COLTS Hires Experienced Human Resources Director

March 23, 2019

After giving up on sharing a county employee with limited experience, Lackawanna County’s public bus system chose a human resources director with a lengthy resume in the field.

The County of Lackawanna Transit System hired Karla Ortiz of Chandler, Arizona, after a nationwide search led by COLTS’ auditing firm, RKL LLP, said COLTS Executive Director Robert Fiume. RKL narrowed the search to three people, and Ortiz stood out, said Fiume, who interviewed the candidates.

Ortiz, who will earn $75,000 a year, will start April 2 after eight years working in human resources for Alternate Concepts Inc., a Boston-based company that operates public and private mass transit agencies across the country. For the last three years, Ortiz has served as a human resources and labor relations administrator for Alternate Concepts, which operates a light rail system in Phoenix that carries 45,000 passengers a day, according to its website.

COLTS averages about 80,000 passengers a month and has about 140 full- and part-time employees.

COLTS has two employee unions and, according to her resume, Ortiz has experience negotiating union contracts. She worked as a human resources analyst for Alternate Concepts for five years before taking the administrative job and eight years before that as a human resources generalist at three other companies.

“She seems to be pretty good,” Fiume said.

COLTS fired its last human resources director in November. At the urging of county Commissioner Patrick O’Malley, who said he wanted to save money, COLTS agreed in January to share the county’s human resources director, Justin MacGregor. That idea fell through when neither of O’Malley’s colleagues, Commissioners Laureen Cummings and Jerry Notarianni, would sign off on it. The county hired MacGregor, who had no previous human resources experience, in February 2017. County officials have praised his performance since.

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