All staff photo - 2020 RivCoParks Confer

Question:

Still not happy about this. Last year I tried to book a cabin and they said it was closed (becuase) of Covid. Okay. They were put on hold then [for an employee] and [their] folks got to stay there. I saw it twice. Why?


Answer:

NOTE: The individual named in your original question was removed due to the fact that several employees booked a stay during the pandemic, not just that individual.


During the past year and a half, we've had to make many adjustments to our operations, including reducing capacity of campgrounds, and during some times, full closures. Some of these changes were based on State mandates, and other times it was simply based on staffing levels and our ability to keep facilities clean and safe. That said, it may not have been clear to all employees (or volunteers) what facilities were still available to our workforce. For that, I apologize. The rapidly changing nature of the pandemic created challenges keeping pace with communication.


Throughout the pandemic, we have worked hard to support all employees and volunteers as each person has been impacted differently. We strived to make our facilities available to the greatest extent possible. Several employees, including the one you named in your original question, took advantage of using the Lawler Lodge and Alpine Cabins for a getaway. In addition, once cabins and campgrounds were open for use, several employees booked sites through normal reservation processes.


I'd like to emphasize that we strive to allow employees and volunteers to use our campgrounds, cabins and lodge, to help see the benefits and share their experiences with others. Using these spaces help our workforce to better understand the accommodations and amenities and give them a better understanding for promoting their use to guests. If you have had trouble booking a reservation through Guest Services, I encourage you to reach out to Chief Dustin McLain, Assistant Director Gettis, or directly through my office. We are eager to help ALL employees and volunteers in compliance with our policies in an effort to promote knowledge and awareness.

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Question:

In Policy 3.1 - Office Practices, Section H. Attending Meetings - employees are directed to conduct themselves in a way that doesn't damage the reputation of the District. Employees are advised to arrive early and fully prepared to participate, be fully present and refrain from using cell phones or other devices that are a distraction.


I've been in too many meetings with District Staff where some are glued to their laptops or cellphones, working on other projects, and don't fully participate and miss important discussion points. As a Supervisor, the opportunity is available to manage down and write up employees for not abiding by policy. What is your suggestion for addressing issues with your own Supervisor? What is the preferred method if direct conversation is unsuccessful?


Thank you in advance.


Answer:

There’s no doubt about it, technology rules our world. As much as information and communication technologies can be used to help us be efficient, improve communication, and connect us with resources to make decisions, they can also be a huge distraction. Layer in the pandemic and forced virtual meetings, and digital distractions are even more prevalent. We have become dependent on devices to keep us connected to others. Getting emails in the middle of a meeting can draw your attention on screen…not to mention on your smart phone and smart watch simultaneously! The challenge becomes how to manage our time as well as our interruptions, while still using technology tools to help us stay on top of things. The important thing to keep in mind with the policy referenced above, is the INTENT. Then intent is to be fully present, respecting each other’s time, and getting the most value out of the time we spend together.


When in doubt, talk it out. The first step in correcting a problem is through direct communication. If you've already tried this as you indicated in your submission...try, try again. Whether it’s a supervisor to subordinate employee or the other way around, start with a conversation. It may be that the offending person is unaware of the distraction or how it’s impacting your time together. Sharing your observations and feelings is a step in the right direction. Be respectful and honest in your communication. Nine times out of ten, this will either fix the problem or at least create the opportunity to readdress it if it continues to occur. The next time your supervisor starts to "tune out," distracted by technology, point it out. A simple pause in your conversation and request for undivided attention is perfectly acceptable.


Perfectly imperfect. It’s important to remember we are all human and make mistakes. Brace yourself…even our leaders (or should I say especially our leaders?) aren’t perfect. It takes courage and leadership on your part to speak up to have a positive influence on the situation. There’s a concept introduced by John C. Maxwell in his book The 360 Degree Leader: Developing Your Influence, that any person in an organization, regardless of their position or title, can influence others in a positive way. I challenge you to seek out your influence in this situation to help create a more positive environment for the whole team. Here’s a link to a blog on the topic that might get you started.

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Question(s):

On site housing and vehicle/resource access is a frequent topic among staff. Many feel that transparent policies regarding onsite housing are due.


Is it against policy for staffers to take vehicle keys home for convenience? (Vehicles themselves don't appear to used improperly, but access to vehicles has been impeded in the past due to this informal practice).


Answer(s):

I'll break this answer into two parts to cover both topics.

1) Housing: I'm sorry there appears to be confusion around housing. Our goal is to be transparent. Fortunately, there is a policy specific to Employee Housing at District Facilities which can be found right here on our intranet site, The ParkBuzz under Documents >> District Policies. Specifically, it's policy 7.5 District Employee Housing. Hopefully this helps clear things up for staff.


2) Vehicle/Resource Access: There are several policies that pertain to use of District Vehicles. County Policy D-2, County Policy D-10, District Policy 7.2 , and other policies/guidelines as referenced in District Policy 7.2. Vehicles are not generally assigned to one specific person, but rather a team or unit. Keys should remain available to those authorized to drive District vehicles. That said, keys must be kept secure to prevent them from being stolen or misplaced. Most sites keep keys within a lock box or lockable drawer where multiple staff might have access and a check out system should be established to keep track of the asset. If this system does not exist at your site, speak with your supervisor to see if you can help develop one, or bring the issue up to your manager and together, a solution can be found to ensure necessary vehicles remain available to those that need them.


As a general rule, I you have questions about policies, your supervisor is a great resource, as well as our NEW and IMPROVED Intranet site (https://www.intranet.rivcoparks.org/)! Don't be shy - take a few minutes to explore the new site and become familiar with our policies and procedures.

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