CGA Law News & Blog

Employee Engagement is Important for Local Government Employers Too

access_time Posted on: August 28th, 2023

According to the October 2019 US Bureau of Labor Statics 22.6 million workers make up the total number of public sector employees in the United States. Of those 22.6 million, 14.6 million or 64.6% are local public sector employees. The pandemic, remote working, and the idea of “gigs” over a career has sparked numerous challenges in the job market for private and public employers. As a large population of the workforce enters and nears retirement age, hiring and retaining employees at the local level will be at the forefront of many local officials minds and meeting agendas.

Compliance with employment laws and maintaining good employee relations is not just for private employers — while local municipalities are employers too, most don’t have the budget to hire or contract daily human resource services. This often proves challenging when a municipality is faced with questions from job seekers or current employees about employee handbooks, work policies, performance reviews, compensation, addressing employee complaints, internal investigations, or employee discipline.

Elected officials and other municipal staff don’t need to be experts in human resources, employment laws, or employment law compliance to play an active role in maintaining good employee relations. Regardless of size, each municipality should consider working with legal counsel to adopt and carry out the following best practices:

  • Written employment applications/interview forms
  • An employee handbook or manual
  • Manager or supervisor training
  • Compensation analysis
  • Written performance reviews
  • Employee complaint procedure with clear reporting options
  • Written employee coaching or discipline forms

Adopting and consistently applying these best practices are helpful to making defendable employment decisions and maintaining good employee relations. Another important consideration for municipalities that do not employ a manager may be to establish an elected official as a point of contact for employees to take their employment related questions or concerns. CGA Law Firm is uniquely situated to assist local municipalities with employment needs and best practices without hiring special outside labor and employment counsel.

Attorney Beth Kern is a member of the Municipal Practice Group and serves as solicitor to several municipalities in York and Dauphin counties. Attorney Kern also has experience and skill in labor and employment law and was a human resources professional for many years before joining CGA. If you have questions about employment matters within your municipality or if you want to learn more about how your municipality can enhance its employment practices, contact your CGA Attorney or Attorney Beth Kern.

Beth Kern

Beth J. Kern


Beth J. Kern provides legal services to Municipal, Business, Employment, Land Use, and Real Estate Law clients. Beth brings to her clients and practice a diverse background with over twelve years of professional experience in business and human resources management. Before joining CGA, Beth worked for Flagger Force®, a rapidly growing multi-state traffic control company, as a Human Resources professional while attending Widener Commonwealth Law School in the evening. Beth uses her business acumen and experience in human resources management to gain insight into partnering with leaders and teams to develop organization strategies. She knows that the most successful solutions are developed in partnership with the people within an organization and she loves helping clients achieve their goals.

Read Beth’s Bio Page in full HERE.