Overview of Human Resources and the Unified Personnel System

The Human Resources Department provides strategic and administrative support for the Unified Personnel System. Our vision is to become a trusted partner for every member of the Unified Personnel System. Our staff is committed to providing the citizens of Pinellas County with a competent, diverse, trained and professional workforce.

Human Resources bases its County pay plan and employee compensation philosophies on total compensation. Total compensation consists of salary, leave earned, benefits coverage paid by the County (health, dental, life and disability coverages) and retirement plan (majority paid by Pinellas County). This practice helps ensure that the Human Resources Department abides by merit system principles in hiring and retaining personnel, and that County employees are fairly compensated.

The Human Resources Department is organized into five Centers of Excellence, which are listed below with service descriptions and contact information. This structure is also outlined in the Human Resources Organization Chart.



Administration is responsible for department management, rules and policies, Personnel Board, grievance administration, purchasing and public records.

Contact Information

  • Peggy Rowe, Interim Director
  • Maria Ciro, Assistant Director
  • Ashley Jackson, Executive Assistant




Benefits is responsible for medical, dental, and vision coverage; short-term and long-term disability coverage; life insurance; COBRA; Employee Assistance Program (EAP); Managed Behavioral/Mental Health Program; prescription coverage; retirement; deferred compensation; flexible spending accounts (FSA); health savings account (HSA); employee discounts; and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) compliance.

The Wellness section provides exercise facilities and classes, educational programs, the Wellness Incentive Program, health challenges, gym discounts, health screenings, and the To Your Health newsletter.

Contact Information

  • Kelly Faircloth, HR Officer

Benefits & Retirement

  • Karla Cook, HR Consultant
  • Natalie Ingham, HR Analyst
  • Christine Gauger, HR Technician



  • Jane Grannis, HR Consultant, Sr.
  • Sydney Szczesniakowski, HR Technician


Communications & Outreach


Communications & Outreach provides internal and external messaging using tools such as the HR website, presentations, The Pen and other employee and retiree newsletters, email blasts, surveys, videos, high-level recruitment materials, photography, and social media. Communications & Outreach also manages the Suggestion Awards Program.

Volunteer Services recruits volunteers and interns, processes applications and conducts background checks. Additionally, this group handles recognition, Colors of Pinellas Art Show, and employee awards programs.

Contact Information

  • Irena Karolak, HR Officer


  • Camille Evans, HR Communications Coordinator
  • Breanne O’Leary, HR Specialist


Volunteer Services

  • Cantrece Harmon, HR Technician
  • Sarah Markofski, Special Projects Assistant


Organizational & Talent Development


Organizational & Talent Development provides technical and real skills courses, online resources, tuition reimbursement, leadership workshops, customized learning solutions, and curriculum development. It also focuses on fostering a positive and supportive organizational culture.

Contact Information

  • Audrey Savas, HR Officer
  • Katie Sawyer, HR Consultant
  • Kevin Connelly, HR Analyst
  • Violet Wike, HR Technician


Planning & Performance


Planning & Performance is responsible for the HR Business Partner program, career counseling, conflict resolution and mediation, discipline and grievance guidance, coordinating with the Employees’ Advisory Council (EAC), interpretation of rules and policies, performance management program, focus groups, and strategic planning.

Contact Information

  • Maria Ciro, Assistant Director


Contracts, Budget & Logistics

  • Danielle Holland, Department Administrative Manager
  • Bryant Jasper-Williams, Contract Administration Coordinator
  • Kelli Hamilton, Business Support Specialist 2


Employee Relations and HR Business Partners

  • Melissa “Missy” Kracher, HR Consultant
  • Michelle Musser, HR Consultant
  • Maria Roberts, HR Consultant
  • Jim Valliere, HR Consultant 


Workforce Strategy


The Workforce Strategy section is responsible for job applications, transfers, recruitment of qualified job applicants, temporary employment services, employment counseling, and the Workforce Connections Committee.

The Human Resources Management System (HMRS) section is responsible for OPUS and Taleo processing, reporting and technical support, new employee processing, HR analytics, and personnel records.

The Classification & Compensation section manages position audits, annual market surveys, and the Pay and Classification Plan.

