Blount County government will be looking for a new human resources director as Betsy Cunningham has turned in her notice and will be going to work for a vendor that handles insurance services for the county.
She’ll be serving the same clients - Blount County employees - but be working for a different employer - Trinity Benefits Advisors.
Her title will be senior client development manager, and she will be handling several current clients for the company, one of which is Blount County government.
“I will be handling current clients for the company, with one of the goals for me to handle all benefit administration for the county. I’ll still oversee benefit administration and work closely with Blount County,” she said on Tuesday.
Cunningham, who has been with the county eight years in April, said she thought long and hard about changing jobs . “I was just at a place where I’m ready to tackle something new and had considered the HR arena. I’ve worked in marketing, training sales and HR and wanted something in the next part of my life that allowed me to tap into all four areas,” she said.
Cunningham said she reached out to Trinity. “I worked with them as they are the current consultants on our health care side. I reached out to them to see if they had opportunities to work with them,” she said. “They made me an offer yesterday (Monday), and I turned my verbal notice into (Blount County Mayor) Ed Mitchell this morning.”
Cunningham came to work at the county during County Mayor Beverley Woodruff’s tenure and worked with County Mayor Jerry Cunningham and County Mayor Ed Mitchell.
“The hardest part for me was initially learning the culture of working in the county entity versus in private industry where I had been. Once you learn the culture, it is easy to deal with anything that comes your way. All in all, I’ve had a great experience,” she said.
Cunningham said one of the challenges was learning new people when they were elected to the county commission. “That was also equally exciting because it keeps things different,” she said.
The outgoing HR director said accomplishments her team made during her time included partnering with one primary insurance vendor where employees could partner insurance products if they needed for themselves or their families.
“We were able to partner with one primary insurance vendor where they could partner insurance products they needed for themselves or families they didn’t have available elsewhere,” she said. “One of the things I’ve been very proud of was we were able to implement an employee health clinic, and now we participate with East Tennessee Medical Group..”
Cunningham said she also is proud of the relationships she was able to establish with the sheriff’s office. “We’ve ultimately been able to coordinate and work with staff to facilitate the recruiting process and that has been a real awesome experience as we learned the law enforcement culture and saw what these men and women do daily for our community,” she said.
Cunningham said she is most proud of how the staff in the Risk Management Department developed, including risk manager Don Stallions, general liabilities coordinator Tim Tipton, workers compensation coordinator Lindsey Jackson and HR Generalist Jodie King.
“These four individuals in my department, it’s incredible to see the growth personally and professionally as they’ve have working for county,” she said. “That is what I’m most proud of is the staff I’ve been part of.”