance, music, and more. Suffolk opens a gateway for artists and those who appreciate their craft. A sense of harmony and pride permeates this rare community, where crime is low; where schools are cutting edge; where people and goods move safely and efficiently throughout the City; and where citizens receive valuable services and have opportunities to be engaged.

Suffolk is a desired destination of the Hampton Roads Region. Neighboring communities of Suffolk include Smithfield, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Newport News, and historical Williamsburg, all of which also host a complementary abundance of cultural and scenic American heritage.

Quick Facts

  • Population: 94,324
  • Median Household Income: $81,833
  • Median Home Value: $296,655
  • Median Age: 38

All demographic information was sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Compensation and Benefits

The expected hiring range is $100,000-$170,000, depending on qualifications.

Benefits offered include the following:

Retirement (Virginia Retirement System employer) for employees hired on or after 1/1/14 – Hybrid Members

Hybrid plan members contribute 4 percent of creditable compensation to the defined benefit plan and 1 percent to the defined contribution plan each month. Members may voluntarily contribute up to an additional 4 percent in 0.5 percent increments to the defined contribution plan each month. Members can increase or decrease their voluntary contributions on a quarterly basis. With the mandatory and voluntary contributions to the defined contribution component of the plan, members can contribute a maximum of 5 percent with a 3.5 percent match from the employer. Members invest in various investment options that best fit their needs.

Vested after 5 years in the defined benefit part of the plan. Vested in phases based on years in the Defined Contribution part of the Plan. The retirement eligibility for a full or reduced retirement pension in the Hybrid Plan is very detailed. Please contact the Virginia Retirement System or the Human Resources Department for details.

Paid Time Off (PTO)

Yearly earnings 120 Hours (1-59 months), 144 Hours (60-119 months), 168 Hours (120-179 months), 192 hours (180 and over)

Sick Leave

Part-time employees earn 4 hours per month sick leave accrues at the end of the month and may be accrued with no ceiling.

Personal Leave

All regular full-time employees are granted 24 hours of personal leave each calendar year. Personal leave must be preapproved and is not cumulative.

Health Insurance

Coverage available for you and your eligible dependents using pre-tax payroll deductions if elected.

Supplemental Insurances

Employees may purchase the following supplemental insurance policies: short-term and long-term disability, cancer, accident, supplemental hospitalization, and group universal life insurance.

Employer-Sponsored Short-Term and Long-Term Disability

Provides disability coverage for employees' work and nonwork-related disabilities. Work-related disabilities are covered starting on day one (1). Nonwork-related disabilities are covered starting on day eight (8) after you have been employed for one year.

Flexible Spending Accounts

Employees may participate in the Health Reimbursement, Dependent Care Reimbursement, and Premium Reimbursement Accounts. All deductions are made on a pre-tax basis and will reduce your taxable income.

Life Insurance

The City pays the entire premium for life insurance coverage in the amount of 2 times the annual salary for natural death and 4 times the annual salary for accidental death.

Optional Life Insurance

Employees have the option of electing additional life insurance coverage in the amount of 1, 2, 3, or 4 times their annual salary. Employees may only purchase optional life insurance on spouses and children if they are enrolled in optional life insurance for themselves.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

12 weeks of job-protected leave for leaves approved in accordance with the Family Medical Leave Act. Employees receive continuation of health insurance, job protection, and consideration for a comparable job when available, or an equivalent job, upon return to work.

Funeral Leave

24 hours of paid leave of absence in case of death in the immediate family.


Suffolk follows the Virginia State holiday calendar as set by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Jury Duty

Time off with pay with a difference between jury pay and regular pay or use annual leave and keep check.

457 Deferred Compensation, ROTH IRA, Traditional IRA

Offered through ICMA Retirement Corporation as a way to shelter a portion of your salary from income taxes and save for retirement.

Employee Assistance Program

Offers employees and immediate family members (3) free, confidential counseling sessions related to a broad range of issues such as marital or family conflict, job or personal stress, alcohol or drug abuse, financial or legal worries, etc.

Worker's Compensation

Should an employee have an on-the-job injury, he/she could be eligible for Workmen's Compensation Benefits, except in cases of willful neglect.

Pay Days

Employees will be paid on the 15th and last working day of each month.

Legal Services

Employees may prepay for access to legal assistance.

Notary Public Services

Services available in the Human Resources Department.

Alternative Work Schedule

For some positions – Offers 4 Alternative Work Schedule options.

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted electronically by Raftelis at Applicants complete a brief online form and are prompted to provide a cover letter and resume. The position will be open until filled with the first review of applications beginning February 10, 2023.


Please direct questions to Catherine Tuck Parrish at and Kelsey Batt at

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