UPEA Whirlwind Tour – Upcoming Event Schedule

After a long year full of heavy workloads and very little face-to-face contact, UPEA staff is setting off on a state-wide recruitment tour to spread the word about the importance of UPEA membership! In true whirlwind fashion, UPEA staff aim to visit over 50 agencies and recruit at least 100 new members over the course of this two-part recruitment tour.

All public employees in each area are invited to attend for food, swag giveaways, prize drawings, and to learn more about the benefits of UPEA membership! At each recruitment event, staff will give retro WHIRLWIND TOUR TEES to all new and existing members!

The first week of the tour took place August 9-12 and was a huge success! Staff visited 33 agencies throughout central and southern Utah, drove 1,039 miles, and recruited 70 new members! The following week on Tuesday, August 17, staff visited 6 SLCo agencies, drove over 50 miles, and recruited 18 new members for the Salt Lake Valley Local Government District – Bringing the Whirlwind Tour recruitment total up to 88 NEW MEMBERS!

Since we are so close to reaching our recruitment goal on the “ROAD to 100” after only one week, we are DOUBLING it and hope to recruit 112 more members during weeks two and three of the Whirlwind Tour. WE NEED YOUR HELP on the ROAD TO 200! See the detailed schedule for WEEK THREE below and stop by the event nearest you! Be sure to bring your coworkers, especially those who need to join UPEA – You’ll receive a $50 recruiter bonus for each member you recruit during the Whirlwind Tour!


monday, October 4: Salt Lake City & West Valley City

7:00-8:00am: Breakfast at the Region 2 UDOT
8:30-9:30am: Breakfast at the SLEC Workforce Services
10:00-11:00am: Breakfast at the Department of Natural Resources
11:30am-12:30pm: Lunch at the Cannon Health Building
11:30am-12pm: Lunch at the Split Mountain JJS
1:00-2:00pm: Lunch at the Tax Commission and Multi-Agency State Office Building
2:30-3:00pm: Treats at the Buffmire Voc. Rehab Building

TUESDAY, October 5: Salt Lake City & Tooele

8:00-9:00am: Breakfast at the Metro Workforce Services
9:30-10:30am: Breakfast at the State Office of Education
11:00-11:30am: Treats at the Metro Human Services
12:00-1:00pm: Lunch at the Heber Wells Building & Olene Walker DWS
1:30-2:00pm: Treats at the DABC Warehouse
2:30-3:00pm: Treats at the Tooele DWS & DHS
3:30-4:00pm: Treats at the Tooele County Building

WEDNESDAY, October 6: Taylorsville & West Valley City

7:00-8:00am: Breakfast at the Calvin Rampton Complex
8:30-9:30am: Breakfast at the Public Health Lab
10:00-11:00am: Breakfast at the Taylorsville State Office Building
12:00-1:00pm: Lunch at the Region 3 AP&P
1:30-2:00pm: Treats at the Taylorville Voc. Rehab
2:30-3:00pm: Treats at the Tooele DWS & DHS
3:00-3:30pm: Treats at the Decker Lack Youth Center

thursDAY, October 7: Draper, Sandy, & Taylorsville

8:00-9:00am: Tabling at the DOC Fred House Training Academy
9:30-10:00am: Tabling at the DMV/DLD in Draper
10:30-11:30am: Treats at the Sandy DCFS
12:00-1:00pm: Lunch at the South Valley DWS
1:30-2:00pm: Treats at the Sanderson Center for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing
2:30-3:00pm: Treats at the South Valley Voc. Rehab

FOLLOW UPEA on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date on all of the Whirlwind Tour details, find out how you can get involved, and follow along with staff throughout their state-wide journey!

State Employees Can Lend a Helping Hand from September 22 to November 5 

 Utahns are known for banding together to lend a helping hand. But did you know that if you’re a state employee, you have access to a quick and easy way at work to pool resources to help others? 

During the annual Lend a Helping Hand Campaign, you can support non-profit agencies through payroll deduction and/or one-time contribution at www.usecf.utah.gov. The 2021 campaign runs from September 22 to November 5. 

Hundreds of pre-qualified charities are available to choose from. Donating online is quick and confidential, and employees can donate a little or a lot – even small donations can do a lot of good!


This year, the campaign is borrowing Governor Cox’s “One Utah” tagline — the theme “Many Hands, One Utah ” is the perfect phrase to capture Utahns’ generosity and willingness give their time, effort and resources to help others.

