The Utah Legislature is getting a new human resources administrator to oversee all its employees. It comes at a time when state legislatures across the country are re-evaluating their workplace policies.
Debbie Cragun will be the Legislature’s new point person for everything from payroll to time off to workplace harsassment – an issue that’s been on the forefront of many people’s minds in recent weeks.
Speaker of the House Greg Hughes says the position had been in the works for a few years, but it couldn’t come at a better time.
“From the Harvey Weinstein moment till today, you’ve seen a lot happen. And nobody could’ve predicted the kind of headlines that we’ve all been reading together,” he says. “But [while] we started this a while ago, it is timely.”
The new position is designed to operate more independently from the Legislature. The position will report to the Legislative Services Council, which is made up of five staff directors, including the chiefs of staff for the House and Senate.
Hughes says having one point person will be more efficient for when someone has an issue or concern.
“Having an HR director where it’s more consistent, I think, it’s just improving our processes across the board. I think that we’ll be better off as a legislative branch for having that there," he says.
Cragun previously served as executive director of the Utah Department of Human Resources Management. She’ll start her position next month, on Jan. 15, just before the start of the legislative session.