MNIT Meet and Confer minutes Nov 6, 2019

Publish Date

Meeting Minutes: MNIT Meet & Confer

Date:                                         11/06/2019

Location:                                  Centennial Office Building


MAPE Members & Staff: Jed Becher, chair – MNIT @ DNR; Gary Wass – MNIT @ DOT; Kassie Church – MNIT @ Veteran Affairs; Almad Usman - Enterprise; Greg Naumann – MNIT @ MDE; Nic Frey – Business Agent; Lyz Martin – Business Agent

MNIT Management: Tarek Tomes –Commissioner; Chad Thuet – Human Resources Director; Brian Fitch – MNIT Human Resources; Nicole Schultz – MNIT Labor Relations; Yia Her – MNIT Labor Relations

Commissioner Tomes joined the committee, sharing his vision with the team and introducing himself. The commissioner and HR director Chad Thuet shared a positive example of how MNIT utilized enterprise resources during a recent Cyber Security event involving DOC. MNIT@DOC and Enterprise staff worked with multiple partner agency MNIT staff to mitigate the issue as quickly as possible.  Due to the great work, this event was a non-media event. Without a larger statewide IT agency to draw from for resources, the downtime for DOC would have been much longer and would have certainly been a news worthy event with inmates being in lockdown for multiple days while systems were being brought back online.

Old Business

  1. Metro Pass subsidies

M&C committee: Asked for an update as the takeaway from last time was on MNIT to look into the matter:

What the eligibility rules will be, who can use the new contract. Are only rate-based employees eligible? Can non-rate based staff use the contract?

  • What will eligibility rules be?
  • Will only rate-based employees be eligible?

Response: There is no update. Justin was to spearhead this but he is no longer with the agency. Chad said that if there are staff that would like to participate, share the names and Chad can work directly with agency partner to get those a pass or can spearhead the process if there are more than five people.

M&C committee: Will MNIT HR send a note out to non-metro staff to see whether employees are interested in metro pass? Or do a survey?

Response: Because of workload, HR cannot take this on at this point.

M&C committee: M&C will send a note (survey) to members of non-capital complex and share results with MNIT management as to who has interest in a pass and management will explore options. MNIT will need at least five new staff to set up a MNIT rate with Met Council.

  1.  B&B issues

M&C committee: Reiterated the ongoing building issues.

Response: Chad updated the status of issue. Chad conversed with Jennifer Smith and she is ready to do a walkthrough of the building in conjunction with MAPE members. Waiting for names from MAPE to finalize the scheduling of the meeting.

Final Resolution: MAPE to share 4 names to get the scheduling done for a meeting between DHS Facilities Management, landlord representative, ADA staff, MNIT Safety, someone from MNIT HR, MNIT and DHS managers, plus 4 MAPE employees at B&B.

  1. Minimum workstation Standards

M&C committee: Shared example of at some agencies, MNIT employees have broken chairs, non-functional refrigerators. Some minimum standards that agencies can provide will be helpful. Creation of a minimum standard.

Response: Maybe we need some general funding to ensure that MNIT employees have the day-to-day necessities. Chad suggested that MAPE try to solicit ideas from employees at host agency locations on how to deal with this issue.

  1. Employee Recognition Policy

M&C committee: Inquired whether there was follow-up done on it.

Response: Aware that ERC proposed to re-instate the achievement award. Commissioner Tomes and Deputy Commissioner Eichten agree that this should be implemented. ERC will be bringing recommendations to Tarek & Jon on how to fund this. This may not happen for this year but hopeful that there will be some compensation for members next year.
With saying that, ERC is working on getting some kind of financial compensation for MNIT award winners for this year. The committee is open to join, search for employee recognition on the intranet to find contact information.


  1. Onboarding & New Employee Orientation

M&C committee: Inquired for follow-up to the questions that were sent by MAPE. How do we get staff in agency-based offices to understand rules in the building?

Response: sent responses back to M&C committee previously.

Final Resolution: M&C committee will look at the responses and take next steps.

  1. HR Rep at B&B

M&C committee: inquired whether HR had the opportunity to explore the matter to have an HR representative present once a month for ‘Office hours’ at the location.

Response: There is not a HR generalist. All HR positions have specific roles and duties. HR staff members can come to staff meetings and are open to work with members to speak/share/meet employees.

M&C committee: Do not want a HR resource be permanently placed there but rather once a month where people can ask questions.

Response: If there is a request for an HR presence for a specific reason / topic, they are willing to come for one off events but need to know what topics staff want information about so that the proper HR staff attend.

M&C committee requested revamping the current intranet HR contacts page as it is confusing.
Response: will work on it to make it more user friendly to ensure that employees can find HR contacts easily.

  1. Continual Slide in relationships

M&C committee: Followed-up on the perceived continual slide in relations between host agency staff and MNIT @agency staff.

Response: Commissioner acknowledged and shared that his vision of a “Reimagine IT” event will tackle this and work directly with our partner agencies to illustrate the point that we are partners and not consultants. We are not an alternative entity. This will take continual messaging and that is what leadership plans to do.

Chad – Would like specific examples of incidents in which there is disrespect/disregard for MNIT being displayed by our business partners so we can address those situations accordingly. Chad is willing to spearhead that and willing to reach out to colleagues with the @ agencies to resolve such issues. If anyone has such examples, please share with a Meet and Confer team member.

