“I invite VSEA retirees to join us to help plan the future of our Chapter,” says Maclay. “We need you to help energize the Chapter and assist your leaders in steering it ahead in a positive and productive way.”
Maclay adds that all of the Chapter’s officer seats are up for election this year, and that nominations will be made from the floor at the August 18 meeting, with voting by attendees to follow. There will also be a presentation on health care by Kathy Callaghan,
More Chapter Annual Meeting information will be sent to retirees in early July. To ensure you receive this information, the Chapter must have your current home email address and your correct home mailing address. If you have changed either of these in the past year, please email VSEA (email@example.com) with your updated information. If emailing, please write “Retired Member Update” in the subject line.
Discounted 2016 Great Escape / Splashwater Kingdom Day Tickets Available Online & At VSEA!
Please note that there is a service charge for purchasing online.
VSEA also has tickets available for members to pick up at headquarters, and there is no service charge attached.
Questions? Feel free to contact Laurie Hassett by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 802-223-5247
State Employees Invited To Agency Of Agriculture’s Summer “Buy Local” Market
The Agency of Agriculture asked WIA to let VSEA members throughout central Vermont know that its popular summer “Buy Local” market is returning to the State House lawn on Wednesday, August 10 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
The Agency bills the market as “an exceptional opportunity for Montpelier residents, visitors and daytime employees to support Vermont suppliers of local food and agricultural products.” The market coincides with the USDA’s National Farmer’s Market Week. Featured items include fresh and prepared local foods and agricultural products, such as produce and meats, wood products, yarn and other handmade goods, as well as prepared lunch offerings and ice cream.
VSEA President Dave Bellini is asking all state employees who are threatened while performing your job duties to provide an account of the threat not only to your supervisor or the State, but also to VSEA.
“VSEA wants to begin to compile its own record of threats against frontline state employees, no matter your occupation,” explains Bellini. “I’m asking all employees who are threatened, especially those working in AHS, to take a few minutes to fill out an online form VSEA made to collect your report. The information will help us provide a firsthand account of the number of threats being made and where they are being made, in addition to some other things.”
VSEA Social Worker Records New Radio Ad To Remind Vermonters About The Fund For Lara Sobel’s Children
Shortly after the August 7 tragic killing of DCF Social Worker Lara Sobel, her colleague Trissie Casanova recorded a radio ad, asking Vermonters to contribute to a special fund VSEA created called “The Fund for Lara Sobel’s Children.” The ad proved to be very popular and many stations across the state aired it well into the spring of this year. With the one-year anniversary of Lara’s death on the horizon, Casanova was back in the studio this week to record a new ad that reminds Vermonters about the fund.
VSEA members who have yet to contribute to the special fund are asked to please consider donating today. If you already contributed, thanks!
VSEA members using Facebook are asked to share VSEA’s post about the ad with all your friends.
Time To Ride! “VSEA Union (Motorcycle) Ride” Is Tomorrow!
All VSEA Members Invited!
A group of VSEA AOT members will be hopping on their motorcycles tomorrow morning to participate in a ride to celebrate recent gains they made in the new contract and also to demonstrate solidarity with all Vermont workers. The ride is being coordinated by AOT members, but all VSEA members with a motorcycle are invited to join.
Riders are meeting on the State House lawn in Montpelier, beginning at 9:00 a.m., and the run will commence at 10:00 a.m. After touring through Morrisville, West Danville, Groton and Barre, riders will end back in Montpelier on Main Street at roughly 1:00 p.m.
VSEA’s Rutland Chapter Annual Meeting is Thursday, August 4, at Olympic Pizza, located at 134 Woodstock Ave. in Rutland. Food and beverages provided. If able, please RSVP to Chapter President Matt Jakubowski at email@example.com. There will be a discussion about VSEA’s Annual Meeting in September.
Springfield Chapter’s Annual Meeting Is August 11!
VSEA Springfield Chapter President Joey Holmes asked WIA to let members in his Chapter know that your Annual Meeting scheduled for Thursday, August 11 at the State Office Building in Springfield. It begins at 4:30 p.m. and pizza and beverages will be available. The meeting has a full agenda, including:
Call to Order;
Adoption of Previous Meeting’s Minutes;
Chapter President’s Report;
Chapter Treasurer’s Report;
Election of Chapter officers (President/Vice-President/Treasurer and Secretary) and 1 open Council seat;
Discussion on VSEA Annual Meeting (raffles/drawings we will do for VSEA and Springfield Chapter fundraising);
New Business; and
Questions? Need Directions?
Contact Joey at 885-8992 /Liz at 674-1103 or Leona at 885-8994.
VSEA Sending Delegation To Annual SummerSchool For Union Women
VSEA is sending a seven-woman delegation to the 2016 NE Summer School for Women in Unions and Worker Organizations, which is being held July 30 to August 3 at the Labor Education Center on the Rutgers campus in New Brunswick, New Jersey. This year’s theme is “The Struggle is Real,” and you can learn more information about the school here. VSEA women have been attending the Summer Schools for years now, and this year’s delegation features: Dawn Carillo (DII), Sarah Draper (DCF), Barbara King (VVH), Cassidy Renfrew (DOC), Victoria Thorpe (Judiciary), Rebecca Trower (Tax Dept.) and Melissa Walsh (VVH).