Please consider joining hands with your fellow state employees by donating whatever you can at www.usecf.utah.gov.

The Utah State Employees’ Charitable Fund is governed by an unpaid board of Directors who are employees of the State of Utah and UPEA. Board Members, who are appointed by the governor, administer the annual campaign. For more about the Utah State Employees’ Charitable fund, visit www.usecf.utah.gov.

Apply to Represent UPEA on the URS Membership Council

The Utah Public Employees’ Association is looking for an individual to serve as a representative for the association on the Utah Retirement Systems Membership Council for the remainder of the current term. This seat has a four-year term, which began July 1, 2019, and ends June 30, 2023. The individual who fills this seat will represent the interests of all public employees. The duties of the council members are as follows:

  • Recommend to the Utah Retirement Systems (URS) Board and to the Legislature, benefits and policies for members of any system or plan administered by the URS Board
  • Recommend procedures and practices to improve the administration of the systems and plans and the public employee relations responsibilities of the board and office
  • Examine the record of all decisions affecting retirement benefits made by a hearing officer
  • Submit nominations to the URS Board for the position of the executive director if that position is vacant
  • Advise and counsel with the URS Board and the director on policies affecting members of the various systems administered by the office
  • Perform other duties assigned to it by the URS Board

There is no stipend for this position; however, the URS Board may decide to reimburse council members for their travel and expenses when attending meetings.


UPEA encourages any working member who would like to be considered for this position to apply. You must be a current, active UPEA member. Interested individuals should apply be mailing, faxing, or emailing a letter of intent, as well as a resume, no later than September 1, 2021 to:

Attn: Kendle Zdunich
1000 W. Bellwood Ln.
Murray, UT 84123

Email: kendle@upea.net

UPEA Task Force Discusses Career Service System and Performance Management

During the 2021 Legislative Session UPEA tracked House Bill 280, State Employment Amendments, sponsored by Representative Kay Christofferson (R-Lehi).   The provisions of HB280 exempted state employees hired in a supervisor position from holding career service status.  HB280 did not pass during the session and Rep. Christofferson invited UPEA to participate in an interim workgroup.


The workgroup met in April, May, June, and July to discuss state employee career service status, performance management, compensation, and the grievance process.

UPEA also convened an internal task force to discuss and research the background regarding the same items.  The task force members included UPEA officers and members representing the Departments of Corrections, Health, Workforce Services, Natural Resources, Transportation, Law Enforcement, and Human Services.  The UPEA task force outlined their meeting process and recommendations regarding the following items:

  • Hiring and Promotion Process
  • Performance Management
  • Grievance Process and Corrective Action

The Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA) considers Utah’s Career Service System, established in 1965, one of its most important accomplishments on behalf of public employees. Dismantling or altering the system would change state workers’ employment status to “at-will,” meaning they could be dismissed at any time without warning as long as their firing did not violate state or federal law.

Merit-based employment is vital to most categories of state workers because it prevents a “spoils system” under which politicians award government jobs as political favors and fire employees as political retribution.  Utah’s Career Service System, outlined in the Utah Personnel Management Act (67-19-3.1), ensures a stable, high-quality workforce that operates equitably and free of political coercion.

The Association favors supervisor training and proper use of performance management tools to address employee performance problems and satisfy critics who argue that Utah’s Career Service System restricts hiring and enables poor performers to keep their jobs. 


Hiring, Promotion, and Onboarding Process

  • The task force provided the following comments:
    • Process takes too long
    • Best candidates are not hired
    • Process is confusing
    • Qualified applicants are being lost in the process
    • Human Resources needs to support supervisors rather than blame them
    • Management already knows who they want to hire
  • Recommendations
    • Streamline the current hiring process
    • Each agency should compile a list of applicants for jobs/positions to speed up the process
    • Address problems with “key words” and “buzz words” so qualified applicants are not overlooked
    • The hiring process should include if a candidate is referred by an internal employee
    • Hire the best individual for the job
      • Proven experience
      • Skills and qualifications
      • Competitive recruitment
    • Provide effective job training for new hires and those promoted into new jobs
      • Job specific training
      • Management training
    • Timely performance feedback
    • Appropriate probationary periods
      • Length of probationary period should be determined by the complexity of the job
      • Probationary periods are a great tool and supervisors should be trained on employee development during the probationary period

