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By Todd Wildermuth
Public Information Officer
City of Roswell
It’s all about people. That’s why Jetta Miles enjoys what she does as Human Resources director for the City of Roswell. After all, it’s people, the employees, who keep the city running, and it’s her job to make sure those more than 600 city employees are taken care of.
Whether it is explaining job benefits, clarifying city policy on an employee issue, helping resolve a conflict between a supervisor and employee or tracking down the answers to a myriad of questions that can come up, Miles always looks forward to working with and getting to better know the staff who work in the various city departments.
“I enjoy being around people, whether it’s my co-workers (in Human Resources) or some stranger walking in and they’ve been out in the field all day,” says Miles. “It doesn’t matter. Everybody has their own story, where they’re coming from. And I enjoy meeting people that way.”
Working with her Human Resources staff of four, as well as the city’s Safety and Risk manager who works within the HR department, Miles makes it her priority to assist those people in any way she can.
“We are the liaison between the employees and all (city) departments, whatever one it might be,” Miles explains. “We are the ones employees come to for help.
“I’m the representative on the city side to the personnel, the employees. Our office is the one that employees come to for questions, resolution issues, those kinds of things.”
Unlike most city departments, Human Resources does not deal directly with the public very often. Its task is focused internally as Miles and her staff deal with the large roster of city workers, many of whom do have direct contact with the public on a frequent basis as they provide the city services to its citizens.
Meanwhile, Miles takes care of the city employees who take care of the public. Part of that includes making sure when new employees are hired as part of the municipal workforce that those doing the hiring for a given department are carrying out the procedure properly, in line with city policies that ensure every hiring is done in a consistent manner that keeps the process fair to all applicants.
“I’m the gatekeeper, if you will,” Miles says, “to make sure that when a department supervisor hires someone, that everything has been followed per procedure and policy.”
She has plenty of experience dealing with public-entity employee and hiring policies and regulations, having worked in the Human Resources Department of the Roswell Independent School District for 25 years before taking her current position with the City of Roswell a little more than four years ago. The Las Cruces native has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Personnel.
Miles notes many citizens she encounters in everyday life think she and others who work in Human Resources have an inside track to all sorts of information about the inner workings of the city and its elected leaders. That’s a misconception, she says.
“People think that HR knows everything that’s going on in the city – what’s the mayor doing, what’s the city council doing? We don’t,” she says. “We’re strictly dealing with employees.”
In her dealings with those employees day in and day out, Miles focuses on the fact she is dealing with many varied personalities and backgrounds, but each one is an important individual not just within the workings of the city, but, even more importantly, to his or her own family and friends.
“You have to have a servant’s heart. You have to want to help people regardless of what (issue) they’ve come into you with,” Miles says about what it takes to do well in her job. She sums it up by describing her mindset when dealing with an employee at any level, saying she always tries to “treat that person as the most important person in the world right then.”