FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT (SEPTEMBER, 2002)

Leading By Example: "If you're a leader, a fellow that other fellows look to, you've got to keep going." - Ernest Shackleton

I am not laying any claim to any similarity between the scope of Mr. Shackleton's leadership and mine but his statement is true for anyone in a position of leadership.  There have been days when I read that quote to get me going or to remind me that the tasks in need of completion are not going anywhere so I had best get cracking. Today is one of those days.

One of the many tasks of the President is the appointment of committee members so that the work of this Local can be shared for the benefit of all of us. I apologize for my lack of follow-through on this very important task which should have been completed in May/June of this year.  We have appointed members to the Good & Welfare Committee and to the Budget & Finance Committee but still need volunteers to serve on the following committees: Constitution Committee, Investment Committee, Health & Safety Committee, Elections Committee, Dental Insurance Committee, and Negotiations Committee. The PEOPLE Committee can use more members willing to get involved in the political process and the time to volunteer for that is now as we have the primary election September 10th and the general election November 5th. If you are interested in serving on any committee or would like more information, please contact me at 348-0266. I promise to follow up this time.

When we completed the negotiations process last fall, one of my final thoughts, before closing my folder on all the materials collected, was that we really needed to get started earlier so that we had our homework done before crunch time.

Keeping that in mind, my hope is that we could have several meetings of the Negotiations Committee before the end of this year so that we can start this process, putting together a survey to distribute to our members and hopefully, tabulating the results before the end of the year.  I know that this is a daunting and  ambitious goal but we are capable of reaching it.  My hope is that we will have group which reflects the diversity of our over 2000 members so that we truly do address all our concerns, hopes and "need-to-haves" for the next contract.  The importance of getting an early start cannot be stressed enough in light of all the changes taking place in the work we do and the way we do it.

Many of you have asked me about the progress of the Meet & Confer on the issue of PTO paid time off. This group, consisting of representatives from the nine AFSCME Locals in the County and from Management, have been meeting since the end of May. We have spent the past three months, using an interest based problem solving process, determining what the issue really is and collecting information needed to help us in that process. We are now at the point where we will invite employees from other entities who have a "leave time" process in place to find out how they handled converting from a sick leave/vacation system to their current leave time system. The plan is to have a panel discussion involving union and management representatives from 4 to 5 agencies who were involved in their process - from the beginning discussions through the conversion to the new system. This panel discussion will take place sometime this month. I am looking forward to it as the insights of folks who have done the work we face now should shed some light on how to proceed - the pitfalls to avoid and the avenues to pursue - as we strive to become educated about this topic. A big thanks go to our sisters from Local 2864, Laurie Larsen and Judy Burtis, for all their hard work in compiling a list of reading resources. I am still working my way through the materials!

The move from our old office to the new one took place July 26th. Please join me in a big Thank You! to sister Kelley Leaf for volunteering to oversee the movers, especially since she did this on her day off. That is what I call true dedication! Not only did Kelley oversee the move, she had to deal with several major glitches along the way. The contractor had removed the door from our old office and was in the process of walling up the hole. In order to access our belongings, they had to knock out the inner wall. The movers, with some prodding from Kelley, did get all of stuff moved.  Kelley then stayed to unpack all the boxes and put things away. I am so thankful for all her hard work as it made finding information for our audit so much easier. So, Kelley, thank you from all of us. 

Get out and enjoy your holiday - Labor Day. Celebrate all the hard work that your sisters and brothers in Labor do.  Patronize labor houses, buy labor products.

In solidarity,
Jean