Sunday, January 3, 2010


The business of the Human Resources Department is Customer Service. We provide a wide range of services to employees and citizens of the Town of Franklin.

Once a new employee is selected HR becomes “the benefit place.” The staff makes sure all the paperwork is complete so that individuals will be paid, benefit options are explained, and employees select those which best meet their individual needs. Questions about benefits continue throughout an employee’s time with the Town and continue into retirement. In addition to the mandatory participation in Norfolk Retirement System, or OBRA for part time employees benefits include:

  • Life Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Section 125 Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Short and Long Term Disability plans
  • Section 457 Savings Plans

All employees, other than Police and Fire, are covered by Worker’s Compensation, a federally mandated program. Our goal is to prevent accidents and lost time from work, but to protect individuals when there is an incident. This “no fault” insurance is designed to provide income security and medical coverage for individuals injured on the job. The program is insured through Massachusetts Educations and Government Association Workers Compensation Group (MEGA). Human Resources continues to ensure that incident reports are filed timely with MEGA reviewing claims and making payments directly to the employees. We also work with managers and employees across the Town to support safe work practices, so that the frequency and length of workers compensation absences are held to a minimum.

On an annual basis, all benefit programs are reviewed to be sure they comply with Federal and State laws. The current Federal legislative branch is very active, and we are watching developments in time off and insurance regulations. Federal changes may require plan changes at the municipal level.

Health Insurance continues to be a major cost issue for employees, applicants and the Town. The Insurance Advisory Committee actively explores options. Contracts with Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Guardian, and Boston Mutual were looked at in terms of cost and coverage. The goal is to provide benefits that are competitive with the market to attract and keep the right workforce and to provide those quality benefits at the lowest cost possible.

One element of the Health Insurance renewal was a change in Medicare supplement plans. The new plan is integrated with Medicare and benefits from a federal subsidy. Enrollees pay a co-pay for each prescription they fill, but no longer have a quarterly deductible. The plan change reduced the Medex premium retirees pay by 25%.

The HR Department has continued a wellness program, offered by MIIA to the employees of the Town. These have included fitness walking, relaxation techniques, and healthy eating. This program, designed to improve health and fitness will continue next year at no cost to employees or to the Town. Employees were enthusiastic about participation in the zumba dance class and an extended walking program.

As we begin the next year new goals have been set. They include:

  • Partner with School HR activities to find service improvements and cost efficiencies.
  • Continue to deliver high quality customer service to employees, retirees, and citizens.
  • Constantly monitor full range of benefit options. The focus on the Health Insurance Program will continue.
  • Identify information which can be best communicated electronically and keep web site current.
  • Provide excellent service to and resolve administrative issues arising from municipal health insurance program.
  • Facilitate managers using job descriptions and performance evaluations to strengthen organizational and employee performance.
  • Review and edit the Personnel Bylaw and related policies and procedures to keep them current and appropriate for use by managers and employees.
  • Educate employees on the Sec. 125 Flexible Spending Accounts which are available to them for medical or dependent care costs.
  • Support managers and employees in employee relations activities.

We appreciate input from employees and citizens at any time.

Respectfully Submitted
Stephanie McNeil
Human Resources Director

From the 2009 Town of Franklin Annual Report. This is available in a printed version at the Municipal Building or online at the Town website here.

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