Oxford HR Director Leaves and Position Restructured

By Coburn Gillies

Oxford Human Resources Director Candice Turpin left her $98,000-a-year job with the city abruptly on Jan. 14.

Neither Turpin nor city officials will explain the reason for the separation. The city is now advertising for a replacement.

City Manager Doug J. Elliott appointed his assistant, Kim Newton, as acting director while he interviews candidates for the permanent position. Elliott said Thursday he is restructuring the position to have the title of assistant city manager, but that whoever fills the post also will handle the human resources duties and various public information and communications responsibilities.

“I’m advertising, as we speak, for the assistant city manager and I’m changing the nature of the position to be more—broadening the responsibilities,” Elliott said. “The main responsibility will be human resources, and is also in charge of coordinating our communications.” Six applications have already been submitted, he said.

The separation agreement that Turpin signed with the city said she is to be paid her salary as a “consultant” until April 26. Being a consultant means she is available to discuss work she had been involved with for the city with other city employees as needed, Elliott said.

The agreement specifies that Turpin is not eligible to be rehired by the city. It also contains a clause in which the city and Turpin agree not to disparage each other. Turpin, reached by telephone, declined to comment.

According to her personnel file, Turpin worked in a human resources position at Preble Shawnee schools before she was hired by the city on July 20, 2015. When hired by Oxford, her starting salary was $89,000, and she received a raise each year ranging from 2 to 3 percent, according to the file.

She received a performance evaluation from the city manager after being in the position for six months and was rated “above average” in her position.

However, there were no subsequent performance reviews in her personnel file after January 2016, even though such reviews are supposed to be given annually. Elliott said on Thursday that the reviews were not in the file because she had never been given any after 2016. He said the city is simply lax in giving performance reviews on time.

Elliott declined to comment on how well Turpin was performing her duties when she left the city, and refused to say she was fired.

“It was not a unilateral dismissal. We reached an agreement for separation of employment,” Elliott said. “We agreed, and she agreed on this separation.”

A downloadable employment application for the new assistant city manager job is available at the city’s website.