About the HR Director
Jane E. Cheeks is a tenured HR management professional with diversified leadership successes in both public and corporate sectors. Jane holds a solid reputation for executing large-scale consolidation strategies and maintaining stellar oversight of multi-million dollar budgets.
Cheeks has served the City of Houston for 21 years, specializing in the operation of core Human Resources functions. As the Director of the City’s Human Resources department, she currently manages over 270 HR professionals who ensure the City’s employees and citizens receive essential services and employee benefits.
Cheek’s ability to maintain solidarity among her employees is showcased by her breakthrough accomplishments including: leadership of a seven-department consolidation to form the City’s present-day General Services Department, creation of a centralized Human Resources Department for the City of Houston and founding the city’s TPS Helpdesk team, now HRIM, which provides specialized technological support to all Human Resources staff.
Now she is leading HR into a digital transformation with the HROne project. This project focuses on replacing our existing HR Core and Benefits Administration infrastructure to an updated integrated human resources system that will engage and increase the productivity and mobility of employees, managers, and supervisors in order to modernize the HR business systems at the City.
Cheek’s keen regard for customer service and her employees, as well as her commitment to public service, are elements that drive her success. She continues to serve the city by working to reform succession planning and the standardization of HR practices, policies and procedures.
Meet the Executive Team
Alisa M. Franklin-Brocks | Chief of Staff and Division Manager of the Civil Service & EEO Division
Alisa M. Franklin-Brocks serves as the Chief of Staff to the HR Director with the dual role of being the Division Manager of the Civil Service & EEO Division and Employee/Labor Relations Division.
Franklin-Brocks is a results-oriented, task master who has lead several major projects for the HR Department, such as the revisions to the Code of Ordinances, Chapter 14, Civil Service, revisions to the City’s Corrective Action Program for civilian employees, served as the City’s Chief Negotiator on the HOPE Meet and Confer agreement, which is the City’s labor agreement with the civilian labor union, and lead several implementations on new and revised policies.
In addition to her responsibilities of the Chief of Staff to the HR Director, Franklin-Brocks will also be responsible for managing the Civil Service & EEO Division which:
- Administers the activities of the Civil Service Commissions for the 22,000 civilian and classified employee workforce;
- Provides guidance and consultation on employee and labor relation, and ADA issues; and
- Handles grievances, union agreements, equal employment opportunity, and policy and procedure development and updates.
Franklin-Brocks joined the City of Houston in March 2007 as an Administrative Specialist overseeing the citywide grievance process.
She has also served as a Senior Human Resources Specialist, Staff Analyst and Client Relations Manager.
She has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources Management.
Darien Helton | Deputy Director of HR Operations
Darien Helton is the Deputy Director over HR Operations and brings over 28 years of HR experience with the City of Houston.
In this role, Helton oversees a staff of about 170 employees who provide HR support to approximately 22,000 employees.
He directs the leadership for all Client Services, Shared Services, Staffing, Employee Relations, Executive Recruiting and Employment Resources & Services.
He holds both the SHRM SCP and SPHR certifications, designating him as a Senior Professional in Human Resources. He received both his bachelor’s degree (in Computer Science with a minor in Psychology) and master’s degree (in Political Science) from the University of Houston.
Carla Coleman | Assistant Director of HR Financial & Accounting Management
Carla Coleman is the Assistant Director over HR Finance and bring over 20 years of financial management experience in the private, public and governmental sectors, with a focus on developing policies and procedures to improve performance and productivity.
Before joining the City, Coleman held several positions in different industries such as logistics at Eagle Global Logistics, retail accounting at Randall’s Food Markets, oil and gas at Schlumberger, auditing at Accenture and mineral exploration at Battle Mountain Gold. She helped this organizations define their financial strategic direction, prepare new business plans, streamline financial and procedural policies and create and monitoring accountability systems.
Coleman joined the City of Houston in 2007 at the Houston Airport System. In 2012, she joined the Human Resources department as a Systems Accountant III. In 2015, she was promoted to Division Manager in charge of budgeting and financial reporting. Since 2018, Coleman has overseen all aspects of HR’s finances, including the development and management of budgets, benefits rates, preparation of financial statements and reporting.
Coleman is a certified public manager and a certified IPMA-HR professional with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Houston.
Chas D. Smith,CPM | Assistant Director of HR Risk Management
Charles “Chas” Smith serves as Assistant Director of the Human Resources Risk Management Division which includes the Occupational Safety and Workers’ Compensation programs.
Smith has the pleasure of leading a team that is focused on positively changing the trajectory of the current incident trends, improving worker’s compensation claims outcomes and creating a more safety-conscious work environment.
Smith has served the City of Houston for over 29 years. From 1991 – 2005, Chas served in various capacities in the City Controller’s Office General Accounting and Audit sections.
In 2005, he joined the Human Resources Department team to provide leadership in the areas of strategic IT planning, equipment acquisition and desktop support, budgetary and financial reporting, procurement and accounts payable activities. Prior to his current position, Chas served as Deputy Assistant Director of the HR Financial and Accounting Management Division.
Smith received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Houston and he is a certified public manager.
Catina Swift | Assistant Director of the Office of Talent and Organizational Development
Since 2003, Catina Swift has held a variety of workplace learning roles including educator, specialist, manager, principal human resources analyst, senior manager, and executive director. However, upon one’s initial interaction with her, it is obvious that this is more than a job, or a career, it is truly her calling.
