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New hire to work to improve Capitol work conditions

The new position - funded by the Legislature in this year's session - is part of an ongoing effort to improve working conditions at the state Capitol.

COURTESY OREGON DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION - A new human resources hire at the Legislature will focus on making the state Capitol more inclusive and accessible.

The new position — funded by the Legislature in this year's session — is part of an ongoing effort to improve working conditions at the Capitol, which in late 2017 and early this year was rocked by revelations that Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, had inappropriately touched several women, including colleagues in the Senate.

Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, and Speaker of the House Tina Kotek, D-Portland, said in a memo June 4 that they wanted to make it less burdensome to report harassment.

They also want to change the way sexual harassment training is done.

"In alignment with national best practices, we are currently exploring options for smaller group trainings, led by professional trainers, to improve our mandatory annual all staff harassment training," Kotek and Courtney wrote in the memo, first reported by Willamette Week. "Most trainings on harassment prevention focus on what employees should not do, whereas we will be focusing more on what employees should do. These small group trainings will be more interactive with less focus on legal concepts and lecture."

The new position was approved in the 2018 legislative session.

The listing for the job — the application deadline was May 7 — says the person hired for the job should be "highly social" and will be responsible for providing broad human resources and training, interpreting personnel rules and procedures, and developing long-range plans for equity and inclusion, as well as "reducing barriers to protected classes and those under-represented."

The salary for the position will be between $4,132 and $6,080 per month, or $49,584-$72,960 annually.

Legislative Administrator Daron Hill says no one's been hired for the position yet, but the hiring process is "progressing" and they expect a start date sometime in mid-July.