County’s HR Director leaving for private sector

After two years and nine months as Anderson County’s human resources director, Russell Bearden has announced his resignation.

Bearden issued his letter of resignation to county officials last Friday.

In his letter, he stated the decision to resign came “with mixed emotions.”

Said Bearden, “I consider serving this County and its employees as an extreme honor. I feel like we have accomplished many great things for the employees and substantial savings for the citizens of Anderson County. I will be returning to the private sector where I feel I am a better fit. My last day will be October 20, 2017.”

Bearden’s private sector experience includes work at Denso Manufacturing, Kimble Chase Life Science, and Melaleuca Inc.

Bearden told The Courier News in an interview Monday that he wants to return to working in the private sector, where he has more than 20 years of experience, and said he accepted a job at Morgan Oston, a company in Loudon County.

“It’s been a good experience. I’ve learned a lot,” said Bearden. “I feel I’m leaving the department in good hands. We have an outstanding human resources department staff here and they will continue serving the county and employees.”

He noted some of the accomplishments the department has made in the past two years.

“Employee benefits and worker’s compensation have improved. We’re really proud of the onsite employee health care clinic that has caused our medical costs to go down. The clinic is paying for itself. The department has accomplished a lot for our employees and their families and will continue to do so even when I am gone,” Bearden stated.

Bearden’s decision to leave places him in a series of county employees who have recently left, including former Purchasing Agent Tony Foreman, Former Budget Director Chris Phillips, Former Purchasing Agent Pamela Cotham, and several county employees who have either resigned or transferred and found job opportunities elsewhere. Erb said she understood Bearden’s decision to pursue another job.

Bearden succeeded Human Resources Director Cathy Best, who announced her resignation in Nov. 2014 to take a job in the private sector.

The Anderson County Human Resources Advisory Committee will be meeting Tuesday, Oct. 10, at 9 a.m. in the Anderson County Courthouse to discuss the process of finding Bearden’s replacement.

Asked how soon it will take the HR advisory committee to find a replacement, HR committee chairman Phil Yager, Dist. 8 Commissioner, responded on Monday via email that it was still “too early in the process to have much information.”