UPEA Thanks PEAD Participants

As the 2017 Public Employee Appreciation Days (PEADs) come to a close, UPEA would like to thank everyone who attended an appreciation lunch.

It’s been a busy summer –  staff members have been visiting agencies around the state to bring lunch or treats in appreciation of public employees’ hard work. UPEA vendors such as Sprint, Colonial Life, and Costco also have attended these events to inform members about the discounts available to them.

These PEADs will continue through August, so make sure to stop by an event if you haven’t yet. Click here to see the schedule.

On behalf of UPEA, thank you for your service.

UPEA seeks 2nd Vice President Nominations

UPEA is seeking nominations for second vice president.

Election to the position is a four-year commitment. The successful candidate spends a year as second vice president, a year as first vice president, a year as president, and a year as immediate past president.

In order to be considered, a nominee must:

  • be a dues-paying member of UPEA for two years before the nomination
  • serve at least one year as a chapter or district officer or board member, or as an Advisory Council representative

Qualified nominees must notify the UPEA office of their intent to run by Oct. 12. Nominees also must submit the following documents by the deadline:

  • a letter of recommendation from their respective district
  • a resume outlining their involvement in UPEA, employment history, and participation in community or volunteer opportunities.

Nominations will not be accepted for any individual who has served as immediate past president in the past year.

According to UPEA bylaws, a primary election will be held if more than two qualified candidates are nominated for second vice president.

A primary election would be held from Dec. 15 to Jan. 15, and two successful candidates would  face off in a general election held from Feb. 1 to March 1.  Ballots would be counted on March 7 or the first work day after March 7 to determine the winner.

The second vice president is chairman of the UPEA Resolutions Committee and officially represents the State Board as a voting member of the CAPE Committee.

The first vice president is chairman of the UPEA Legislative Committee, which oversees the association’s legislative activity throughout the year.

Please submit any nominations and required documentation to Alene Schwei, aschwei@upea.net, or talk at the UPEA Office, 1000 W. Bellwood Lane, Murray, UT, 84123.


2017 Public Employee Appreciation Days

Join UPEA in celebrating your service! We’ll serve food & bring vendors to your work site!




Date / Time Name of Building Location Address of Location
Thurs. Aug. 3rd from 11:30-1:30pm SLCo Govt. Center 2001 South State Street, SLC
Tues. Aug. 8th from 6:00a-8:00am SLCo Public Works 604 West 6960 South, Murray
Weds. Aug. 9th from 12:00-2:00pm SLCo Environmental Health 788 East Woodoak Lane, Murray
Weds. Aug. 9th from 11:30-1:00 South County DWS 5735 S. Redwood Center
Weds. Aug 9th from 11:30-1:00 West Valley DCFS Office 2655 S. Lake Erie Drive, West Valley Cit
Weds. Aug 9th from 2:00-3:00 Medical Triangle 44 North Medical Drive, SLC
Thurs. Aug. 10th from 11:30-1:00pm Dept. of Natural Resources 1594 West North Temple, SLC
Friday August 11th from 12:00-2:30pm SLCo Landfill 6030 W California Ave., SLC
Tuesday Aug. 15th from 12:00-2:30pm SLCo Landfill 6030 W California Ave., SLC
Tues. Aug. 15th from 11:30-1pm Cannon Health Dept. 288 N. 1460 W., SLC
Tues. August 15th  from 2:00-3:00 Dept. of Agriculture 350 North Redwood Road, SLC
Wed.  Aug. 16th from 11-1pm


Brigham City DWS


138 West 990 South
Thurs. Aug. 17th from 11:30-1:00pm State Hospital 1300 East Center Street, Provo
Thurs. Aug. 17th from 2:30p to 4p SLCo Youth Services 177 West Price Ave., SLC
Fri. Aug. 18th from 11:30a-1:00p Pratt Aquatic Center

Pavilion #2 (corner of 200 West and Vine Street)

55 North 200 West, Tooele
Tues. Aug. 22nd from 11:00-1:00 Highland Health Office 3760 South Highland Dr, Holladay

3rd Floor Auditorium

Tues. Aug. 29th from 1:00-3:00 Utah State Developmental Center 895 North 900 East, American Fork