Performance Management

  • The task force provided the following comments:
    • Utah Performance Management (UPM) system is not used to its full capacity
    • UPM can be a great tool if it is used properly
    • UPM only tracks pass/fail or successful/unsuccessful ratings
    • Employees need a tiered performance review rating
    • UPM should be used to track and recommend merit pay increases
    • UPM should be used to identify high performers
    • UPM is viewed negatively because it is used as a disciplinary tool
    • Managers do not use UPM
    • Managers and supervisors need management training
    • Lack of good quality training
    • Employees and supervisors need training on the UPM system
    • UPM needs to be used as a reward system
    • Performance evaluations need to be tiered
    • Create an employee performance system through UPM and discipline/terminate based on performance
    • Some agencies do not use UPM
    • Some employees only meet with their supervisor one time per year to discuss performance, if at all
    • UPM is not intuitive, and a new system should be used
    • Improve UPM
    • Training on UPM, supervisory, and management skills should be mandatory
    • Human Resources should provide training support
  • Recommendations
    • Provide a robust, comprehensive, and ongoing training process for supervisors and managers to include:
      • Performance management
      • Probationary employee development
      • Supervisor and management training
      • Leadership training
      • Human Resource requirements
      • Sensitivity training
    • Performance based pay increases should be directly tied to performance evaluations
    • Replace the current UPM system
      • Create an intuitive performance management system
      • Maintain employee/supervisor transparency
    • Provide periodic formal employee reviews
      • Discuss goals and future performance plans
    • Create a tiered rating system
      • 3-6 tiers
      • Measured performance
    • Expect maximum performance for the individual, division, and agency and management performance to obtain it
    • Provide timely and effective job/skills training
    • Encourage employees to manage their skills and expertise and to be engaged in their own careers
    • Encourage information individual/team feedback
    • Provide job opportunities, expectations, and opportunities for improvement
    • Promote taxpayer, employee, and management confidence
      • Create a positive cultural perception of state employees

Grievance Process and Corrective Action

  • The task force provided the following comments:
    • The process should put the employee on the pathway to success
    • Streamline the grievance process
    • The grievance process takes too long
  • Recommendation
    • Streamline the grievance process and empower employees in the proper use of performance management tools to address employee performance problems.

Public Employee Salute Celebrates Dedication to Service

The Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA) is proud to participate in the Public Employee Salute Program.  The idea for the program originated in 1999, when a past UPEA executive director noticed that KSL Radio had a special segment to recognize Utah teachers.  The segment is commonly known as the “Teacher Feature.”  However, there was no feature recognizing Utah’s public employees.  The following year, the UPEA and Mountain America Credit Union Public Employee Salute program began.

The following individuals have been nominated and recognized with the Public Employee Salute for their hard work for the state of Utah.

APRIL 2021

Zachary Richmond & Benjamin Goddard

Zachary Richmond and Benjamin Goddard are both members of the Utah Department of Transportation’s Incident Management Team. On March 4, 2021, they responded to a single-vehicle accident on I-15. One of the young occupants was not breathing or showing signs of a pulse. Zachary and Benjamin extracted them from the vehicle and started performing life-saving measures until medical personnel and additional troopers arrived. Because of these two incident management team members, the child returned home to their family. The incident management team recognizes it as a privilege and honor to work with these gentlemen. Thank you, Zachary and Benjamin, for utilizing your training and experience. 

MAY 2021

RJ Spencer & Crystal Street

RJ Spencer is the Director of Conservation with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. He is an incredible manager who champions his team to get work done efficiently while trusting them to perform their responsibilities. He is always willing to assist groups with events, projects, and assignments and makes the process a positive experience. RJ is dedicated to his team of employees and has a sincere appreciation for Utah’s farmers. He makes sure farmers have access to conservation resources through various programs and speaks with Future Farmers of America groups. During COVID-19, RJ successfully managed the grant award process for farmers adversely affected by the pandemic. RJ was vital in making sure communication was open between farmers, legislators, and various departments to ensure nothing fell through the cracks. Thank you, RJ for being a mentor to your employees and dedication to farmers. 

Crystal Street with the Utah State Developmental Center, has been a Lead Direct Support Professional for two years in the same apartment where she formerly worked as a Direct Support Professional. During her time in this apartment, she has thoroughly organized it and established a much-needed routine for her individuals to predict their day’s activities. Crystal is an amazing leader and example to her staff, developing a close working relationship with the guardians of her individuals and advocating for their needs. She ensures they are on time for medical appointments, trains her staff well, and develops good working relationships with the professional staff on the interdisciplinary team. Crystal is well-respected by everyone. Her extraordinary competence at doing her job gives her peers a tremendous level of trust that the individuals in her care are receiving the best quality of service. Crystal sets an excellent example for her staff and everyone on the team.

