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.

 

Meet Our New Staff Members

Kendle Zdunich is the Utah Public Employees’ Association’s (UPEA’s) newest staff member and serves in the position of Membership Communications Representative. Zdunich, who is a St. George native, graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s of science degree in communication and a minor in business.Before joining UPEA, Zdunich worked for three years as a barista at a coffee shop on her college campus.  In her free time, she enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time with friends. Zdunich also loves to spend time with her family in St. George.

Alene Schwei, another new Employee Relations Representative, graduated from the University of Utah in May 2015 with a bachelor’s of science degree in International Studies with an emphasis in global health. Schwei studied abroad in Peru, where she participated in research about water quality in the outer-lying areas of Trujillo. Growing up in Southern California, Schwei spent most of her time on the beach before moving to Washington and then to Utah.  Before joining UPEA, Schwei worked part-time at the University of Utah bookstore and as a lifeguard/swim instructor for Salt Lake County.  In her free time, Schwei loves to swim, take photography classes, and spend time with her family.

Legislative Government Operations Committee Addresses Possible Changes to Employee Policies

Utah State Auditor John Dougall addressed the Government Operations Interim Committee during Interim Day on July 13.  He presented on public employee issues he believes are necessary for the Government Operations Committee and the Legislature to address. They include:

  • Review employee compensation, particularly the structure and division between salary and benefits.
  • Study changing job market demands.
  • Study Career Services and its purpose, limitations, and possible reforms.
  • Study the impact of automatic uniform pay increases on employee performance and management performance.

Dougall believes new employees working for the state care more about salary than benefits.  This results in market change because “millennials” have different priorities when seeking future employment.  He also referenced two bills from the 2016 legislative session HB 268 Attorney General Employment Amendments, sponsored by Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, and SB 176 Office of the State Board of Education Employment Amendments, sponsored by Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper. UPEA opposed both bills, which would have taken away the career service system for certain public employees.

Dougall said he favored these bills and advocated for their passage during the legislative session.  He indicated he would continue to support at-will employment, and encourages employers to thoroughly evaluate their employees and base their salary changes on performance.

UPEA will continue to oppose any attempt to move career service employees to at-will employment status.  Research proves efforts such as those sponsored by Noel and Stephenson have failed in other states and departments.  UPEA is monitoring any discussions and proposed legislation geared toward the elimination of the career service system.  Please visit UPEA.net for further updates.

CAPE Committee Endorses Candidates

The Citizen Action by Public Employees (CAPE) Committee is made up of Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA) members who volunteer their time to interview and endorse public employee-friendly candidates.  CAPE Committee members ensure that public employees have a voice and are represented in the political process.  Jeff Horrocks, who currently serves as the committee’s chairman, states that, “CAPE provides public employees, who may not have the time or resources, the opportunity to have a voice in the election and know that the candidates endorsed by the Committee will represent their interests and rights.”

The CAPE Committee has been meeting since the beginning of the year to discuss, interview, and endorse political candidates who are running for office.  Candidates are asked about their views on a variety of public employee issues such as compensation, benefits, retirement, healthcare, and privatization.  The responses by the candidates are one factor in determining whether the committee will endorse a particular candidate.  They also take into account the candidate’s voting history (if he or she is an incumbent), and if he or she has been favorable of UPEA issues in the past.  After the formal interview process, the committee discusses whether the candidate will continue to support public employee issues once elected.  An endorsement vote is taken to determine whether the committee will endorse or remain neutral in a specific race.

It is important to endorse and elect public employee-friendly candidates.  These are the individuals who determine and establish pay and benefits.  Through the power of voting, public employees decide who will represent them on crucial issues.

CAPE-Endorsed Candidates

To find your Senator and Representative click here

Office Candidate
Governor Gov. Gary Herbert
Senate 1 Sen. Luz Escamilla (D)
Senate 6 Sen. Wayne Harper (R)
Senate 8 Sen. Brian Shiozawa (R)
Senate 23 Sen. Todd Weiler (R)
Senate 24 Sen. Ralph Okerlund (R)
Senate 25 Sen. Lyle Hillyard (R)
Senate 27 Sen. David Hinkins (R)
House 4 Rep. Edward Redd (R)
House 8 Rep. Gage Froerer (R)
House 10 Rep. Dixon Pitcher (R)
House 13 Rep. Paul Ray (R)
House 16 Rep. Steve Handy (R)
House 20 Rep. Becky Edwards (R)
House 21 Rep. Doug Sagers (R)
House 22 Rep. Susan Duckworth (D)
House 23 Rep. Sandra Hollins (D)
House 24 Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck (D)
House 25 Rep. Joel Briscoe (D)
House 26 Rep. Angela Romero (D)
House 28 Rep. Brian King (D)
House 29 Rep. Lee Perry (R)
House 31 Rep. Sophia DiCaro (R)
House 33 Rep. Craig Hall (R)
House 35 Rep. Mark Wheatley (D)
House 36 Rep. Patrice Arent (D)
House 37 Rep. Carol Spackman Moss (D)
House 38 Rep. Eric Hutchings (R)
House 39 Rep. Jim Dunnigan (R)
House 40 Rep. Lynn Hemingway (D)
House 44 Rep. Bruce Cutler (R)
House 46 Rep. Marie Poulson (D)
House 49 Rep. Robert Spendlove (R)
House 53 Rep. Mel Brown (R)
House 58 Rep. Derrin Owens (R)
House 60 Rep. Brad Daw (R)
House 63 Rep. Dean Sanpei (R)
House 68 Rep. Merill Nelson (R)
House 69 Rep. Brad King (D)
House 72 Rep. John Westwood (R)
House 74 Rep. Lowry Snow (R)
SLCo Council-at-large B Council Member Richard Snelgrove (R)
SLCo Council #2 Council Member Michael Jensen (R)
SLCo Council #6 Council Member Max Burdick (R)
Treasurer David Damschen (R)