Weds. August 30st from 11:00-1:00 Public Health Lab 4431 South 2700 West, SLC




Date / Time Name of Building Location Address of Location


Thurs. Sept. 14th from 11:30-1:30 Tax Commission/ MASOB 210 North 1950 West, SLC


2017 General Council

General Council Recognition Banquet:

The 2017 General Council Recognition Banquet was a success. More than 150 delegates, honorees, and staff members celebrated the hard work devoted to the Utah Public Employees Association (UPEA) this year.  Many honorees for the Public Employee Salute, The MACU/UPEA scholarship, and the top district recruiters attended to accept their awards.

Matt Briggs, outgoing UPEA president, recognized board members and guests sitting at the head table. He then introduced UPEA Executive Director Todd Losser, who recognized all of the UPEA staff members and their dedication throughout this year.

Alene Schwei and Tracey Vollarth, from Mountain American Credit Union (MACU), then presented all of the Public Employee Salute winners with their certificates. To read more about the Public Employee Salute winners, click here.

Next, Kendle Zdunich and Eric Buchanan recognized the UPEA/MACU scholarship winners. To read about the scholarship winners, click here.

Finally, Pam Sorenson and David Hoffman acknowledged the winners of the 2016-2017 recruiter incentive and awarded the Top Recruiter of the Year Award to Johnny Christiansen. To read more about the recruiter incentive, click here.

After the recognition banquet, guests were encouraged to attend the president’s reception to congratulate Jeff Olinger, incoming UPEA president.

Opening Ceremonies:

Vikki Carrel, keynote speaker during UPEA’s General Council Opening Ceremony, presented on how to, “Build A Successful Teamwork Culture.” Carrel is a sought-after author and national speaker. She has conducted seminars across the nation and is a frequent contributor on regional and national television. She is the president of Vikki Carrel and Company, the creator of The Empowerment Project, and has recently written the book Puzzle Pieces.

When we think about a “team,” people usually visualize a collegiate/athletic team. However, we could be on a team whether it’s part of a family, work, relationship, or friendship. “You win as a team, lose as a team,” Carrel stated. UPEA is a team, your co-workers are a part of your team, and you have to learn how to be successful with others.

There is a “power of perception,” Carrel said. Ninety percent of the error in thinking is due to error in perception. Perception is your cognitive interpretation of the world around you. It can be influenced by your bias and background knowledge.

Five barriers that prevent momentum are:

  • resistance to change
  • limited direction that leads to misguided effort
  • inappropriate motivators
  • overload and distractions
  • no clear decision-making process

Identify what is holding you back; develop skills to increase personal motivation, productivity, and success.

With building a team comes building an individual, Carrel said. Create confidence and self-efficacy because self-esteem is learned, not inherited. Choices define you, and you control your choices. Carrel provided a “Vision and Value” handout using a “VISION” mnemonic:

  • Visualize your “zone of genius” by pinpointing your strengths, expertise, and skill set.
  • Identify your core values.
  • See your value by recognizing your positive impact.
  • Isolate key adjectives that describe your personality and personal brand.
  • Own your value by identifying your contributions as a business leader.
  • Note what you can do to increase motivation and productivity in your work environment.

When building relationships, you have to connect and collaborate. You must see the values in others, move beyond confined thinking, and have effective communication. Ninety-three percent of people use nonverbal communication. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Oftentimes we need to learn how to control our emotional intelligence (EI). “EI is the capability of individuals to recognize their own, and other people’s emotions, to discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and to manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt environments or achieve one’s goals.” EI can include body language, nonverbal signs, perceiving emotions, reasoning with emotions, understanding emotions, and managing emotions. Individuals need to understand when sense of humor is appropriate, have the ability to wait, know when to “stand your ground,” and avoid “winning for the sake of winning,” she said.

Some ways to build the team effectively are:

  • Welcome diversity
    • Avoid stereotypes, appreciate others’ differences, recognize others’ strengths
  • Identify productivity barriers
    • Personal bias and confined thinking

Some ways to reduce inefficiency are:

  • Build flexible thinking
  • Set intermediate deadlines for projects
  • Customize your schedule
  • Identify your high-peak performance time
  • Stop multitasking

We should all have character, competency, and commitment on a team. Once you acknowledge these helpful tips and information, you can start building the individual and team. If you are interested in learning more, please visit www.vikkicarrel.com.


