Chief Human Resources Officer

Alexandria, VA
$127,634.86 - $228,571.70 Annually
Jul 06, 2022
Jul 26, 2022
Human Resources
Full Time
A World-Class Opportunity
The City of Alexandria, Virginia is recruiting nationally for an innovative and dynamic Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) who is a proven leader, change agent, and collaborator with the highest ethical standards. The City of Alexandria is progressive and strategic in its approach to conducting business, managing people, and serving its citizens. Please apply if you want to be part of a team-based organization and culture that values dedication, hard work, and results.

The Community
The City of Alexandria is located in northern Virginia across the Potomac River from the District of Columbia and is bordered by Arlington and Fairfax counties. With a population of approximately 150,000 and a land area of 16 square miles, Alexandria is the seventh-largest city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Alexandria is a unique and historic place experiencing substantial urban redevelopment due to high market demand for urban living in a quality environment. Although the City is part of a larger metropolitan area that includes the Nation’s Capital, it has retained its historic character. About one-quarter of the City’s 16 square miles has been designated a national or local historic district. Thousands of buildings in these districts are monuments to the past while being actively used by citizens for homes, businesses, and museums.

The City is racially and ethnically diverse, with approximately one-quarter of the City’s residents foreign-born. Students at the City’s single public high school come from 88 countries and speak 69 languages. Overall, Black and African Americans comprise approximately 22 percent of the residential population, Hispanic or Latinos constitute over 16 percent, and Asians constitute almost 6 percent. In 1988, the City amended its Human Rights Ordinance by adding sexual orientation as a protected class. In 2001, it became the first city in Virginia to adopt a living wage ordinance for its employees and service contractors. Alexandria has one of the highest per capita incomes and one of the highest higher education attainment levels in the United States. Alexandria was founded almost 50 years before the District of Columbia. In 2020 City Council unanimously passed the All Alexandria referendum with the goal of reducing and eliminating disparities and inequities experienced by City residents. The City’s Old and Historic District is the third oldest historic preservation district in the U.S. Historic landmarks include the recently opened Freedom House, which honors the lives and experiences of the enslaved and free Black people, Christ Church, where famous Virginians worshiped; and Gadsby’s Tavern, a meeting place visited by Lafayette and George Washington. In addition to its historic sites, Alexandria includes a variety of attractions. One of the metropolitan area’s largest concentrations of international restaurants can be found in Old Town. The Torpedo Factory Art Center, located on the City’s waterfront, provides an opportunity for the public to meet more than 200 professional artists. The City’s Farmers Market, at 261 years old, is the nation’s oldest farmers market that has been meeting continuously at the same site, Market Square. The City’s Del Ray/Rosemont areas offer beautiful tree-lined streets, eclectic shops, and various annual community events. The City’s West End is filled with vibrant neighborhoods and will be the site of a new Landmark Center, which will serve as a major residential, shopping, and dining attraction.

Alexandria is home to over 12,000 thriving businesses and organizations, which includes a significant representation of technology companies, the fourth-largest concentration of professional and trade associations in the country, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and a tourism industry that hosts nearly 3.3 million visitors and brings in over $700 million in visitor spending each year. A new headquarters for the National Science Foundation and its 2,100 employees opened in 2017, and Virginia Tech will open its innovation campus in Alexandria near National Landing, the site of Amazon’s second headquarters.

The Organization
Alexandria has had a strong tradition of self-government since its founding in 1749. It is an independent city (Virginia cities have no county affiliation) and derives its governing authority from a Charter granted by the Virginia General Assembly. Virginia is a Dillon Rule state, which means that local governments have only the authority expressly granted to them by the Virginia Constitution or by the Virginia General Assembly in the City Charter or general law.

The City adopted the Council-Manager form of government in 1922. The City's governing body is the City Council, which formulates policies for the administration of the City. The City Council is composed of a Mayor and six Council Members elected at-large on a partisan basis for a three-year term (not staggered). The Mayor is chosen on a separate ballot and presides over sessions of the Council. Legislative sessions of the City Council are held on Tuesday evenings twice per month except in August. Public hearings, which focus largely on land use and development decisions, are held on one Saturday per month when Council is in session, allowing citizens an opportunity to speak on matters that concern them, especially relating to land use. In addition, there are about 80 City Boards and Commissions with Council-appointed citizen representation. These bodies compose a formal system through which citizens can advise City Council on major issues. Boards and commissions are responsible to City Council, and Council makes appointments at their regular legislative meetings.

The City Council appoints the City Manager, who serves as the City’s CEO. The City Manager has appointment and removal authority over most City personnel. The City Manager is responsible for implementing the policies established by the City Council. The City Manager, James F. Parajon was appointed on December 1, 2021, after the retirement of City Manager Mark Jinks. The City provides a comprehensive range of municipal services, including land use planning, education, health, welfare, housing, and human services programs; public safety and administration of justice; community development, recreation, library, consumer assistance, cultural and historic activities, and transportation and environmental services. The City budget provides for approximately 2,400 full-time employees, excluding school employees. The City of Alexandria’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 approved All Funds Operating Budget is $ 839.2 million. The FY2023- FY2033 approved Capital Improvement Program (CIP) is over $2.7 billion.

The Department of Human Resources
The Human Resources Department’s primary role is to provide services related to human resources management to all City employees in an efficient and customer service-focused manner. The Human Resources Department provides services to job applicants and City departments to achieve the selection, development, and retention of a workforce that can provide the highest quality services to the community.
The Human Resources Department is responsible for the following functions:
  • Employee Relations;
  • Training and Development;
  • Classification and Compensation;
  • Employee Recruitment and Selection; and
  • Employee Benefits and Records.
The Department has twenty-seven employees divided into three divisions: Strategy and Operations; Employee Relations, Talent Acquisition, and L&D; and Employee Benefits, Compensation, and Systems, including an operating budget of $5.2 million.

