Human Resources Director

City of Harrisonburg, VA | Full-time


The Position

The City of Harrisonburg, Virginia, is seeking a strategic leader with strong organizational development experience to serve as Human Resources Director. The position oversees all of the human resources functions, which include recruitment and selection, classification and compensation, benefits administration, training, safety, affirmative action, performance management, compliance, and employee relations.

The Human Resources Director works closely with and reports to the City Manager.

The Organization

The City of Harrisonburg operates under the council-manager form of government. Residents of Harrisonburg elect a five-member Council to direct the goals and policies of the City. The five members have four-year, staggered terms. The Mayor and Vice Mayor are chosen by the Council and serve in their roles for two years. The Council appoints the City Manager, who oversees the delivery of public services. The Voter Registrar, Commissioner of the Revenue, and Treasurer provide services to City residents and supervise City employees but are elected or appointed to their positions and do not report to the City Manager.

The City of Harrisonburg manages a workforce of more than 800 full- and part-time employees and has an adopted FY 2021 Total All Funds Budget of $269.8 million. There are 12 departments within the City, including Planning and Community Development, Economic Development, Finance, Fire, Emergency Communications Center, Human Resources, Information Technology, Parks and Recreation, Police, Public Transportation, Public Utilities, and Public Works.

In 2018, the City conducted an employee engagement survey. Highlights from the results include the following:

  • 92 percent of respondents enjoy the work they are assigned
  • 89 percent of respondents feel they have the training needed to do their job effectively
  • 90 percent of respondents are proud to work for the City
  • 80 percent of respondents are satisfied with their job at the City
  • 80 percent of respondents feel that their supervisor supports them
  • 75 percent of respondents feel that their day-to-day task load is manageable
  • 73 percent of respondents feel that the City provides them with opportunities for professional development
  • 71 percent of respondents feel that city leadership is responsive to the needs and concerns of the community

The Human Resources Department

The Human Resources Department has an FY 2021 Total Budget of $499,271. There are currently five FTEs within the Department, which include the Director, Human Resources Manager, Senior Human Resources Generalist, Human Resources Generalist, and an Administrative Specialist. The Human Resources Manager and Senior Human Resources Generalist report directly to the Human Resources Director.

Mission: To design and implement policies and programs to attract, support, develop, and retain a diverse and productive workforce. To positively influence the execution of human resource programs to create a responsive atmosphere that values and supports creativity, risk-taking, integrity, and diversity.

Experience and Education

Minimum requirements include a bachelor’s degree in human resources, organizational development, or a related field, plus five years of public sector human resources experience.

Preferred qualifications include IPMA-HR Senior Certified Professional (IPMA-SCP) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) certification, master’s degree, and demonstrated experience with implementing a high-performance organizational culture, effective organizational development and performance management, and implementing compensation systems and pay structures.

The Ideal Candidate

Harrisonburg’s ideal Human Resources Director is a personable and collaborative industry professional with considerable organizational development experience. This individual has exceptional communication and interpersonal skills and establishes trust with and among staff, peers, and elected officials. This person leads with empathy and flexibility but is unwavering in their commitment to professional integrity. A true change management champion, the new Director understands what it takes to build and sustain culture.

The successful candidate understands the importance of professional development and capitalizes on every opportunity to empower and develop staff. This person provides members of the City’s Executive Leadership Team with the training and tools necessary to resolve personnel issues and retain a skilled workforce. The next Director is a problem solver by nature and seeks to improve the organization through innovation and collaboration. This individual successfully delegates and manages conflicting priorities, never compromising the quality of service delivery.

The City is seeking a Human Resources Director with the fortitude to challenge the status quo and endure public scrutiny. The successful candidate is fully committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion and fosters an environment that embraces and supports historically marginalized minority groups. The Director is a skilled mentor and coach who tactfully mediates personnel and labor issues.

The ideal Human Resources Director has experience in a wide breadth of human resources functions, with a thorough understanding of the policies and practices on organizational development, employee development, talent acquisition, compensation and benefits, safety and risk management, and performance management.

The Community

The City of Harrisonburg is an independent city located in the central Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia. The City falls within Rockingham County and encompasses 17.3 square miles, serving a population of approximately 53,000. Harrisonburg is located along Interstate 81 and is only two hours away from both Richmond and Washington, D.C.

Harrisonburg City Council and staff are currently operating under the City’s 2039 Vision Plan, which calls for a focus on Available Housing for All; A Thriving Educational Epicenter; Fiscal Sustainability and Planning; A City for All; Distinctive, Reliable Delivery of High Quality City Services; and Economic Development: Goals, Gains and Growth. Additionally, City staff strive to embody these five Values: Progressive Innovation, Productive Communication, Trusted Service, Winning Teamwork, and Valued Employees.

Once an agricultural hub, Harrisonburg has now evolved into a lively and distinct destination with a vibrant arts and entertainment scene. The City is home to a plethora of parks and trails and hosts community events throughout the year.

Downtown Harrisonburg was designated as Virginia’s first recognized Arts and Cultural District in 2001 and the first recognized Culinary District in 2014. Downtown boasts a variety of locally-owned restaurants, coffee shops, bars, craft breweries, and boutiques. The area is home to an expansive network of galleries, music venues, theaters, and museums, making it an exciting place for anyone to enjoy.

Harrisonburg is a melting pot of ethnic diversity. In recent years, over 1,900 refugees have settled into the City. Harrisonburg City Public Schools students speak more than 50 different languages with English, Spanish, Arabic, and Kurdish being the most common.

Within the Harrisonburg City Public Schools system is a Pre-K Early Learning Center, six elementary schools, two middle schools, and a high school. A second high school will be built within the next few years. Harrisonburg is also home to two university campuses – James Madison University and Eastern Mennonite University. James Madison is a public research university with an enrollment of over 22,000 students, and Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) is a private, Mennonite-affiliated liberal arts university with an enrollment of approximately 1,500 students.

Harrisonburg has been a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community since 2011 and is dedicated to adding bicycle and pedestrian facilities throughout the community, making it attractive to walkers, runners, and cyclists alike. Miles of trails and sidewalks make it a walkable and bike-friendly community.

Quick Facts

  • Population: 53,016
  • Median Household Income: $43,893
  • Median Home Value: $197,400
  • Median Age: 24.8

All demographic information was sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau.


The salary range is $82,201 to $110,198, depending on qualifications. Benefits offered include the following:

  • Health, vision, dental, life, and short- and long-term disability insurance
  • Paid leave
  • Twelve paid holidays
  • Flexible Spending Accounts - Medical and Dependent Care
  • Virginia Retirement System
  • Deferred Compensation Plan through ICMA-RC
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted electronically by The Novak Consulting Group. Applicants complete a brief online form and are prompted to provide a cover letter and resume. Open until filled with the first review of applications on October 16, 2020.


Please direct questions to Catherine Tuck Parrish at or 513-221-0500.

Download Recruitment Brochure