Jeff Olinger, incoming 2017-2018 UPEA president, recognized the generous vendors who donated giftsfor the raffle. Olinger also expressed thanks to each delegate and introduced those seated at the head table. “Let’s continue to educate our members,” Olinger said. “We need to remind them why they joined UPEA in the first place.” If members have concerns, we need to be present and knowledgeable with the correct information.
Olinger told delegates to let him know when their meetings are. Whether it’s a district meeting, Q&A meeting, or any type of meeting, Olinger will attend. “My door is always open. Whether it’s an ‘email or phone door,’ it is open if you need me.”

After lunch, Deb McBride was introduced as UPEA’s newly elected  second vice president  and proceeded with a speech.  After McBride’s speech, Olinger introduced Lorin Barker, UPEA’s legal counsel from Kirton & McConkie to swear in the new officers, Advisory Council members, and State Board members. Barker continued with UPEA’s 2017 Policy & Platform, with the assistance of Elaine Bonham, and later finished with the introduction of Standing Committee chairs and Advisory Council chair.


Policy and Platform

UPEA delegates met to pass the UPEA Policy and Platform. UPEA’s attorney Lorin Barker from Kirton & McConkie conducted the meeting as the parliamentarian. UPEA’s Policy and Platform defines the mission statement and general welfare of the association. Delegates meet annually at General Council to vote on any changes. All districts select delegates to represent them and each delegate represents and votes on behalf of 40 UPEA members.

The delegates voted on two resolutions drafted by the Resolutions Standing Committee. The first resolution passed unanimously by the delegates discussed how “UPEA believes the two current health insurance options (Star and Traditional) for state employees should be funded on an equal basis.” The resolution continued to state that the Association “will work with the Legislature to ensure that changes in the funding of one health insurance option do not affect the funding of the other health insurance options.”

The second resolution discussed and passed by the delegates calls for conducting a district realignment study. This resolution sought to have the UPEA Board of Directors create a task force to “study UPEA’s current district structure, and also study potential district alignment and restructuring.” The original motion requested the task force present its findings to the UEPA Board of Directors. However, after much debate, the delegates added language to the resolution that once the UPEA Board of Directors accepted the report, it would then become available to all UPEA members via the Association’s website and at next year’s General Council.

As a member-based organization, UPEA offers the opportunity for members to get involved on the UPEA Resolutions Committee and recommend resolutions for discussion at General Council meetings. If you are interested in submitting a resolution to the Resolutions Committee, contact Executive Director Todd Losser at 801-264-8732 ext. 204 or todd@upea.net.





Recruiter Awards

The heart of any employee organization is membership growth and sustainability. The Utah Public Employees Association (UPEA) is no different. Public employees who needed a voice established UPEA as a grassroots organization, and the Association continues to operate today under the guidance and leadership of outstanding members.

We are so grateful to our members who help us grow our organization and affect change at the Legislature. Since July 2016, UPEA has had 428 new members. Of those, 83 are new retired members and 355 are working members.

During each quarter, all of the recruiters were put into a bowl and one name was randomly drawn for a $25 check. Quarterly drawing winners include:

