Governor Herbert’s Visit and Interview

The UPEA State Board of Directors and CAPE Committee met with Governor Gary Herbert on July 11, 2016, at the UPEA offices.  UPEA’s leadership asked the Governor a variety of questions about public employee issues and his views for the future of Utah’s public employee workforce.

The Governor opened the meeting by stating that, “Utah is the envy of most states.  Our economy is doing very well.  People decide to stay and live in Utah because of the high quality of life.  Our public employees do a great job making Utah do remarkable things.”

The Governor also indicated that, “Utah is the 5th fastest growing state in the nation with one of the youngest populations.  The successes Utah is having is because of the hard work and dedication of our state employees.  I want to make sure employees are compensated fairly.”

Governor Herbert replied to the following questions:

  1. What is the most important issue facing Utah’s public employees?

Answer – The most important thing is for employees to know they are appreciated and this is shown in many ways, including through fair compensation. During my time as governor,  I have consistently supported increases in compensation for pubic employees. In order to retain our great public employees, we need to make certain they are fairly compensated. We have asked state agencies to improve their efficiency by 25 percent and they have risen to meet that challenge. They deserve our appreciation.

  1. There has been a recent effort to abolish the state merit system for employees, what is your position on this matter?

Answer – There is no upside to abolishing the state merit system.  It will cause anxiety among the employees.  I am not looking to change anything.  The state merit system is a balanced program and there is no need to change anything.

  1. What is your position on the privatization of state services?

Answer – There is no need to privatize services.  At the end of the day, government needs to keep doing what it does best, and the private sector needs to keep doing what it does best.  We work for the same people.

  1. Do you support public employees being involved in the political process?

Answer – I would be disappointed if public employees were not involved.  The citizens of Utah are not as involved as they should be in the political process.  If you don’t show up and vote, then you don’t get to complain.  We all have a responsibility as citizens to vote, and people need to let their voices be heard.

  1. Should state employees have the opportunity to become active in UPEA?

Answer – I believe in the importance of associations and have led associations myself.  Voices are stronger together than alone.  There should not be any intimidation from supervisors or managers and employees should not be discouraged from joining UPEA. My deputy chief of staff and others in my office have been UPEA members for a very long time. I appreciate the perspective they and many other UPEA members bring to our administration when we discuss issues facing our public employees.

  1. How do you plan to promote a strong public workforce?

Answer – We need a good environment for public employees.  We need more appreciation for their service.  Promoting a strong public workforce can be achieved by making sure employees are compensated and treated fairly.  We all recognize that things are not perfect, and will never be perfect, but we should strive for perfection. I’m proud of the work our public employees do to serve the people of our community.

  1. Do you believe public employees should continue to have voluntary labor association membership dues deducted from their paychecks by their government employer?

Answer – Certainly. UPEA is a voluntary membership organization.  Technology allows us to provide payroll deduction at little to no cost to the taxpayers.

  1. Are you satisfied with the performance of the Utah Retirement System (URS)? What would you do to improve the performance of this entity?

Answer – The URS is doing better now than it has in the past.  I know the system is not fully funded, but it is actuarially sound.  Only one state is fully funded and that is Wisconsin.  Our investment growth has improved and is performing really well.

Governor Herbert concluded the meeting by thanking the UPEA State Board and CAPE Committee.  “I want to thank you.  I appreciate what you do.  You are respected throughout the state.  UPEA has been kind to me and I do not take that for granted.  I hope you continue to support me.  We can continue to work together on what needs to be improved.  I realize that every state employee is not a member of UPEA, but I appreciate the support and dedication of your membership.

Public Employee Salute Winners

PES

UPEA is Looking for 5-Star Public Employees

Please consider nominating a co-worker for the Public Employee Salute.  Utah taxpayers need to know about the people who do great things behind the scenes.  You can let them know by nominating an outstanding public employee.  Along with public recognition, winners are honored at a quarterly Salute Recognition Luncheon.

 

Click here to nominate someone.

