Meadville Tribune

Local News

January 18, 2013

Retired Army colonel to lead county’s human resources department

MEADVILLE — A retired U.S. Army colonel, who was a director of the U.S. Army Human Resources Command, has been named the county’s new human resources director by the Crawford County Board of Commissioners.

At Thursday’s commissioners meeting, Mark F. Lessig of Conneaut Lake was named to the position, effective Feb. 4. He’s the first full-time director for the county, which has about 500 full-time employees.

Lessig will be responsible for job classification, compensation, pension administration, employee recruitment and selection, labor relations, personnel policies and procedures, training and development, records and system management, employee relations and performance management.

“It’s a fantastic thing for the county,” Francis Weiderspahn, commissioner chairman, said following Thursday’s meeting. “He’ll work on job descriptions and give direction to department heads. He’ll develop (personnel) policies for the departments.”

The county currently doesn’t have written job descriptions or policies for many of its positions.

“He blew us away during the interviews with his experience,” said Jody Marley, the county’s chief financial officer.

Lessig was out of town Thursday and unavailable for comment.

The Crawford County Salary Board set Lessig’s pay at $54,000 annually but with no health care insurance. Lessig declined the county’s health care package since he has benefits from his Army retirement, Marley said.

The county had estimated the salary range for the post at $45,000 to $54,000 plus benefits. Lessig’s salary was set at the high end of the range based on his experience and professional certifications.

Lessig comes to the position with 30 years of leadership and human capital management experience, according to county officials.

He served as director at U.S. Army Human Resources Command based at Fort Knox, Ky., from July 2008 through November 2011.

According to his resume, Lessig led a team of 800 human resources specialists responsible for human capital and talent management of 133,000 Army officers. Lessig planned and carried out the distribution of officers to meet Army requirements. Lessig also developed a senior leader communication plan between U.S. Army Human Resources Command and the Army’s senior Leaders and officer corps; the first Army-wide talent management system; and a prototype, multifaceted Army officer evaluation report system. Lessig also led union negotiations while moving U.S. Army Human Resources Command from Virginia to Kentucky.

His other previous experience includes serving as deputy director of the Defense Information Agency in Washington, D.C., from May 2006 through June 2008; division chief of U.S. Army Human Resources Command, Alexandria, Va., July 2003 through July 2005; and as battalion commander in Germany and Iraq from June 2001 through June 2003.

He’s a 1981 graduate of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s in economics/business; a 1998 graduate of Webster University with a master’s in telecommunications management; and a 2006 graduate of National Defense University with a master’s in national resources strategy.

Lessig was one of three candidates given formal interviews by a search committee and was one of six who applied for the position.

The county’s human resources functions previously had been part of the chief financial officer’s duties when Robyn Sye served in that role. She left the county’s post at the end of 2011 to take an accounting job with the State Correctional Institution at Cambridge Springs.

After Sye’s departure, the county formed a financial advisory committee that looked at the county’s financial systems and operations. The committee recommended the county split its fiscal and human resources functions into separate departments.

The fiscal and human resources operations separated last summer, with Marley named chief financial officer. Marley had been the chief financial officer at the county’s Human Services Department.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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