The strong support for the proposed MMPA name change was apparent at the group’s Fall Conference last September, where members took a preliminary vote.

The membership of the Massachusetts Municipal Personnel Association this morning voted to change the group’s bylaws to adopt a new name for the association: Massachusetts Municipal Human Resources (MMHR).

The change, approved at the MMPA Annual Business Meeting, was conceived at the group’s Fall Conference last September, when an overwhelming majority of members expressed interest in dropping “personnel” in favor of human resources to reflect the evolution of the field of human resource management.

The MMPA was founded in 1956 so municipal personnel directors could network and share best practices. At the time, the municipal personnel field was dramatically behind private sector human resources practices. As cities and towns have grown and become more professionalized, they’ve realized that their employees are among their most valuable resources – and labor costs are often their largest area of expenditure – so personnel/human resources departments have become more prominent.

In 2018, the MMPA Board of Directors began a strategic planning process involving a 13-member committee and the guidance of consultant Maureen Valente, the principal at Valente & Associates. With the will of the membership clearly established, the group recognized it was important to incorporate the name change for its 2019-2024 strategic plan.

Mary Beth Bernard, the MMPA chair from 2014 through 2019, spearheaded the initiative and emphasized the professionalization of the field of municipal human resources. She said the association has become an authority on these issues and needed a name to reflect that.

Both new and old members have embraced the name change and are looking forward to the official rollout of MMHR at the Fall Conference in Northampton Sept. 12 and 13.