  • FY17 1st – Tara Brunatti – District 10 – Salt Lake Valley Local Government
    • During the quarter, there were 189 new members recruited and 53 different recruiters.
  • FY17 2nd – John Christiansen – District 11 – Law Enforcement
    • During the quarter, there were 134 new members recruited in the quarter and 45 different recruiters.
  • FY17 3rd – Jackie PaulDistrict 10 – Salt Lake Valley Local Government
    • During the quarter there were 61 new members recruited and 26 different recruiters.
  • The annual recruiter winner (1st, 2nd and 3rd FY17 Quarters) – $200 reward Bryan Thatcher – District 11 – Law Enforcement
  • Top district recruiters – each receives a $25 check
    • Bear River – District 1 – Travis Jeppsen
    • Ogden Valley – District 2 – Linda Barrows
    • Mountainlands – District 4 – Cole Robinson
    • Panoramaland – District 5 – Chad Beck, Colton Curtis, Stacia Shumway, Traci Cahill, Aileen Macart, Tammy Powell, Sean Frost
    • Color Country – District 6 – Penny Rice
    • Uintah Basin – District 7 – Rebecca Pittman
    • Southeastern – District 8 – Amanda Leyba, Jimie Jones
    • Salt Lake Valley Local Government – District 10 – Mathew Markus
    • Law Enforcement – District 11 – John Christiansen
    • Transportation – District 12 – Kevon Ogden, Valentino Martinez
    • North Temple District 13 – Karen Roylance, Dave Cianto
    • Salt Lake Valley General Government – District 14 – Lori Benton, Angela Schmith
  • Recruiter of the Year – $250 check
    • John Christiansen – Law Enforcement District

John Christiansen is driven to help grow UPEA.  What are the characteristics of driven people?  1.) They have a passion for what they are doing; 2.) They are doers; and 3.) They have an internal need to win.

Drive is part of Christiansen’s DNA.  He never takes on any task half way.  If you have ever worked around Christiansen, it’s exhausting and energizing at the same time.

UPEA would like to honor Christiansen for the third year in a row with the Recruiter of the Year Award.  During his personal recruitment drive, Christiansen has recruited 318 members. Ninety-three of those were recruited during 2016.  His recruitment efforts are in addition to an intense job assignment, raising a family, and serving as an active member of the Utah National Guard.  Lack of time is never an excuse for him.

Christiansen’s efforts are unprecedented in UPEA history.  He has been the catalyst to help UPEA maintain a solid foundation as the largest employee organization in Utah.

Thank you for your dedication to UPEA!




UPEA/MACU Public Employee Salute Winners

The Utah Public Employees Association (UPEA) is proud to participate in the Public Employee Salute Program.  The program began in 2009, when a past UPEA executive director noticed that KSL Radio had a special segment called “Teacher Feature” to recognize Utah teachers.    However, there was no feature recognizing Utah’s public employees.  The following year, the UPEA and MACU Public Employee Salute Program began.  A total of 48 public employees have been honored during the past year.  Fourteen of the winners were honored at the Public Employee Salute Luncheon in September, while the remaining winners were honored at UPEA’s annual General Council.

Jessica Cook is an administrative secretary with the Department of Corrections, Adult Probation and Parole Division.  She has worked for the state for the past 11 years, 10 ½ of those years have been with the Adult Probation and Parole Division.  As an administrative secretary, Jessica supervises and trains nine support staff.  Cook also helps run reports that are critical to tracking and aiding in fugitive apprehension.  While running and reviewing these large statistical reports, Cook looks for new ways to make them more readily available for the AP&P staff.  When she isn’t being a liaison to various local agencies and community partners, Cook dedicates her free time to charitable organizations that include Children and the Earth.

Brett Burgi is an environmental health scientist with the Salt Lake County Health Department.  More specifically, Burgi is the food borne illness coordinator for Salt Lake County’s Health Department, Food Protection Division.  Burgi has worked for Salt Lake County for the past five years.  As a food inspector, he has inspected numerous restaurants throughout the valley. However, his primary focus is South Salt Lake, a challenging area for food protection.  His inspections are not just limited to restaurants; Burgi also inspects food trucks. His coworkers call Burgi their “go-to” person; if there is a difficult inspection that needs to get done, Burgi will do it!

 Ester Martinez is an appraiser at the Weber County Assessor’s Office.  Martinez has worked for Weber County for the past 25 years.  Her career includes helping Weber County citizens understand how their property (personal or commercial) is appraised, understanding property taxation protocol, assisting with commercial properties in Ogden Valley, etc.  Two years ago, Martinez was asked to help with the Multiple Housing Area; evaluating and verifying values for small income producing properties, Section 8 and HUD  housing, Section 24 and large apartments.  Without any training, Martinez dove in and has been doing an amazing job!  On top of all these duties, multiple offices (including her own) rely on Martinez to help with Spanish-speaking customers, and she does it all with a smile.