JUNE 2021

Many of the Public Employee Salute Recognition events were postponed during 2020. UPEA and Mountain America Credit Union were excited to bring the events back in June. Two luncheons were hosted to honor recipients over the past two years. Salute recipients represented various state and county agencies and traveled from around the state to attend the event. UPEA is grateful for the continued support of Mountain America Credit Union to recognize Utah’s public employees.

JULY 2021

Lucas Jones & Susan Johnson

Lucas Jones has worked for the Utah State Developmental Center for years earning respect from his colleagues and management team. He goes above and beyond to help the entire building run more smoothly. Lucas’s staff are loyal and supportive because he works right alongside them and never assigns a task he is not doing himself. He creates an environment for his individuals to receive excellent care by paying attention to detail and creating good working relationships with professionals. During the pandemic when no one could leave the building, Lucas adjusted the daily schedules to include more physical therapy, active treatment, and opportunities for his individuals to receive the care they needed to remain healthy and engaged. Thank you, Lucas for being a great example to follow. 

Susan Johnson, a Lead Direct Support Professional, with the Utah State Developmental Center is recognized for her exemplary performance. She is a leader to her staff, working right alongside them and is always coming up with ideas to mainstream processes and improve treatment for the individuals she supports. She shows extraordinary competence in assessing the individuals, the staff, and the system to generate something better. Susan makes it a priority to teach her staff about the individual, what is happening, why it is happening and what needs to be done differently. Her staff express gratitude for her leadership and guidance. Thank you, Susan, for being a great example of a leader and team player.

Keith Barnes & Charlotte Woodward

Keith Barnes, a District Permits Officer for Utah’s Department of Transportation, is always willing to step up in any situation or duty that is asked of him. This includes covering roadway permit jobs for other inspectors and giving back to the community after work hours. He has played several roles in past years as a football coach for several local high school programs. Keith is recognized for his commitment and strong work ethic. Thank you Keith for your dedication to the community! 

Charlotte Woodward has worked for the Utah Department of Health’s Division of Childcare Licensing for over 4 years. She is kind, friendly, and helpful to both members of the public and coworkers. Charlotte is exceptionally detail oriented and is skilled at drafting research based proposals. She has thorough knowledge of the division’s programs and the rules and regulations enforced. Charlotte’s work product and attitude reflect her commitment to the program’s vision and mission. She truly shows up every day to improve the quality of childcare for children and families in Utah.

Thank you all for your dedication to the citizens of Utah!
Click here to nominate an outstanding employee for recognition in the Public Employee Salute.

Join Us for the 2021 Whirlwind Tour Kick-off Celebration

Before they hit the road for week 1 of the 2021 UPEA Whirlwind Tour, you’re invited to join staff and fellow members for a KICK-OFF CELEBRATION! Stop by the UPEA office on Thursday, August 5 from 11:00am-1:00pm to help kick off the tour! Hamburgers, hotdogs, and other summertime treats will be available for attendees, as well as prize drawings and swag giveaways throughout the event!

The following Monday, August 9, staff will set off on WEEK 1 of the tour, visiting Price, Moab, Blanding, Kanab, St. George, Hurricane, Cedar City, Panguitch, Richfield, Gunnison, Mount Pleasant, and Nephi by the end of the week!

The tour will recommence on October 4 for WEEK 2, with staff visiting Roosevelt, Vernal, Heber, Ogden, Logan, Brigham City, Clearfield, American Fork, Provo, Spanish Fork, Orem, Salt Lake City, Tooele, West Valley, Sandy, and Draper.

In true whirlwind fashion, UPEA representatives will visit over 50 agencies and hope to recruit at least 100 new members over this 2-part tour.

You don’t have to wait until the Whirlwind Tour officially begins to spread the word about UPEA – This is a great opportunity to share the benefits of UPEA membership! For more information about our celebration kick-off, or any of the 2021 Whirlwind Tour events, please reach out to your UPEA representative.

FOLLOW UPEA on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date on all of the Whirlwind Tour details, find out how you can get involved, and follow along with staff throughout their state-wide journey!