 

Committee Updates

Bylaws Committee Update

The Bylaws Committee recommended changes to the election process of the Utah Public Employees’ Association’s (UPEA’s) second vice president.  On June 4, the Advisory Council and State Board moved to adopt the changes proposed by the Bylaws Committee.  The changes are as follows:

ARTICLE VIII.  Officers

Section 4.        Election of the Second Vice President

  1. Nominations: At the November Advisory Council meeting Tthe Advisory Council shall nominate at least two (2) qualified candidates who agree to run for the office of Second Vice President. , provided that tThe Advisory Council may not accept the nomination of any individual who has served in the position of Immediate Past President of the Association during the one (1) year prior to being nominated unless the Advisory Council shall, for good cause shown and by a 2/3 votemajority of a quorum of those members present at the meeting, vote to accept the nomination.

The following requirements must be completed tTo be considered for a nomination to the position of Second Vice President, a potential nominee must:

  1. Be an active dues-paying member of UPEA for at least two (2) consecutive years immediately prior to nomination as a qualified candidate for Second Vice President;
  2. Submit a resume outlining involvement in UPEA, employment history, and participation in community or volunteer opportunities;
  3. Provide a letter from the member’s current District officers supporting their prospective nominee’s candidacy and that the nominee is a member in good standing.
  4. Must have served at least one (1) year as a Chapter or District officer or board member or Advisory Council representative.

A potential nominee must declare their intent to run, in writing, and provide their District’s endorsement letterThe information must be submitted to the UPEA office to the State Board prior to the State Board’s meeting held in October of each year.  The potential nominee’s eligibility information will be reviewed by the UPEA officersState Board at this meeting to verify eligibility.  Eligible candidates will be advised that their nomination may be presented to the Advisory Council.  If a potential nominee is determined to be ineligible, the State Board will advise the potential nominee that their nomination may not be presented to the Advisory Council.

In the absence of at least two (2) qualified candidates duly nominated by the Advisory Council, the State Board shall nominate aone or two qualified candidates, oras may be necessary to provide at least two qualified candidates, who agree to run for the office of Second Vice President.

Floor nominations in the Advisory Council meeting will not be considered.

  1. Write in Candidate: Any person who is ineligible to be nominated for Second Vice President shall be prohibited from conducting a write-in candidacy. Any person desiring to be a write-in candidate shall deliver notice to the Executive Director of his/her intent to be a write-in candidate no later than the December 1 prior to the election.  A write-in candidate shall participate in the Primary Election described herein below or he/she will be ineligible to be a candidate in the Final Election described below.  The State Board of Directors shall decide all disputes concerning the eligibility of any candidate for Second Vice President.regardless of whether the candidacy complies with this section.  No candidate shall have any right to appeal the State Board’s decision and the same shall be final and binding as to all candidates.

Legislative Committee Update

Survey Seeks Members’ Input on Legislative Priorities

The Legislative Committee encourages members to respond to the 2017 legislative survey sent to all members on July 11. The committee wants to know members’ priorities so they can be sent to the State Board and Advisory Council for further consideration.

The next Legislative Committee meeting is Aug.  24th at 6 p.m. At the meeting, the committee will vote on the 2017 legislative package and send it to the Advisory Council. If you would like to sign up to be a part of the Legislative Committee, please contact Kamarie Nicdao at 801-264-8732 ext. 203 or knicdao@upea.net.

UPEA President’s Message

I hope all of you and your families have had a great summer and your holidays have been safe and enjoyable. I can’t believe how fast the summer flies by.

The CAPE Committee is working hard, looking at the candidates who are running for various political offices.  Gov. Herbert took time out of his busy schedule to meet with members of the State Board and the CAPE Committee.  The governor was very complimentary about all the good work state employees do.  He is committed to continue working for fair wages and benefits for public employees.

The Membership Services and Public Relations Committee has also put together a new recruitment incentive program that was rolled out in early July.  I know you are talking about the great things that UPEA has to offer to your coworkers, family, and friends.  Please continue with your efforts. As UPEA grows, we all gain a stronger voice.

The UPEA standing committees are meeting throughout the year to develop programs to increase the effectiveness of UPEA.

Make sure you look at the calendar for the nearest PEAD (Public Employee Appreciation Day) coming to many work sites throughout the state.  Lunch will be served and vendors will be available to assist you with any questions.

Your UPEA staff continues to work hard tracking legislation from the last session and meeting with legislators to keep the needs of public employees front and center.  Most of us don’t realize all the “behind the scenes” work that takes place on a daily basis.  Many legislators rely on our staff to give guidance and direction when pieces of legislation are discussed.

Thank you for all of your hard work.  It is being noticed by those we serve.