The Position
The City values employees who support the City Council’s priorities of equity, environmental justice, civility, transparency, respect, and service. The CHRO is to lead the City, through the functional areas of the Human Resources Department, to achieve employee recruitment, retention, and workforce satisfaction that support and celebrate these values. The CHRO works under the general direction of a Deputy City Manager with the active participation of the City Manager in human resource policy direction and development.

The CHRO plans, directs, and administers all activities in the Human Resources Department, such as planning, directing, organizing, and implementing comprehensive City-wide human resources and complex analytical tasks in support of a centralized human resource function in the system areas of recruitment, selection, employment, employee relations, classification, compensation, equal employment opportunity, training, and benefits.

The CHRO is responsible for providing leadership in developing and executing human resources strategy that supports the strategic direction of the City government organization-wide. This includes recruiting, developing, and retaining a high-quality workforce capable of delivering public services in a complex and stimulating community environment. Through thoughtful planning and accountability for work execution, the Human Resources Department must focus on the critical needs of both the organization and employees. The ideal candidate will understand and work to focus on:
  • Collective Bargaining - Virginia now allows collective bargaining, and the City is engaged in initial discussions with bargaining units. While collective bargaining experience will be helpful, the successful candidate will have the skills to connect and negotiate with a wide range of employees and stakeholders;
  • Talent - The CHRO must focus on attracting and retaining talent. The City values employees who value an organization that prioritizes the City Council’s priorities of equity, environmental justice, civility, transparency, respect, and service. The successful CHRO for the City will be able to lead by this example; and
  • Understand/Lead/Respect/Support internal customers - The successful CHRO for the City will be comfortable strengthening central policies and support while finding flexible solutions for emerging personnel issues with departments. The role is part departmental consultant, part strategy shaper, and part employee champion. The role balances the need to protect the City from risk while ensuring the City’s workforce reflects organizational values.
The Ideal Candidate
Candidates for this position should be exceptional leaders and teambuilders, capable of planning and directing the services of this Department and coordinating efforts with other divisions and City departments within a sophisticated, fast-paced environment.
The ideal candidate will be of the highest integrity and genuinely committed to respecting employees, responsive to organizational needs, and open and honest in all internal and external relationships. The desired candidate will be known for using proactive, forward-thinking, and creative methods in planning for workforce development. The selected candidate must be capable of managing a team responsible for highly complex issues and be curious and action-oriented.

The ideal candidate must have the ability to build relationships, be flexible, and work in a team-oriented matrix organization. Exceptional oral/public speaking and written communication skills are needed; the CHRO will be called upon to make presentations clearly and credibly before employee groups, citizen groups, committees, councils, media, and management staff at all levels. In addition, the successful CHRO recognizes and adapts to the audience to ensure that concepts are easily understood and visualized. An individual who knows when to take an entrepreneurial approach to problem-solving is preferred. A hands-on approach and willingness to lead by example are required.

The successful candidate will ensure inclusiveness and tactfulness when presenting their opinions. This position requires a person with curiosity and enthusiasm, capable of operating with independence and initiative while remaining aligned with the policy direction of the City Manager. The ideal candidate must exhibit a great deal of political savvy and sensitivity.

Education and Experience
Education: Requires a bachelor’s degree with major coursework in public administration, human resources or project management, business administration, employee relations, industrial psychology, or a related field. Experience can be considered in lieu of specific coursework requirements. A master’s degree will be considered if needed to show knowledge of public administration.

Experience: A minimum of five years of substantial management experience in various areas of personnel or human capital, project management, and teambuilding is preferred. Experience in a full-service city or county is desirable, as is working with an elected board or commission.

Appropriate Professional Credentials: Certification(s) from professional human resources organizations are preferred but not required.

Review and Evaluation of Qualifications: Working with Ralph Andersen & Associates, the City of Alexandria will give serious consideration to all qualified candidates that apply who have considerable supervisory experience, a solid understanding of technology, and a proven track record of success. The review and evaluation of qualifications will be at the discretion of the City, based on the most appropriate combination of experience, curiosity and education that provides the knowledge, skills, and abilities required by the position and that fits the needs of the City of Alexandria.

The successful candidate will receive a highly competitive salary with an excellent executive benefit package. The salary range for this position is extremely competitive and dependent upon the qualifications and experience of the selected candidate. In addition, benefits are provided, which include: annual leave, holidays, and sick leave; a retirement plan; health insurance, dental plan, life insurance, and long-term disability insurance; optional deferred compensation; credit union membership; sick leave bank; and an employee assistance program.

The Selection Process
Interested candidates may apply by sending their resume, cover letter, and six professional references to Ralph Andersen & Associates via .

Candidates are requested to submit materials prior to Monday, July 25, 2022. Candidates may be asked to complete a series of written responses for further evaluation and presentation and submit a summary of career accomplishments as part of the final steps of the selection process. Ideally, the selected candidate will join the City of Alexandria at a mutually agreed-upon date.

Interested individuals should be aware that Ralph Andersen & Associates will work closely with the City throughout this process to fully ensure confidentiality possible. References will not be contacted until mutual interest has been established. If you have questions or would like to discuss this opportunity further, please call Mr. Robert Burg at (916) 630-4900.
The City of Alexandria is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Drug-Free Workplace.

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