Mayor London Breed Nominates Carol Isen as Human Resources Director
Isen has served as Acting Director of the Department of Human Resources since October 2020 and has decades of experience in human resources and labor relations
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced her nomination of Carol Isen to serve as the new Human Resources Director for the City and County of San Francisco. Isen’s nomination to serve as Director follows a comprehensive search for the position. She will bring a wealth of experience and an established track record of success to the role and, if confirmed by the Board of Supervisors, would be the first openly LGBT individual to serve in the role of Human Resources Director in San Francisco.
Isen has served as Acting Director of the Department of Human Resources since October 2020, prior to which she served three years as Employee Relations Director. She previously served as Chief Labor Relations Director for San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and also served for over a decade as Director of Labor Relations and Community Programs for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
“Carol Isen is a capable and respected leader, and I believe she will make a great Human Resources Director for our city,” said Mayor Breed. “Carol has helped us navigate some of the biggest challenges we’ve ever faced, working to keep our employees safe, helping activate Disaster Service Workers to serve our residents during this pandemic, and now, working with departments and unions to make sure eligible workers who have been on the frontlines can get vaccinated easily and conveniently. As we look ahead to our recovery and the challenges that are before us, I’m confident that Carol is the right person to lead the Department and that she will make sure our employees are supported and that we maintain a workforce that is diverse and inclusive.”
Isen has an extensive and well-respected career in public service. In 2014, following her recruitment to BART, Isen led a 30-day, small scale negotiations between the BART General Manager and all non-safety unions resulting in a five-year contract extension, which were widely viewed as essential to full recovery from the 2013 BART strike. Most recently, in November 2020, Mayor Breed and Acting Director Isen announced a plan for an independent and comprehensive review of the City’s Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO) policies and procedures. Recommendations from the review will support their shared vision to improve the employee experience by ensuring that employees are welcomed, respected, and supported, and that they have the opportunity to develop and advance professionally and build a career with the City.
“It has been an honor to serve as Acting Human Resources Director and will continue to be my honor to serve as the permanent director of the Department of Human Resources,” said Acting Director Carol Isen. “I am looking forward to working with the Mayor, Board of Supervisors, elected officials, department heads, our partners from organized labor and our employees and take the bold action necessary to grow our relationships with the community, expand our partnerships with departments and to ensure improved culture, fairness, consistency and excellence in human resources for all city employees.”
Acting Director Isen has been committed to cultivating a culture of respect, accountability, and belonging, as well as other structural changes that will create better transparency for EEO claims to better serve City employees. Throughout her career, Isen has been involved in labor and employment advocacy and representation in San Francisco government. From 1984 to 2003, she was an organizer, negotiator and Associate Director for the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), Local 21.
“We are proud to work with Ms. Isen who has deep roots in the labor movement as the former Associate Director of IFPTE Local 21,” said Gus Vallejo, President IFPTE Local 21. “We are honored to be a part of her history and look forward to working with her to make our City stronger.”
“I want thank Mayor Breed for moving forward Ms. Isen’s appointment. She is honest, fair and a hard worker,” said Kim Tavaglione, Interim Executive Director of the San Francisco Labor Council. “We look forward to partnering with Ms. Isen on one of our top priorities—reforming EEO policies and processes to better serve employees. City workers deserve fair and transparent leadership at the head of this important agency, Carol Isen is that leader.”
Acting Director Isen has been deeply involved in transformative changes to the City’s governance and human resources structure, such as charter amendments creating the Department of Human Resources and establishing the City’s now long-standing and unique local rules governing collective bargaining. She has long displayed her commitment to civil rights in the workplace, merit system employment and promoting community development through job training and opportunities, as well as her support for transformative changes to how human resources works for employees to foster a modern merit-based employment system free of bias and nepotism.
“The Civil Service Commission carried out a rigorous process to identify excellent candidates to fill the role of Human Resources Director,” said Elizabeth Salveson, President of the Civil Service Commission. “Carol brings with her broad and deep experience in employee relations and a steadfast commitment to public service. The Commission looks forward to continuing to work with Carol to advance our shared goals of creating a fair, diverse, and inclusive workplace for all city employees.”
Isen is a graduate of University of Michigan Residential College and earned a Master of City Planning degree from University of California at Berkeley.
The Department of Human Resources provides human resource services to approximately 60 city departments, with a total workforce of over 38,000 employees. The Board of Supervisors is required to hold a hearing to confirm the appointment.