San Angelo HR Director Retires after Four Decades

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SAN ANGELO, TX — Lisa Marley distinctly remembers her first day working in human resources: Aug. 16, 1977, the day Elvis Presley died. At 5:01 p.m. Oct. 15, after 41 years in the industry, the City of San Angelo’s human resources director will have figuratively left the building.

Marley, the City’s director of human resources and risk management for the past decade, is retiring two years earlier than she had planned to care for her elderly and recently widowed father in Oklahoma.

“My wish has always been to make sure that every employee has the chance to experience the goodness that public service has to offer,” Marley said.

Assistant City Manager Michael Dane agreed.

“Lisa is the public servant’s servant leader,” he said. “She has always approached her calling not just with incredible competence, but with passion, integrity and fidelity. It’s no understatement to say that many of our 900 employees, including me, will miss her and her wisdom.”

Marley joined the City as a human resources technician in 2007 after retiring from the City of Dunedin, Florida, as the assistant director of human resources/risk management. Then just 51, she retired to avoid having a colleague laid off in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane.

Still wanting to remain active, she searched for a municipal government that used the same personnel software she helped launch in Dunedin. She flew to San Angelo at her own expense and won the job after City management learned that while in Florida she had led a classification and compensation study, which San Angelo desperately needed.

Noting that juggling should be a requisite skill for HR officers, she has enjoyed the variety of issues – from employment law to wage scales to health insurance costs – that go far beyond the fallacy that HR deals mainly in setting rules and meting out discipline. Marley counts among her successes the completed compensation and classification study, a massive rewrite of the 1996 employee manual, the launch of a cutting-edge workplace wellness program, and meet-and-confer negotiations with police officers.

“I enjoyed the challenge of those back-and-forth talks as we all worked toward a common goal,” she said of meet and confer. “And at the end, we all signed a contract we could feel good about.”

On her final day, Marley will preside as the City’s civil service director over her final Civil Service Commission meeting, just a few hours before she clocks out for the last time.

“We’re here to help our co-workers,” Marley said. “More and more, they grew comfortable with just dropping by. I’m proud of that. It reflects a saying I keep on my bookshelf: People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

“I will always remember San Angelo with fondness.”

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