From the Desk of the President (January, 2009)
you to all of you who took time from your busy work
schedules to attend the County Board meetings on the 2009
budget. Your presence was noted by the Commissioners, the
Managers, your coworkers and the public. The charge laid out
to the Departments by County Administrator Richard Johnson
was a tough one - figure out how to continue providing
services The Department heads had to make hard choices on
county staff vs. contracted services. Tom Merkel, Director
for Community Corrections, defended the decision he made to
put resources into keeping line staff as opposed to renewing
a contract for a vendored service when questioned by the
Commissioners and we, as line staff, thank him for that as
it meant that our sister and brother Probation Officers
would have resources to do their work. As noted last month,
we saw 10 Social Worker/Senior Social Worker positions put
back into the budget as a cost neutral line item thanks to
the amendment offered by Commissioner Johnson. This will
allow Hennepin County services to be offered to waiver
clients once more. We did not see the number of amendments
to add money back to the contracted services as had been
done in years past and those offered were tempered by the
reality of the budget news from the federal and state
forecasts. Commissioner McLaughlin added one last amendment
to the budget which put vendors on notice that if we lose
funding from the state and federal streams, they will see
cuts in their contracts just like we will see cuts in our
resources. That amendment passed and is now part of the 2009
Engstrom, Human Services and Public Health Department
Director, sent an e- mail out to all HSPHD staff letting us
know that, based on the attrition and vacancy counts, there
are no plans to have lay-offs as of the end of this year.
That is good news for those of our folks who are at the low
end of the seniority lists and gives us a bit of breathing
room. We do, however, need to watch the ongoing state and
federal budgets as they, along with the county, will be in
constant flux based on the economy. If you have any ideas on
how savings can be realized in your work area, please
forward them on to Richard Johnson, as he truly does want to
know what they are. If they have merit, they will be
pursued. Something as simple as printing double-sided can
save thousands of dollars annually.
Day on the Hill:
event will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, March 10-11, 2009.
It is our opportunity to as a large body wearing our
AFSCME green meet with our sisters and brothers to
agitate for our needs with our elected Senators and
Representatives at the State Capitol. Keep your eyes open
for more information about election of delegates to this
event in the February 2009 newsletter.
will receive a notice about nominations for all officer
positions to be held at the February and March General
Assemblies. If you have ever wondered what the job duties
are for a particular position and wanted information, please
talk to the current office holder or me. We can send you a
copy of the constitution and standing rules as well as
answer your questions about the nuts and bolts of the job.
It is fun, it is hard work, and it is rewarding to serve the
members of Local 34 as we make our local stronger and more
vibrant with every gain we achieve.
three words I can sum up everything Ive learned about
life: It goes on. Robert Frost.
I look forward to going on with our collective Hennepin County and Local 34 lives with you in 2009 as we do our work and strive to enrich the lives of our clients and our members.