  1. Device Policy

M&C committee: What is the definitive policy regarding using personal cell phones to access work email, skype, teams or other software’s?

Response: There is a MNIT mobile device policy. It is a joint policy between MNIT, MMB & Dept. of Admin.
The policy is currently being updated and the new version will be published soon.

M&C committee: Can some clarification language be shared whether members can use these apps on their personal devices for work purposes or not.

Response: Andi wasn’t present and so we don’t know if she connected with Kevin Rosar and/or what she may have learned. Management clarified that there is no expectation to use personal devices for business; however, MNIT has provided guidance on how employees may use their personal devices for business as a “convenience, not an expectation.”

New Business

  1. Topic for commissioner

Commissioner Tomes talked the about tactical plan. There will be a strategic plan that will be developed for @ agencies location. MNIT did a senior leadership retreat to work on the tactical plan. The commissioner shared that Governor Walz has more visibility to the MNIT portfolio than any of his predecessors. The governor asked MNIT to develop a statewide go-live process for priority one applications in conjunction with the governor’s office.

MNIT will be doing a “Reimagine a relationship” workshop with agency partners: It will be a two day facilitated event, which will be scheduled for early next year with commissioners of agencies regarding what they as stakeholders/customers need from MNIT for MNIT to be an effective IT partner. This workshop will also tackle mending the relationships and how to ensure that we are treated like a partner and not a contractor. Initially, this event will be for agency commissioners and agency higher management. During this first round, neither MNIT leadership nor MNIT staff will be involved with this workshop.

  1. Emergency Alerts

M&C committee: Brought up the issue – Almost all agency partners do not have MNIT employee’s information for emergency notification systems so agency staff will be notified but MNIT staff will not receive the agency based emergency notifications.

Response: According to data practices law, chapter 13, MNIT cannot share personal information such as personal cell phone numbers with partner agencies unless there is actual emergency. Unfortunately, MNIT cannot share these in preparation for an emergency.
Chad: we can have everyone sign waiver and share information, which is what one smaller host agency did.
As an alternative MNIT is working on process to send messages to employees based on contact information they provided in self-service via the EVER Bridge system.
Chad: MNIT Employees will call 651-297-1111 or enter ticket to the service desk who will then use Ever Bridge to send urgent messages out to MNIT @ agency employees letting them know that there is an emergency. There is a solution in place now.

M&C committee: The solution is not optimal. If a member signs consent, do they expose the data to be released?
Response: Probably.

M&C committee: There was an agency where MNIT employees were added to a host agency notification system without their consent.

Response: Aware of the situation and it was addressed with that agency by MNIT staff signing a release.

M&C committee: Can we in conjunction with MNIT bring forth a legislative change request to ensure that data is shared for emergency preparation purposes?
Response: Suggested that MAPE start with MNIT legal team. Brandon Hirsth, initial point of contact from MNIT side. Michelle Klatt can be consulted as well.

  1. Job Confusion

M&C committee: Shared example from an agency where ‘Project Analyst Leads’ are guiding and directing work to MNIT employees. Is this a job option, offered by MNIT?

Response: Not aware but will investigate it. There are guidance documents that we offer on how projects should be run. Need/require more information to respond to the concern.  Need MAPE to provide more information as to what a PAL is and provide more information overall and what we would like management to do specifically or MAPE will drop this item from future agendas.

  1. New ITS Classification

M&C committee: inquired regarding the new Job classification that was part of the contract.

Response: Until the new contract goes into effect (November 22, 2019), we are not authorized to do work on it, but can share the tentative details for it. These positions will be covered by MAPE.
There is only one new classification at a level that will attract people instead of hiring contractors. This position will be used to hire staff that possess a uniquely qualified skillset like Oracle, PeopleSoft, and Security Analysts etc. There is not a name for this classification that has been finalized. All employees hired under this classification will be Temporary Unclassified employees. Anticipated timeline for this classification to go into effect is January 2020.
There is a possibility that MNIT will wait until/after March meeting when voting is done on contract by the legislature to implement this new ITS classification.

NOTE: MAPE does not believe the agency can designate an entire pay classification as temporary unclassified. MAPE is in the process of discussing this further with MNIT and MMB.

  1. Student Loan

M&C committee: inquired regarding the details of the Student Loan Assistance program, as this was part of the contract.

Response: Management is working on developing a student loan payment request process and form and will share this when it’s available. MNIT will administer the benefits and will utilize it as a retention tool. Student Loan assistance will be provided on a discretionary basis. The money will come from @ Agency budgets for at agency employees. The money for Enterprise employees will come from MNIT enterprise budget. The cap for this is $5,000/year up to a Lifetime amount of $25,000.

M&C committee: Who will make final decision regarding recipients?
Response: Employee, Supervisor, CBTO, Enterprise service director.


  1. Equity Adjustments

M&C committee: inquired about the equity adjustment that went in as part of the contract:

Upon request of the Appointing Authority, MMB may make one equity adjustment and advance incumbents within a range, and/or provide a one-time lump sum of no more than $2,500 to an individual at the top of their salary range, to maintain internal equity

Response: Management is waiting on instruction from MMB as any of these types of requests will require MMB review/approval.