Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Budget Presentation

Salvador Petilos, the director of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC) presented to the Business, Economic Development and Labor Appropriations Committee.  The presentation included where DABC plans to use the funds they are asking to be appropriated this year.

The DABC is split into three main operations:

  • Regulatory, which deals with licensing and compliance;
  • Education, which runs the Parents Empowered Program; and
  • Retail, which is over distribution and sales.

Mr. Petilos reported how much of the funding will be used to build or renovate stores.  Currently, the stores in Sugar House and downtown Salt Lake City are overused.  They serve a large population, which makes it difficult to run efficiently.  An expansion of the downtown Salt Lake City store is essential.  In the coming years, Petilos mentioned that it will be difficult to build stores in the downtown Salt Lake area due to its population.

Representative Patrice Arent commented that during the holiday season there are long lines at the stores that can go around block.  Mr. Petilos agreed that staffing is major issue within DABC and the agency will use some of the appropriated money for pay increases and to incentivize recruitment and retention. The current retail employee turnover rate is 80% and the DABC is 19 stores behind schedule.

Dr. Wilko, a staff member of the Business, Economic Development, and Labor Appropriations  Committee explained that if the Committee decides to appropriate funds that are non-lapsing, the DABC could meet their goals more efficiently and solve many of the issues facing the agency.  Senator Davis agreed that by having only appropriated lapsing funds over the past few years has hindered the DABC rather than helped.

DHRM Executive Director Stated His Top 3 “Human Capital Concerns” for the 2019 Year.

The Utah Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) reported that their critical human capital concerns for the upcoming year include creating and maintaining quality management, recruitment, and retention.  DHRM’s Executive Director Paul Garver, acknowledged that two of these issues, recruitment and retention, are compensation driven, while quality management may be obtained through other means.

Garver reported that DHRM has been studying the private sector benchmarks to attract employees, and they are looking at companies like Adobe, University of Utah Healthcare, and Financial Services Company for successful strategies.  A possible solution should be ready by the end of the fiscal year.  As for retention, Garver stated that we must “find the value” of working for the state of Utah, and it may be different for every employee.  DHRM has started implementing Employee Value Proposition surveys for current state employees.  These surveys will serve to identify why employees stay with the state of Utah, rather than finding why they leave, as an exit survey does.

To address the lack of quality management practices for the state of Utah, Garver plans to create a competency framework and implement quality manager training within all departments. Managers will be expected to meet the standards within the framework to increase leadership excellence.

UPEA will follow any DHRM legislation that may affect public employees. Please contact your UPEA representative with any questions.

HB51 – Free Market Protection and Privatization Board Revisions

The House Business and Labor Standing Committee met on Wednesday (1/30/2019).  Representative Kay Christofferson presented first substitute House Bill 51, Free Market Protection and Privatization Board Revisions.  HB51 sought to change the size and membership of the Board, as well as other technical and conforming changes.  The original version of HB51 removed the exemption on higher education from participating on the Board, however, this substitute did not include that provision.

HB51 reduces the size of the Board from 17 members to 11 members.  Rep. Christofferson stated the 11 members will allow for greater participation and the ability for decisions to be made with a quorum present.  The proposed Board would be comprised of 3 members from the Legislature, 1 member who represents the state’s largest public employee association (UPEA), 1 member who represents state management, 4 members to represent the private sector, and 2 members to represent the League of Cities and Towns as well as other special districts.

During the Committee hear some lawmakers were concerned with the Board’s perceived lack of power.  These legislators want the Board to have more influence over the issues and agencies that come before it, rather than simply the power to make recommendations. Rep. Marc Roberts asked if “there is a plan to go through each agency step-by-step to deliberate whether it should be privatized.”  Rep. Christofferson explained that the Board has already addressed the agencies and that while he is not against giving the Board more power, he also did not want to give the appearance that state government is encroaching on the public or private sector.

Todd Losser, Executive Director of UPEA, spoke on behalf of the bill and thanked Rep. Christofferson for his work in maintaining UPEA’s voice on the Board.

Ultimately, the lawmakers were split on whether they should favorably pass this bill out of committee.  According to House Rules, if there is a tie, a motion fails.  The bill may be heard in the committee in the future, and UPEA will continue to monitor HB51.