You may know someone who meets the following criteria,

Extraordinary competence in performing functions
Creativity in identifying problems and devising workable, cost-effective solutions
Excellent relationships with the public and other employees
Commitment to serving the public as the client
A commitment to economy and efficiency in government
Volunteers his or her time in an effort to give back to the community

 

 May

Lindy Varney, DWR

Lindy Varney is a licensing specialist for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.  In her position, Lindy is asked to handle some very difficult situations including complaints from hunters and anglers regarding their permits.  She assists in allocating special permits and addresses public safety and agriculture conflicts caused by wildlife.  Lindy always handles these calls in an appropriate and professional manner, even when the caller is upset or angry.  As an avid hunter, Lindy puts herself in the clients’ position and uses her personal experience to resolve difficult situations.  She always does her best to represent the interests of DWS and the public.  Lindy is a tireless worker and is very deserving of the Public Employee Salute.

Dan Trujillo, SLCC

Dan Trujillo is a Program Development Director with Salt Lake Community College.  Part of his job is providing training for students, staff, and corporations.  Whenever Dan makes a presentation or conducts a training session, everyone in attendance agrees that he makes it fun, educational, and well worth their time.  He recently conducted a workshop for SLCC employees and would not accept payment for his services, even though it was considered one of the best training sessions of the year.  Dan is a fun, personable trainer, and has a wealth of knowledge regarding computers and software.  He shines in his job and is appreciated by his coworkers, students, and staff at Salt Lake Community College.

LeeAnn Herndon, DWS

LeeAnn Herndon is a Disability Specialist with the Department of Workforce Services.  LeeAnn is a physically active person who wants to share her desire for a longer healthier life with everyone around her.  She serves on numerous committees within DWS including the Wellness Committee.  LeAnn uses her positive attitude and encouragement to spear-head healthy activities such as lunchtime workout sessions, a snack shack of healthy snacks, and an hourly plank session throughout the day.  LeeAnn has encountered obstacles in the process of creating these activities, but she uses her engaging personality and optimistic view to gently encourage those she works with.  She is an example of how little changes can make a big impact.

 

 June

Wendy Rallison and Julie Steed, DOC

Wendy Rallison and Julie Steed are Volunteer Specialists with the Utah Department of Corrections.  Julie has been with the department for 24 years and Wendy has been with the department for 3 years.  They are part of a three member team that manages over 1,500 volunteers.  In order to successfully work with volunteers Wendy and Julie are involved in extensive training in order to document staff files and process daily clearances for group who provide activities to the offender population.  They interact with guests including LDS General Authorities, U.S. Senators and Representatives, and Native American representatives.

Wendy and Julie also generate safety and security clearances for performance groups.  These clearances require extensive work on a daily basis to provide background checks, staffing allocations, policy review, and communication within the department.

These two amazing individuals support the department’s vision and mission in promoting a culture of accountability and integrity.  In addition, they provide the opportunity for life changing experiences for both volunteers and offenders.

Nancy Lucero, SLCo: Food Protection

Nancy Lucero is the Office Support for the Food Protection Division of Salt Lake County’s Health Department.  For the past 14 years, Nancy Lucero has been the smiling face that greets customers when they enter the Food Protection’s office, and more often than not they leave the office with a smile on their face.  Not only can Nancy solve customers’ problems, but she can do this all the while answering telephone calls and emails.  Along with being a multi-tasker, Nancy’s high degree of integrity and responsibility keeps the Food Protection’s office running so smoothly.  Her hard work and dedication to the Salt Lake County Health Department allows the food inspectors to be successful and do their job to protect public health.

Courtney Dickinson, DOC

Courtney Dickinson is an officer for the Department of Corrections and has worked for the state of Utah for 3 years.  In this short amount of time, Officer Dickinson has continually shown her fellow coworkers that she will give 100%, no matter what the task is.  She is a team player and a great example for any officer.  She is able to look at a situation and come up with several alternative solutions to the problem.  Not only does Officer Dickinson help train staff at the in-service and pre-service academies, she has rewritten the trainings for the Hostage Taking & Negotiation, Property Processing & Institutional Security classes, and helped rewriting the “On the Job” training manual for new officers starting at the prison.  Along with performing regularly required duties, Officer Dickinson actively recruits potential officers, and volunteers at the Draper Days parade and Autism Speaks events.

