From the Desk of the President (July, 2008)
look who sent us her monthly column – President Jean –
who’s returning to work around June 23rd, and
will be back in charge of the Local for its July GA and
E-Board meetings! Welcome
back, Madame President!
you very much for the gorgeous peace lily and get well card
sent to me from the Local after my May 13th
surgery. It has
brightened my room and been a constant reminder of what a
wonderful group of people you are and how lucky I am to work
with you. Also,
thanks so much for your e-mails and cards over the past six
made the time pass by more quickly.
new seniority report has been posted on the Labor Relations
web site and will also be posted on our Local 34 web site.
Please take time to review this updated list to make
sure your seniority date is correct.
If you feel that the date is incorrect, send me an
e-mail with your name, job class, date on the list, why you
think the date is wrong, and what you think your correct
date should be. It
is very important that you get that information to me by no
later than Friday, July 11th, as we have just a
30 day time frame to submit any requests for corrections to
Labor Relations. We
will need time to compile a list for possible corrections to
give to them by that deadline, July 18, 2008.
you are aware from previous reports, the County Departments
are working on their proposals for the 2009 budget and
should have them submitted to the County Administrator,
Richard Johnson, by this time.
It is going to be a tough year for us - not only as
employees but also as taxpayers and constituents - as we
look at the cuts in funding from Targeted Case Management
(TCM) and Child Support reimbursement as well as the
property tax levy limits imposed by the recent state
are some exceptions in that legislation, so our Council 5
staff will be helping us to review them to see what impact
they will have on our ability to lessen the budget cuts.
I attended one of the Children’s Redesign
changes in this proposal, cutting of FTE’s (full time
equivalencies) and shifting of staff, are the first of many
changes we will see proposed over the course of the year as
other areas in the Human Services and Public Health
Department (HSPHD) review the work we do.
I commend our members who worked on the Children’s
Redesign workgroup. You
were faced with a thankless task of trying to determine how
to keep our core values and mission in place while having to
propose cutting program and work we have valued in our
service to the community.
You are our leaders as your work will be repeated
many times as the other areas face similar decisions - what
do we need to continue doing based on mandates and what
should we look at no longer doing in order to deal with the
funding cuts. One of the topics many of you have raised in
our conversations is that of the contracted vendors and
their impact on the annual budget.
Traditionally, contracts comprise about 50% of the
HSPHD budget and we comprise the other 50%. I did ask the question about what impact
the changes in the Children’s Redesign would have on those
contracts, and the response was that there would be
proportional cuts in the vendor contracts so that the work
we do will not bear the full brunt of the cuts.
That being said, you know full well that the vendors
will apply pressure on the County Board to reinstate the
proposed cuts to their programs.
Each of us needs to be responsible for watching the
public hearings when the Board hears from the vendors.
We will need to be a presence at the hearings to let
the Commissioners know how important it is to maintain that
balance between vendors and employees.
It will take all of us to accomplish this task.
State AFL-CIO Convention is slated to be held September
14-16, 2008 in Duluth.
The AFSCME Council 5 Convention is slated to be held
at the Bloomington Sheraton September 25 - 27, 2008.
We will elect delegates to both events at the August
6, 2008 General Assembly. The Local will send up to seven to
Duluth and up to 34 to the Council 5 Convention.
Expenses, such as mileage, per diems, lodging in
Duluth, and lost time will be covered.
If you are interested in putting your name
forward for either or both events and cannot attend the
August GA, please send me an e-mail with your name and
event/events you wish to attend by no later than noon on
Wednesday, August 6th. Your name will be included for the
election of delegates.
Labor/Management Health Care Committee received information
about our 2007 experience with HealthPartners.
In all the facts and figures presented, one item
stood out. HealthPartners received more money in premiums
last year than we what we cost for our health needs.
We will explore the reasons why as those expressed
were not clear. Does
this mean that we are practicing healthier habits?
With more of us working at home, are we healthier
because we are not exposed to as many germs?
Are some of us just not going to the doctor?
Personally, my hope is that it is because we are
practicing better health habits - not only because I like
you – but also because that will mean that if you are
healthier, you will be around a lot longer!
We did receive an update on the Wellness Clinic on
the street level of the Government Center.
Did you know that you can go there for a good number
of tests and not have a co-pay, or that a nurse is in the
clinic from 7:30 AM - 3:00 PM, Monday – Friday, or that
you can make an appointment for that clinic via the online
scheduler? So, if you do work in - or near - the
Government Center, this is a handy tool just waiting to be
out all the specifics on the Benefits website.