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October 9, 2012

Fouts names Easter to lead HR

By Brian Louwers
C & G Staff Writer

WARREN — Former Warren Human Resources Director and Labor Relations Manager Phillip Easter has returned to lead the city’s HR department, Mayor Jim Fouts announced late last month.

Easter, who in September retired from his post as the assistant superintendent of human resources and pupil personnel services with the Mount Clemens Community School District after 11 years, was named to replace Warren’s now-former Human Resources Director Denise Williams.

Williams resigned from the city last month to take a position as the vice president of human resources with Macomb Community College. Her responsibilities also included managing Warren’s payroll, personnel and labor relations operations.

Fouts originally named personnel analyst Sandy Jones to serve as the city’s acting human resources director after Williams resigned effective Sept. 28.

The mayor later praised Jones, but called Easter’s qualifications for the job in Warren “ideal” and cited his “extensive experience in labor relations, risk management, personnel management and insurance.”

“She (Jones) is an outstanding, top-notch employee. The only thing she didn’t  have is the insurance background, which he did have, and he’s an attorney,” Fouts said. “He’s got the years of service. He’s got the expertise, and he’s really got the combination of things that would be hard to find in anybody.”

Easter’s resume lists a Bachelor of Arts from Wayne State University in 1971 and a law degree from Michigan State University’s Detroit College of Law in 1977.

In addition to his 11 years with the city of Warren from 1985 to 1996, Easter spent more than 18 years as an attorney in private practice specializing in management-side labor and employment law with two different firms.

Easter served the Mount Clemens Community School District as an interim superintendent/assistant superintendent of human resources and pupil personnel services from July 2001 to September 2012.

Current Warren City Council President Cecil St. Pierre also previously served on the council from 1987 to 2003 and worked with Easter.

“I think it’s a great appointment,” St. Pierre said. “Phil is direct; he’s very knowledgeable in regard to labor laws. He’s the type of person that we’re going to need in order to negotiate contract in these very difficult times. That is what he does.

“With the knowledge and the experience he’s had with the unions in the past, he’s bringing lot of knowledge with him. He may even know some of the players. Personalities play a big role in negotiations, and to have that kind of background is invaluable,” St. Pierre said.

Fouts said he would continue to restructure the Human Resources Department, and Jones would likely be named to a higher position. As previously reported, the mayor said Mark Simlar would also play a lead role in labor relations matters.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brian Louwers at brianlouwers@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1089.