Jennifer Storie, Office of Lt. Governor

Jennifer Storie is the Special Assistant to Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox.  Jennifer has worked in the public sector for many years and began her career in public service as a United States Postal carrier.  She then worked with the Utah Courts system, which led her to her current position as Special Assistant to the Lieutenant Governor.  Jennifer has assisted in creating bills that have been presented before the Utah House and Senate and has also served as the “keeper of the Great Seal of the state of Utah” for all legal documents that bare Utah’s seal.  Jennifer’s tireless work ethic and professional demeanor has gained the respect of her coworkers, including the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and countless Utah State officials.  Jennifer’s commitment to public service does not stop at the end of her work day.  In her free time, she volunteers with the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, the local LGBTQ community, and local Human Rights Campaign events.

Jake Brown, UDOT: Cottonwood shed

Jake Brown is a Highway Operations Manager for the Utah Department of Transportation, and manages the Cottonwood shed, which services both Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons.  Jake, and his crew at the Cottonwood shed, ensure the community and the traveling public who use the two canyons are safe.  Under his leadership, the crew has installed flexible delineation and hazard panels to improve visibility and problems on the side of the road.  Not only does Jake make sure the roads are clear of snow for the local (and out of town) skiers, but he also makes sure that homeowners are safe from natural disasters such as mudslides that occur after large amounts of snow fall.  Jake and his crew have helped numerous homeowners dig out of the mud and have installed barriers to prevent future mudslides.  Jake is the true definition of leadership.  He always puts his family, his crew, and the public ahead of himself.

 

July

Amanda Brown, USOR

Amanda Brown is a Vocational Rehabilitation Transition Counselor for the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation.  Amanda has worked for the State of Utah for the past 9 years.  As a Transition Counselor, Amanda works with clients from the ages of 14-22 by helping them learn job skills.  She regularly meets with her clients at her office, as well as makes the extra effort to meet with them at their schools.  Amanda celebrates each of her client’s successes and works at helping them gain self-confidence and self-reliance.  Along with being a great counselor for each of her clients, Amanda is an exemplary coworker.  She will always assist and help out, no task is too small.

Daryl Christensen, UDOT

Daryl Christensen is the Materials Lab Manager for the Department of Transportation Region 4.  When a Region 4 UDOT employee is having issues with equipment or material quality Daryl is the person they go to.  He has also changed the way the state chooses a construction contractor.  Normally, the state uses a “cost plus time” method when selecting a contractor.  That all changed a year ago when Daryl introduced a “quality factor” into the selection method.  Now, when the state selects a contractor, their quality of work is also taken into consideration.  This is the first time, on a national basis, that the quality of a contractor’s previous work is considered during the selection process.

 

 

Join Us For Lunch On a Public Employee Appreciation Day

Utah Public Employees’ Association staff has been busy this summer visiting several locations in the state to say thank you for your public service.  We have been grilling hot dogs or providing sandwiches in appreciation for all you do. The Public Employee Appreciation Days (PEADs) have been a great opportunity to meet people, talk about important issues and explain the importance of being a member of UPEA.

UPEA offers many benefits and discounts to members.  Several of these vendors attend the PEADs to talk with members about their services and discounts.  Be sure to stop by their tables to see what they have to offer.

UPEA will continue to have the PEADs throughout September.

Everyone is invited so please bring your co-workers and introduce them to UPEA.

On behalf of UPEA, thank you for your service.

