Champaign's new HR director completed trip up ladder from intern

Champaign's new HR director completed trip up ladder from intern

CHAMPAIGN — Not many people can say they worked themselves up from intern to head of the department.

But the city of Champaign's new human resources director can.

Now a 12-year veteran of local government, Amanda Farthing just wanted to get away from the monotony of academia when she applied for a few human-resources positions in 2006 while working toward her doctorate at the UI.

"At first, I wanted to be a university professor and was working toward that," Farthing said Wednesday, shortly after the city announced she had been promoted from assistant director to boss. "But about two years into it, I started getting a little restless. I was eager to get back in an office and get to work, so I applied for an internship here."

Ever since, Farthing said she's held almost every job in the department. In 2007, she was promoted to HR technician, and the year after she became an HR specialist. She worked in that role for six years before being promoted to assistant director in 2014.

After former boss Jason Hood retired from the HR director position in July, Farthing was elevated to interim director. She was among a pool of candidates nationwide for the top job and a natural successor to Hood, said City Manager Dorothy Ann David, who hailed Farthing as "a smart, dedicated and knowledgeable professional who successfully managed increasing levels of responsibility as she rose up through the ranks."

This isn't the career path Farthing figured she'd take while earning her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Alabama, then working in marketing in New York City.

As for her goals in the new position, which she officially starts on Sept. 17, she said they're "pretty lofty" ones.

"I don't expect that I'm changing the whole world here," said Farthing, whose starting salary will be $132,000. "But we've got plans for successions, we've developed a new organizationwide training program that we've kicked off, and we're excited to get more of that in here.

"But my main goal is keeping the course and continuing to provide the great service we've done so far."

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