PEHP, Health Insurance Premiums, Transparency, and Cash Back Options

Health insurance premiums increased this year by 4.35%, which is $12.2 million. The legislature has indicated they will fully fund the increase.

In addition, PEHP is also focusing on transparency, and has developed a new cost tool where members can “find and compare options” that will give a breakdown of costs, common ranges, prices of doctors, locations of service, and more. This tool is beneficial to members because you will have the ability to compare options and make the most educated and cost-effective choice about your care.  This tool is available on PEHP’s website.  This new feature also has a green phone with a money sign above it.  When you are comparing your choices, these signs indicate there is a cash back incentive.  Members can call PEHP to see how much cash back is available.  Depending upon the choices, some members can receive up to $500 on a cash-back option.

PEHP is focusing on transparency, choice, and effectiveness for members.  UPEA will continue to keep you apprised of any program changes.

Understand the Issues: UPEA’s Vigilance Protects Utah’s Career Service System

Utah’s Career Service System covers most of the state’s “merit” employees, and guarantees fair compensation, retention based on performance, and access to a speedy grievance process, among other important rights.

In place since the Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA) fought for its creation more than 50 years ago, the Career Service System, outlined in the Utah Personnel Management Act (67-19-3.1), is key to a career in public service, yet state workers never should take its guarantees for granted.

Each year as the legislative session approaches, UPEA demonstrates vigilance in its efforts to protect the Career Service System from attempts to whittle away its protections. It foresees no such challenges so far for the 2019 Legislature, but as recently as 2016, lawmakers considered Senate Bill 176, which, if it had passed, would have empowered the Utah State Board of Education and the Department of Human Resources Management to offer financial incentives for some information technology and financial employees to voluntarily relinquish their merit status.

Across the nation, merit-based employment for state workers is under attack.  Arizona and Colorado are among states that have started to phase out some aspects of their merit systems.

Any effort to diminish or alter merit status afforded under Utah’s Career Service System would change merit employees’ 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.

UPEA believes 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 ensures a stable, high-quality workforce that operates equitably and free of political coercion.

The Association answers critics who argue merit employment restricts hiring and prevents firing of poor performers by advocating for improved supervisor training and proper use of performance management tools to address problems.

UPEA considers the Career Service System one of the Association’s key accomplishments, and it will continue to advocate for state employee rights. For more information, call (801)264-8732.









Winter 2019 President’s Message

I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday season with your families and friends. I also hope 2019 will be a good year for all of you.

I have some things that need to be brought to your attention.

  • The Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA) is getting ready for the legislative session and has posted the 2019 bill tracker online. If you are curious about which bills UPEA is watching and where those bills are at in the legislative process, feel free to check it out on our website.
  • UPEA has partnered with Mountain America Credit Union to offer three $1,000 scholarships to our members and their dependents. If you’re interested, please visit our website for the forms and requirements. All applications are due March 1. The successful applicants will be honored at General Council in March.
  • It’s almost time to vote for UPEA’s new second vice president. Make sure to read up on the candidates so you are able to make an informed decision.
  • I urge you to get involved in your districts. Each district has several positions that you could help out in.
  • Get involved with one of the standing committees that UPEA sponsors. Pick one that you are interested in or choose several committees; just get involved and let your voice be heard and be a part of shaping UPEA.

Thank you for all your hard work and being apart of UPEA.

Mark Murray, president




Apply for the UPEA/MACU Scholarship by March 1

Every spring, Mountain America Credit Union (MACU) partners with the Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA) to offer three scholarships to members of the Association or their dependents. Only members of both UPEA and MACU, their spouses, their dependents, and/or grandchildren are eligible to apply for the scholarship.

The awards are granted based on skill, scholastic ability, community service, and future employment plans.

Click here to access the scholarship application, which is due March 1 at 5 p.m. Send forms to the UPEA office, 1000 W. Bellwood Lane, Murray, UT, 84123-4494, or email them to

Scholarships will be awarded at the UPEA General Council recognition dinner on March 28 at the Downtown Salt Lake City Sheraton Hotel. Contact Kendle Zdunich at 801-264-8732 ext. 209 if you have any questions.