August

Date / Time Name of Building Location Address of Location

 

Tues. Aug. 9th from 11:30-1:30pm Developmental Center 895 North 900 East, American Fork
Thurs. Aug. 11th from 11:30-1:30pm SLCO Govt. Center 2001 South State Street, SLC
Tues. Aug. 16th from 11:30-1:30pm Tooele DHS / DWS 305 North Main Street, Tooele
Thurs. Aug. 18th from 12:00-1:30pm State Hospital 1300 East Center Street, Provo
Tues. Aug. 23rd from 11:30-1:30pm Sandy DCFS 10008 S. Creek Run Way, Sandy
Weds. Aug. 24th from 12:00-2:00pm SLCo Environmental Health 788 East Woodoak Lane, Murray
Weds  Aug. 24th from 10:30-11:00am Woodscross DWS 763 W. 700 S., Woodscross
Weds. Aug. 24th from 11:30a-12:00pm Bountiful Div. of Rehab 150 North Main #103, Bountiful
Weds. Aug. 24th from 12:30-1:00pm Layton Div. of Rehab 2984 N. 400 W. #A, Layton
Weds. Aug. 24th from 1:45-2:15pm Clearfield DWS/DCFS 1350 E. 1450 S., Clearfield
Thurs. Aug. 25th from 11:30-1:30pm Dept. of Natural Resources 1594 West North Temple, SLC
Tues. Aug. 30th from 11:30-1:30pm Brigham City DWS 138 West 990 South
Tues. Aug. 30th from 12:00-2:30pm SLCo Landfill 6030 W California Ave., SLC

 

September

Date / Time Name of Building Location Address of Location

 

Thurs. Sept. 8th from 11:00-1:00pm Vernal DWS 1050 West Market Dr., Vernal
Thurs. Sept. 8th from 2-3pm Roosevelt DWS 140 West 425 South, Roosevelt
Tues. Sept. 13th from 11:30-1:30pm Tax Commission / MASOB 210 North 1950 West, SLC
Thurs. Sept. 15th from 11:30-1:30pm Price DWS 475 West Price River Rd., Price
Thurs. Sept. 22nd from 6:00-7:30am SLCo Public Works 604 West 6960 South, Murray

UPEA Meets with Utah State Office of Rehabilitation Employees

UPEA hosted two open houses with Utah State Office of Rehabilitation (USOR) employees in response to legislation passed during the 2016 legislative session. The bill, HB 325, sponsored by Rep.  Norm Thurston, R-Provo, moves USOR employees from the Utah State Office of Education to the Department of Workforce Services (DWS). At the meetings, employees voiced concerns about job security, pay, facilities, communication, and adapting to the culture of the new department.

UPEA met with DWS administrators to relay these concerns and seek clarification regarding how the transition would affect employees. DWS indicated that USOR employees will not lose their jobs, and there will be no reduction in pay. In addition, there are no immediate plans to close offices. Facilities will be evaluated as leases come due over the next several years.

DWS Executive Director Jon Pierpont and USOR Executive Director Darin Brush have been visiting various USOR offices throughout the state this summer. UPEA encourages USOR employees to participate in these meetings.

Biweekly updates and more information can be found at www.jobs.utah.gov/usortransition. If you have questions regarding this issue, please contact UPEA at (801) 264-8732.

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Rules Corner

Public Employees Seeking Office Must Comply With Federal Law

This election year, employees may be considering whether they would be fit to run for public office, but running may be more difficult than expected.

The Hatch Act is a piece of U.S. legislation dating back to 1939. The act prohibits federal employees and certain local government employees whose salary is 100 percent funded by federal grants or loans from engaging in partisan political activity. The purpose of the Hatch Act is to ensure that federal funds are administered in a nonpartisan fashion and to protect employees from political coercion.  A state employee who desires to run for public office must follow Department of Human Resource Management Rule 477-9-4-2, which states:

 (2) Prior to filing for candidacy, a state employee who is considering running for a partisan office shall submit a statement of intent to become a candidate to the agency head.

(a) The agency head shall consult with DHRM.

(b) DHRM shall determine whether the employee’s intent to become a candidate is covered under the Hatch Act.

(c) Employees in violation of section R477-9-4(1)(b) may be disciplined up to dismissal.

(3) If a determination is made that the employee’s position is covered by the Hatch Act, the employee may not run for a partisan political office.

(a) If it is determined that the employee’s position is covered by the Hatch Act, the state shall dismiss the employee if the employee files for candidacy.

Although there are rules, every employee is encouraged to participate in politics. Just be sure to follow your human resource policies and understand the process if you decide to run for public office.

 

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