Audit casts unfavorable light on Live Oak Public Library HR depa - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Audit casts unfavorable light on Live Oak Public Library HR department

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

Hostile, intimidating, untrustworthy and chaotic were all words used by Live Oak Public library employees describing their workplace.

The report is shocking. The report paints a very unfavorable picture of the HR department—specifically their director. That director, who is currently suspended, said the report was biased and unfair.

An independent audit of the HR department said Director Jim Stroud was unprofessional and unethical.

The report also quoted an employee who said: "Jim intimidates employees about returning to work while they are on sick leave."

We called Stroud. He disagreed with almost everything in the report.

"I don't feel like it's a thorough representation of how the organization as a whole feels," said Stroud.

One part said he swept issues under the rug.

"There were no grievances swept under the rug," said Stroud.

Another part said he made fun of fat and disabled people.

"I've never in any type of derogatory way made fun of people."

We asked if he thought these people are lying or making this stuff up.

"I can't say whether they're making it up. Again, all I can say is no one has ever brought to my attention that anyone had a concern with that."

That report was clear—Stroud needs to be replaced quickly with a "principled, experienced certified professional."

Stroud said his experience is no problem.

"I've been running HR departments for 30 years so I guess that speaks for itself," he said.

Employees overwhelmingly showed general distrust in the HR department. One employee said, "We have zero percent trust in HR. He is not a certified HR person. Just the way they handle people. You never get help, you get sarcasm and threats."

Issues in hiring, promoting, and training staff are also highlighted.

Many African American employees felt white employees got more of those promotions and higher paying jobs. Stroud—though—doesn't feel he got a fair shake down.

"I think this report was a deliberate attempt to verify what the current management wanted to have happened."

We asked Stroud if there was anything he would do differently.

"Well, I think we can always be more visible. We have 19 locations across three counties and I think the more you have the opportunity to get out and be seen,” said Stroud. “The more comfortable people feel with you. Obviously, that's something that I would definitely try to work on."

It's just unclear whether Stroud will get that chance or if the task will be left to a new HR director.

The board has a meeting scheduled for next Tuesday to decide how to move forward. Stroud and another HR employee are both suspended with pay.

The library is also preparing for a separate financial audit. This all follows former Director Christian Kruse’s resignation in March. 

Read the full Human Resources and Organizational Assessment Report below:

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