Leading with a results, process, and relationship mindset, Swift crafts transformative learning experiences that build one’s confidence and competence. She invests in others’ learning journey by acting as a thought partner, a coach, and a mentor. Her formal achievements include the design of a robust corporate university, an emerging leaders academy, and a self-paced, online learning program rooted in performance-based behaviors.
Swift is a lifelong learner professionally, personally, and academically. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Science from Mount St. Mary’s University in Los Angeles, a master’s degree in International Relations from Webster University in Vienna, Austria, and a master’s degree in Management and Leadership from Webster University, Washington D.C. Metro campus.
Meanwhile, she continues to search for the right doctorate program. In January 2021, she began a doctorate in Public Administration at California Baptist University but has decided to take a brief leave of absence to ensure she and her husband, Reggie, and their two dogs Mila and Raider, transition smoothly into their new hometown. They look forward to experiencing Houston’s past, present, and future through visits, food, music, and plenty of personal interactions. When not working or learning, you will find her preparing to host their next themed dinner party or welcoming her parents and out-of-town guests to their home.
Veronica Davis| Assistant Director of HR Benefits
Veronica Davis is the Assistant Director for HR Benefits for the City of Houston. Davis is responsible for delivering quality, comprehensive benefits related customer service, programs and other services to over =/- 70,000 City of Houston active employees, retirees and covered dependents through four (4) Health and Welfare Centers of Excellence – Strategic Planning and Design, Benefits Operations, Employee Wellness, and internal and external Employee Assistance Programs (EAP).
Davis has over 20 years of Senior and Executive Human Resources and Risk Management Leadership experience. A native Floridian and career public servant, Davis has served municipal, county, and special district organizations throughout Florida’s public sector. Davis prior experience includes direct responsibility for providing leadership, strategic and staff direction and maintaining oversight for full service Human Resources and Risk Management operations, to include comprehensive, self-insured Employee Benefits and Welfare Programs. Davis prior experience also includes service as a voting member of a large group health and property and casualty insurance consortium. In that capacity Davis contributed to the development of strategy serving the universal need of multiple city, county and special district entity members utilizing pooled resources.
Davis public sector experience, knowledge, business acumen, and commitment to performance excellence has helped her to develop and execute change management strategy to effectively consolidate multiple stakeholder need and interest. Through her experiences, Ms. Davis has consistently established herself as a committed, trusted and relied upon servant leader and business partner.
A life-long learner, Davis’ professional experience is supported by industry standards credentials, to include a master's in Human Resources Management, a master's Certification in Leadership, a master's certification in Advanced Conflict Resolution, bachelor's in Public Administration, Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), SHRM-SCP (Senior Certified Professional), and Certified Labor Relations Professional.
Abdi Sadeghi | Deputy Assistant Director of HR Information Management
Abdi Sadeghi serves as Deputy Assistant Director of Human Resources Information Management. He helps supervise the cohesive integration of information across HR’s divisions.
Sadeghi joined the HR department in February 2019. Previously, he worked with the City of Houston’s Information Technology Services Department.
He has more than 20 years of technical service delivery experience. His background includes orchestrating complete transformations of information management, mission-critical systems, governance, standards, team and composition.
Bob Johnson | Deputy Assistant Director of Compensation Division
With over 25 years of compensation management experience in a variety of service sector industries, Division Manager Bob Johnson has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in compensation industry standards.
As Division Manger of the Human Resources Compensation Division, he serves as a subject matter expert in the development of current and competitive compensation programs.
Johnson earned a Bachelor of Psychology from the University of Louisville. His broad range of work experience includes management roles with Capital Holding Corporation, Humana, Columbia Hospital Corporation of America, Resort Condominiums International, Sunterra Houston Methodist Harris Health and the Houston Independent School District.
As Division Manager, Johnson oversees a team of highly skilled Human Resource professionals who create and recommend programs based on market research to ensure fair employee pay, abide to the highest standards of salary confidentiality, and ensure the City’s compliance with federal regulations and reporting. Through his guidance, Johnson ensures the City attracts and retains a talented and innovative workforce.
Leslie Denton-Roach | Internal Communications Manager
Leslie Denton-Roach, Internal Communications Manager, is an award-winning communications professional with 15 years managing a successful internal communications program for the City of Houston.
Denton-Roach oversees a team of communications professions, who provide city employees and retirees with accurate information regarding city news, health and wellness benefits, and other important, need-to-know information.
The Communications team helps the Human Resources executive team – and other city departments – recognize employee’s exemplary work. The team also coordinates the Combined Municipal Campaign, the city’s annual workplace giving program.
Denton-Roach has more than 25 years of communications experience and graduated with a BFA from Texas A&M University Corpus Christi.
Velma Laws | Special Projects Coordinator of Contract Compliance and Special Projects Division
Velma Laws currently serves as the Assistant Chief Policy Officer and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) Privacy Officer for the Human Resources department.
In these roles, she oversees the operations of the Contract Compliance and Special Projects section, which is responsible for HIPAA, Minority Women Business Enterprise (MWBE), and Pay or Play compliance for HR contracts, as well as various youth/student engagement initiatives under the Grow Your Own Workforce program umbrella. She also handles various facility renovation and equipment acquisition initiatives.
Laws has served in a variety of capacities during her tenure with the city, including Director of the Mayor’s Office of Affirmative Action and Contract Compliance (now known as the Office of Business Opportunity).
Much of her work with the City has involved creating and administering programs that link individuals with information and resources that facilitate personal and/or professional growth.