Walker strikes a balance between legal service, HR

Jackie Valley

Willis Walker, chief university counsel, hopes to see a greater unity between the University Counsel and Human Resources as the interim vice president of Human Resources.

“We’ll see what synergy we can get from the two being together,” he said.

President Lester Lefton announced Walker’s one-year appointment Thursday, following the resignation of current vice president of Human Resources, Carolyn Pizzuto.

The appointment will be effective Jan. 4 when Pizzuto officially leaves to begin as senior vice president for Corporate Planning at ASW Global in Mogadore. Walker will still act as chief university counsel.

“Human resources and legal have a close working relationship,” Lefton said. “The unexpected departure of Ms. Pizzuto creates a vacancy that is far too important to sit idle while a national search is undertaken.

“Because of the wide respect Mr. Walker has at the Kent State community and his willingness to continue the important work of the Human Resources division, his appointment was in the best interests of Kent State and its employees.”

Walker said about 30 percent of the University Counsel’s work is related to Human Resources.

“I plan to probably have one of the attorneys relocate over to Human Resources,” he said.

In the meantime, Walker said he has been getting more familiar with the people and practice of Human Resources.

“Right now, I am just meeting with all the staff in an effort to get all their ideals on Human Resources — what it is and what it’s supposed to be,” he said.

In January, Walker said he will meet with managers to determine where the Human Resources division should go in the future.

Contact administration reporter Jackie Valley at [email protected].