Contact Information

  • Brennan Atwood, HR Officer

Workforce Strategy

  • Bertha Battle, HR Consultant 
  • Rebecca Geiger, HR Consultant
  • Noemy Pita, HR Consultant
  • Lauren Bollinger, HR Specialist
  • Judy Breadon, HR Specialist
  • Evelyn Centeno, HR Technician


Human Resources Management System

  • Gene Fields, HR Analyst


Classification & Compensation

  • Jack Loring, HR Consultant
  • Tywanna McGee, HR Consultant
  • Jim Beaty, HR Analyst
  • Jake Nicholas, HR Technician


Unified Personnel System

Government Structure

Pinellas County is a charter county of the State of Florida and provides a full range of government services. The County is governed by a Board of County Commissioners consisting of seven publicly-elected officials. Municipal services are provided to the unincorporated areas of the County within the Municipal Services Taxing District. The constitutional officers of the County are the Clerk of the Circuit Court, Property Appraiser, Sheriff, Supervisor of Elections and Tax Collector.

Unified Personnel System

Pinellas County’s Unified Personnel System (UPS) was established in 1975 by a special act of the Florida Legislature. The UPS is composed of 10 different members called Appointing Authorities. At the present time, the UPS has 3,113 employees (2,339 classified and 774 exempt) who are distributed into more than 600 job classifications. The Sheriff’s Office initially was a member of the UPS but is no longer included.

Appointing Authorities

The 10 UPS Appointing Authorities are Business Technology Services, Clerk of the Circuit Court, County Administrator, County Attorney, Forward Pinellas, Human Resources, Human Rights, Property Appraiser, Supervisor of Elections and Tax Collector. For more information, see Appointing Authorities.

Unified Personnel System Act

Enacted by the Florida Legislature, the UPS Act established the Classified and Exempt Services, a seven-member Personnel Board and a Personnel (Human Resources) Department. The act also prescribes terms and conditions of operation. Its purpose is to provide equal employment opportunities to qualified applicants for public service jobs and to promote efficiency and economy in the public service. Some of the act’s objectives and effects were:

  • Elimination of discrepancies in hiring practices, benefits, discipline, pay scales, etc.
  • Providing one centralized location for job applicants
  • Ensuring that merit principles are followed for appointments, retention, pay, promotions, etc.

Merit System Principles

The UPS philosophy is based on merit system principles. These principles reflect the public’s expectations of a system that is efficient, effective, fair, open to all, free from political interference and staffed by honest and competent employees. Merit system concepts can be drawn from Section 2301, Title 5 of the U.S. Code. While the code applies only to federal agencies and not Pinellas County, it effectively outlines what merit system principles are. To paraphrase:

  • Recruiting qualified individuals from all segments of society, and selecting and advancing employees on the basis of merit after fair and open competition which assures that all receive equal opportunity.
  • Treating employees and applicants fairly and equitably, without regard to political affiliation, race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or handicapping condition, and with proper regard for their privacy and constitutional rights.
  • Providing equal pay for equal work and recognizing excellent performance.
  • Maintaining high standards of integrity, conduct and concern for the public interest.
  • Managing the workforce efficiently and effectively.
  • Rewarding, retaining and separating employees on the basis of their performance.
  • Educating and training employees when it will result in better organizational or individual performance.
  • Protecting employees from arbitrary action, personal favoritism or coercion for partisan political purposes.
  • Protecting employees against reprisal for the lawful disclosure of information that uncovers illegal or wasteful activities.

Personnel Board

The seven members of the Personnel Board each serve a two-year term. Two of the members are appointed by the Board of County Commissioners, two by the constitutional officers, two by the Employees’ Advisory Council and one by the other six board members. The Director of Human Resources is appointed by and serves at the discretion of the Board.

Personnel Board members have numerous responsibilities, including:

  • Approving personnel rules, pay plan adjustments, reclassification of positions and pay grade changes in accordance with the legislative act.
  • Requiring observance of the provisions of the act and its resulting rules and regulations.
  • Hearing and determining appeals and complaints concerning the administration of the act.

Employees’ Advisory Council (EAC)

The UPS Act officially sanctioned the Employees’ Advisory Council. Representing classified employees, the EAC serves in an advisory capacity to the Personnel Board on matters concerning personnel, policies, rules and regulations. Its mission is to “continually improve employees’ quality of work life.” The EAC currently consists of 14 elected representatives allocated to the various Appointing Authorities and one appointed representative who serves at-large. The EAC structure includes delegates at every worksite throughout the County. These delegates serve as a communication link between employees at their work locations and the council representatives.

Personnel Rules

The Personnel Rules prescribe employment policies and practices that all Appointing Authorities in the UPS must follow. Each rule was approved by the Personnel Board and can only be modified with the board approval. The Appointing Authorities have the authority to establish departmental rules and regulations concerning the conduct of their employees in addition to any rules and regulations established by the Personnel Board.

Contact Information

Human Resources
400 S. Fort Harrison Ave.
Clearwater, FL 33756
(727) 464-3367