DEED Meet and Confer minutes Aug 15, 2019

Publish Date

DEED Meet and Confer Minutes

Aug. 15, 2019

Present for MAPE:  Kirsten Peterson (chair), Jackie Siepker (vice-chair), Tim Qualley, Maureen Dunaway, Ted Sitz, Andy Given, Alana Strickler, Caitlin Reid (MAPE staff).  Also in attendance, to observe the meet and confer process, were MAPE-represented employees from DDS, VR, UI (both Call Center and Analysts), Job Service, Communications, and several others. The Committee thanks them for attending, and declares all future DEED Meet and Confers will be open to all MAPE-represented employees.

Present for the employer: Commissioner Steve Grove, Chief of Staff Anna Peterson, Assistant Commissioner Carol Pankow, HR Director Dorcas Michaelson, Deputy Director of Employment and Training Marc Majors, HR Specialist Jacqueline Lyaruu-Macha, UI Customer Service Center Director Jennifer Fuhr, CFO Julie Freeman, DDS Director Frank Gilbertson, SSB Interim Director Jon Benson, VRS Director Larry Vrooman, CareerForce Systems Director Lorrie Janatopoulos.

Commissioner Grove welcomed those in attendance, and made another commitment to improve the culture at DEED, to make the agency a work place which will be attractive to prospective employees. 


Employee Engagement Committee

Commissioner Grove committed to seeking the approval of the MAPE Meet and Confer Committee before implementing any resulting policy changes or initiatives from the Employee Engagement Committee. Commissioner Grove also committed to attend the next Meet and Confer meeting in person to report on outcomes and seek consent.

MAPE asked Commissioner Grove to appoint a member of the MAPE meet and confer team to the employee engagement committee.  Commissioner Grove noted that the composition of the employee engagement committee is subject to change, and that he wanted a committee distinct from the meet and confer, to promote a wider discussion of work place concerns.  Commissioner Grove also noted that several MAPE Members were selected to be on this committee.

Commissioner Grove added that he aspires to have “one” DEED, with everyone working on common goals.  He anticipates a massive cultural shift.  He noted that the November town hall will be held at DDS.

MAPE asked the Commissioner about changes to the Telework policy, and Commissioner Grove reported that modifications to the policy are dependent on the functions of each position. He believes telework is a valuable way to get work done.

Commissioner Grove was asked if exit surveys are being given to departing staff.  The Commissioner responded that he believes exit surveys are useful, but no commitment was made to make them standard procedure.  (DEED has a five-year, 32% regrettable attrition rate).

Commissioner Grove agreed with MAPE that there is a need for DEED to have greater transparency.

MAPE made another request to have a member on a committee which examines policies. 

Commissioner Grove was asked if a plan exists to replace retiring baby boomers. The Commissioner acknowledged that DEED has issues retaining younger employees and noted that employees need to feel valued, have decent supervisors, adequate compensation, and a career ladder.  Commissioner Grove added that workplace culture is impacted by everyone, and he welcomes feedback.  


DDS Climate Study Follow Up

MAPE inquired once again about the status of the DDS Climate Study.  Management reported that the study has been reviewed and post-survey, small-group meetings have been held. Frank Gilbertson, new DDS director, stated that he is receptive to being accessible to all DDS staff.   He is committed to trust, and wants employees to feel safe in expressing work place concerns.  Frank also pledged a commitment to clean the work place.  He admitted that the work of DDS employees has changed and that a back-up plan is needed.  He recognized that DDS Policy 2310.1 should be replaced with a policy which is more representative and effective.   Frank noted that policy 2310 needed to be updated as it no longer reflects how the work at DDS is no handled.

*Update: DDS Director Frank Gilbertson suspended DDS Policy 2310.1 for 90 days effective 8/16/19


UI Call Center – Sick Call-In Procedure

MAPE noted that most agencies have dedicated voice mail phone lines for employees who need to call in sick, and some agencies permit employees to inform their employer of absences by text message or e-mail.  MAPE requested that the UI CSC consider changing its policy which requires employees to call in and speak to an actual supervisor to report an absence.  No deadline was given, MAPE will follow up at next Meet and Confer in November.


DEED facilities – updates and timeline on potential moves

MAPE asked about the status of a potential change in location for the Central Office. Management reported that a request for proposal (RFP) will be sent later in August, and will be posted for four to six weeks.   The existing lease at the First National Bank building expires in 2021.  No final decisions have been made. A design study was conducted by architecture firm BWBR and is available on the DEN (DEED employee network).  MAPE requested advance notice on any change in location so that employees can plan changes to their commutes.


Broken links on DEN and other DEED sites

MAPE reported that many broken links are present on the DEN and other DEED sites.  Management understood this concern, and will have Elizabeth Frosch, director of strategic communications and research reach out to the meet and confer team with instructions on how to report broken web links. MAPE suggested adding a broken link eporting function to the DEN.


Data Requests

MAPE asked management how they would prefer data requests to be made. Management indicated that the existing process is acceptable.  MAPE noted that future requests may include:   DEED budget, FY 19, FY 20 for Supplemental negotiations; VR attrition rates; VR and DDS budgets; and employee engagement survey data.


Telework policy – update

Management provided another update to this policy, noting that infrastructure concerns are primary. Meetings on the policy are ongoing. Management added that they intend to give feedback to MAPE when changes are made to this policy.


360 reviews for managers – update

Management noted that anonymous 360 reviews of supervisors and managers are a priority for Commissioner Grove.  The process is still under development, and a draft has yet to be given to the Commissioner. No certain timeline exists.  MAPE inquired what will occur when the survey is completed. Management understood that most managers and supervisors do not frequently receive feedback.  Management recognized the need for feedback, and that it is welcome.  Management reported that feedback will be used to improve supervision.   


Weather and emergency protocols

Management provided an update to this ongoing agenda item. The existing policy was examined and a decision will soon be made to improve the notification process. Work site managers were advised to have policy in place to notify staff in the event of weather emergencies.  MAPE inquired about scenarios during which employees may have to travel long distances to alternative work sites which may be closed due to severe weather.  Management expected that some level of experimentation may be necessary given variations in weather over the State. Management added that alternative emergency contact phone numbers for employees are necessary.

Dorcas Michaelson briefed the committee on a web based system which is being tested that compiles information about local weather reports, road closures, travel advisories, and geographical locations