STATUS (full/part):


City of Milwaukee

Employee Relations Director


Milwaukee, Wisconsin


$112,903 - $147,335 annually, and the resident incentive salary for City of Milwaukee residents is $116,290 - $147,335.


Located on the western shore of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is an urban hub bursting with energy. Milwaukee provides a casual sophistication – big city appeal without the big-city hassles. We are accessible and affordable, and our residents are welcoming. Milwaukee brings together its unsurpassed old-world charm with a breathtaking art museum, top-flight arts and cultural attractions, professional sports, lakefront festivals, recreational opportunities and great restaurants.


The City of Milwaukee invites candidates with strong leadership acumen and human resources expertise to apply for this exceptional, executive-level opportunity. The Employee Relations Director serves as the City’s chief human resources officer and provides oversight and direction over the City’s civil service system, onboarding, classification and compensation, pay and benefit administration, employee training and development, compliance, safety, grievance administration, and employee relations matters. The Director is responsible for advising the Mayor and members of the cabinet regarding employment matters, regulatory compliance, and for implementing best practices that support the delivery of quality and timely essential city services. The position serves as the Executive Secretary of the City Service Commission and works collaboratively with two other cabinet-level positions within DER, the City Labor Negotiator and the Employee Benefits Director, also appointed by the Mayor and subject to Common Council approval.


Leadership Responsibilities and Strategic Partnerships

    • Provide direction and guidance to a staff of 42 employees performing human resources functions and activities; ensure the use and implementation of best practices and the adherence to policies and procedures that are legally compliant and applied equitably and uniformly.
    • Develop and maintain collaborative relationships with cabinet members, policy makers, and elected officials, and provide guidance and direction on employment matters.
    • Serve as a resource to managers and human resource professionals Citywide relative to employment matters; provide advice, counsel, and support relative to hiring, training, development, discipline, compensation, and interpretation and implementation of related laws, ordinances, and best practices.
    • Develop and maintain positive and collaborative relationships with labor representatives and employee groups, and ensure employee relations concerns and questions are resolved in the best interest of the City.
    • Ensure that policy makers and elected officials are apprised of critical and sensitive human resources issues of concern; make sound recommendations to address priorities, and ensure implementation considerations are addressed in a streamlined and equitable manner.

Program Management and Compliance

    • Promote and ensure City-wide compliance with employment-related federal and state laws, local ordinances (e.g., Chapter 350), and civil service regulations.
    • Ensure complaints related to potential violations of City policies and procedures and other employment regulations are investigated in a fair, timely, and competent manner.
    • Work with the City Attorney’s Office to ensure that City policies and procedures are compliant with applicable regulations and to adapt practices and protocols in response to changing priorities.
    • Serve as the Executive Secretary of the Milwaukee City Service Commission, ensuring the integrity of selection, classification, and disciplinary functions enumerated within the Rules and Wisconsin State Statues and that performance of these functions is consistent with best practices.
    • Oversee compensation services, including classification, pay administration, performance management programs, and Salary Ordinance preparation and maintenance.
    • Collaborate with Employee Benefits Director in the design, implementation, and overall management of benefits design and administration, including medical and dental insurance, employee wellness and long-term disability insurance, and employee safety programs and worker's compensation.
    • Direct staffing services, including recruitment, selection, certification, workforce development, and succession planning; ensure all staffing activities are performed in a manner that ensures equity, quality, and efficiency.
    • Ensure the provision of organizational development, training, and diversity and cultural inclusion activities Citywide.
    • Collaborate with the City Labor Negotiator relative to policy issues that impact Citywide human resources practices, compensation, and benefits.

Administrative and Fiscal

    • Oversee the creation of the annual budget and prioritize resource allocation and realign resources based on City priorities.
    • Serve as the department’s spokesperson for the City on employee relations issues.
    • Represent and share the administration’s position and recommendations with key stakeholders.
    • Track and monitor performance management metrics, and work with senior management team to ensure accurate and timely reporting of deliverables.
    • Work with the Budget and Management Division to identify operational and program management priorities impacting the City’s finances, and work to identify solutions.
    • Prepare language for legislative changes and provisions to implement key management initiatives.
    • Serve as a liaison between the administrative and operating departments on employee relations issues.
    • Advise policymakers, including the Mayor, alderpersons, and commissions, regarding human resources-related issues.
    • Represent the City before legislative and other policy bodies on issues concerning employee relations and other matters relevant to the City's interests.
    • Recommend City employee relations policies and practices to elected officials and related boards and commissions, and oversee implementation and achievement of deliverables. 



  1. Bachelor’s degree in human resources management, industrial or labor relations, public administration, or a related field from an accredited college or university.
  2. Five years of human resources-focused experience in a leadership position (e.g., director or manager), preferably in the public sector.
  3. Valid Wisconsin driver’s license at time of appointment and throughout employment.

Equivalent combinations of education and experience may also be considered.

IMPORTANT NOTE: College transcripts are required and must be emailed as an attachment to by the application closing date and time. Student/unofficial copies are acceptable; however, your transcript must be legible and include your college/university name, your name, the degree completed and the date completed.


Leadership Skills

    • Strong executive leadership and managerial skills.
    • Ability to provide operational oversight in the areas of strategic planning, budgeting and finance, communications, organizational performance, contracts, resource allocation, customer service, and safety.
    • Ability to be proactive and collaborative.
    • Ability to build and retain a diverse and culturally inclusive organization.
    • Ability to bring teams together to meet the objectives of the community and department.
    • Ability to foster an environment of inclusion wherein all associates are treated respectfully, are valued for their strengths, and feel that they can safely express themselves.
    • Vision, imagination, initiative, passion, and flexibility.

Technical Knowledge

    • Knowledge of best practices in public sector human resources, including employee relations, compensation, employee benefits, recruitment and selection, employee development, and workers’ compensation and safety.
    • Knowledge of factors that impact human resources, such as the economic climate and societal issues.
    • Knowledge of the capabilities of information technology to transform and enhance operations and services.
    • Ability to read and understand complex documents such as laws, policies, and technical publications.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills

    • Excellent oral communication skills and interpersonal ability to be able to work collaboratively with elected officials, colleagues, staff, professionals, academics, community groups, and the public.
    • Ability to effectively represent the department before public bodies and the media.
    • Superior written communication skills to compose well-crafted policies, narratives, reports, articles, presentations, and correspondence.

Critical Thinking Skills

    • Skill in data and information analysis and interpretation.
    • Critical thinking and planning skills.
    • Ability to analyze and solve complex problems.
    • Decision-making skills and sound judgment.
    • Organizational skills to be able to effectively oversee workflow processes.


    • Ability to provide responsible stewardship of City resources and to represent the City of Milwaukee professionally and ethically.
    • Ability to manage competing priorities and challenges under pressure.
    • Ability to maintain the utmost confidentiality regarding all aspects of the role.


Please be advised that new employees are required to have received either both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine prior to their employment start date or have an approved religious or medical accommodation prior to their employment start date.



Screening for this position will be based on an evaluation of each applicant’s education, experience, and professional accomplishments, which should be detailed in a cover letter and resume.

  • Please send the following via email to by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, March 28, 2022:

1.      cover letter

2.      resume

3.      college transcripts

  • Please indicate “Employee Relations Director” in the subject line.
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