John Service is a heavy equipment mechanic for the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT).  He has worked for the state of Utah for the past 18 years.  As a UDOT employee, Service has had to deal with countless difficult situations and many of them not in the best weather.  Despite bad weather and challenging situations, Service constantly goes beyond his assigned work duties.  John’s dedication to his work, great work ethic, and excellent training ability have made him a model UDOT employee.


Elizabeth Virivong is the Immunization Program coordinator for the Salt Lake County Health Department. Her priority is to make sure Salt Lake County residents receive important education and vaccine services to protect them and their neighbors.  At back-to-school time, Virivong advised the county’s health clinics to extend their hours to better serve the numerous clients needing vaccinations before the start of the school year. This year, she partnered with Intermountain Health Care  to provide flu vaccines to Salt Lake County’s homeless and uninsured.  In addition to collaborating with local partners, Virivong is constantly looking for ways to make vaccines more affordable and of the highest quality for Salt Lake County residents.  A co-worker said it the best:  “Liz holds herself, her program, and the services provided by her program to the highest level.  Liz truly puts her heart and soul into her job.  She is most deserving of this recognition and honor for all that she does to improve the health and lives of the individuals in our community.”


Brad Christensen is a tax/motor vehicle specialist for the Utah Department of Motor Vehicles.  He has worked for the state of Utah for the past 24 years.  Christensen began his career working directly with customers as a title and registration clerk, helping guide citizens through the process of registering their vehicles.  Using his great customer service skills, Christensen has excelled in his current branch support role, helping co-workers who work directly with the public and making any necessary corrections, not only does he exceed expectations at work; he also helps with various charities in the community.  Whether it be testing new systems to be used by the Utah State Tax Commission or helping a co-worker assist a customer registering their new car, no task is too small.

Vea Ofa is a JJS counselor III for the Division of Juvenile Justice Services.  He has worked for the state of Utah for more than 15 years.  As a JJS counselor III, Ofa supervises and works side by side with troubled youth.  As taxing and stressful as it may be for most, he takes it in stride.  Ofa serves as a positive role model for the young men under his supervision.  His co-workers agree ,saying that, “Vea can lead and guide our troubled youth no matter where they are held.”





Rules Corner – Grievance Timeline

In the past few months, several members have brought employment issues to the Utah Public Employees Association’s (UPEA’s) attention. While a number of these concerns had merit, the member could not pursue a remedy through the grievance procedure because he or she failed to comply with the deadline to file a grievance. In light of this, it seems appropriate to remind our members about the requirements for timeliness in grievance matters.

Timelines relevant to the grievance procedure can be found in Utah Code. Specifically, time limits for submission of appeal (grievance) by an aggrieved employee are set out in 67-19a-401 et seq. For purposes of this discussion, pertinent aspects of the statute are as follows:

67-19a-401 (4)(a) states: Unless the employee meets the requirements for excusable neglect established by rule, if the employee fails to process the grievance to the next step within the time limits established in this part, he has waived his right to process the grievance or to obtain judicial review of the grievance.

67-19a-401(4)(b) states: Unless the employee meets the requirements for excusable neglect established by rule, if the employee fails to process the grievance to the next step within the time limits established in this part, the grievance is considered to be settled based on the decision made at the last step.

67-19a-401(5)(a) states: Unless the employee meets the requirements for excusable neglect established by rule, an employee may submit a grievance for review under this chapter only if the employee submits the grievance:

(i) Within 20 working days after the event giving rise to the grievance; or

(ii) Within 20 working days after the employee has knowledge of the event giving rise to the grievance.

67-19a-401(5)(b) states: Notwithstanding Subsection (5)(a), an employee may not submit a grievance more than one year after the event giving rise to the grievance.

67-19a-401(6) states: A person who has voluntarily terminated his employment with the state may not submit a grievance after he has terminated his employment.

The most important aspect of the statute relates to the 20 working day period. Remember that as an employee, you will not be the person determining when the timeline started, so if you are in doubt, simply contact your UPEA representative for advice. On the bright side, the rule requires that the agency give notice of your right to appeal/grieve any intended or imposed disciplinary action and this includes the timeline for your response.

Questions Regarding the Grievance Process?

Call Your UPEA Employee Representative at