Information About Upcoming VT State Retirement Board Elections
Elections for two full Vermont State Retirement Board seats (each w/ two-year term) will be conducted at this year’s VSEA Annual Meeting on September 10. If you are interested in serving on the Board—and wish to have your name on the printed ballot for Annual Meeting—you must submit a letter of intent to the VSEA Elections Committee no later than September 1, 2016. You should send an email to Rubin Jennings VSEA (RKennings@vsea.org), or mail your letter to:
VSEA Elections Committee
c/o Rubin Jennings
155 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05602
Special Note: VSEA asks that interested candidates consider if they really have the ability to dedicate the time needed to fulfill the role of this position. For more information about the position, please contact Ray Stout at VSEA HQ, 223-5247. If you cannot ensure your attendance at the Retirement Board meetings, and fulfill the other requirements (including outside reading, conference calls, workshops, etc.), you may want to reconsider applying for this role.
“Recently the VSC has announced plans for Lyndon State College (LSC) & Johnson State College (JSC) to consolidate campuses. The newspapers are referring to it as a merger but that is not the case.
With a substantial deficit at LSC, the administration has decided to explore the consolidation of LSC and JSC. This will help expand programs and opportunities for our students. There have been many people retiring and others receiving lay off notices through the years which left many jobs being unfilled and other staff members picking up extra tasks to make sure the job gets done. The 2 campuses will have one administration, one budget, and one accreditation but each campus will have its own identity such as Lyndon State College Hornets and Johnson State College Badger.
This move is still in the planning stage and we will be keeping our eyes and ears open as new ideas unfold. I will keep you up to date as much as I can.”
Newly Released Audit Finds Required Employee Evaluations Barely Happening In Three State Agencies/ Departments
The State Auditor’s office released a new audit this week that found that even with statutory and contractual language mandating annual employee evaluations by State managers, only a very few employees working for the Departments of Information and Innovation, Finance and Management and Human Resources are receiving an evaluation. Some say it’s been years and others never at all.
“Any employee in any organization deserves to know what his or her supervisor’s expectation is for them,” the Auditor writes, adding that regular evaluations give employees and managers an opportunity to confer on how well the worker is meeting expectations. “The lack of information about that has very practical implications.”
“It’s pretty bad management,” VSEA Executive Director Steve Howard tells VTDigger in a July 27 story about the audit. Howard echoes the Auditor, explaining to Digger that VSEA members want to know what is expected of them in their professional roles. “If people took some time out to listen to frontline workers, state government would most likely run more efficiently,” Howard adds.
Excerpts from the audit:
"As a result of our audit, we concluded that only 27 of 181 classified employees in the three departments [Human Resources (DHR), Information & Innovation (DII), and Finance & Management (F&M)] received an annual performance evaluation in 2015. Furthermore, a non-statistical sample of 20 of 154 classified employees who did not receive an annual evaluation in 2015 revealed that nine had not received an annual performance evaluation for more than five years, and three with hire dates in 2013, 2012, and 1998 had no record of an annual evaluation.
We interviewed 22 of 46 supervisors from these three departments to understand the causes for the low level of completed annual performance evaluations for 2015. These interviews showed the following:
Most supervisors did not know whether their own written performance expectations included the responsibility for annual evaluations, and the supervisors they reported to had not followed up with them in 2015regarding annual performance evaluations;
About half stated they did not begin receiving notifications of upcoming evaluations that were due until late 2015 or early 2016; and
Less than half (45 percent) indicated they had received some training in the State’s performance evaluation system."
The audit concludes, in part:
“DHR did not consistently provide notifications of due dates for annual performance evaluations to its own supervisors and to supervisors in DII and F&M. This may partially explain the low completion rates for these three departments. The hiring of an additional employee in DHR, who is charged with sending these notifications, may improve the consistency of notifications to supervisors and improve the completion rates of annual performance evaluations.
Most supervisors interviewed in the three departments were uncertain about whether their performance expectations included completion of annual performance evaluations for subordinates. Senior officials in DII and F&M stated that completion of annual performance evaluations had not been a priority in the past, but they indicated it would be emphasized going forward.”
VTDigger reports on July 26 that Court Administrator Pat Gabel is choosing to replace Vermont Sheriffs at the Windham and Chittenden Court Houses with private security guards provided by the for-profit company Securitas USA (which is based in Sweden).
Vermont Sheriffs are walking because the Judiciary could not afford the contract, but, in the story, Windham County Sheriff Keith Clark says he warned the Judiciary two years ago that the State’s payment was not sustainable. The Judiciary says the Sheriffs are asking for “a 35% increase. Clark calls the figure misleading because “it does not account for the fact his department needed to provide more staffing than had been contractually obligated. ‘The court refuses to acknowledge what it’s actually going to take (to protect courthouses),’ Clark adds.”
From the story:
“The state’s total contract with Securitas is $618,255 for 22 months with an option for a one-year extension. The deal does not reduce the state’s costs, but security will be enhanced at all three facilities, said Matt Riven, finance and administration chief for the Vermont court administrator’s office.
‘In both counties, the amount is actually slightly higher than what was offered to the incumbents — in Windham because we were able to slightly increase the security staffing coverage, and in Chittenden because we were able to transition to an armed screening officer,’ Riven said.”
Note: One theory for the increased personnel is the private firm’s workers are paid less, with fewer benefits, so, like in private prisons, there can be more Securitas USA workers, but judging by posts found here, they are workers lots of complaints.
VSEA Elections, Rules and Nominating Committee Chair Rubin Jennings sent an email to VSEA Corrections members on July 14, explaining that the current Corrections Unit Trustee has been promoted out of the bargaining unit and this has created a vacancy in this important position.
Interested candidates must send back a petition with the names of 25 DOC members by 4:00 p.m., Friday August 5, 2016. To be eligible for candidacy for this position, you must be an active member of VSEA. No faxed or scanned petitions will be accepted.
In the weeks and months leading up to the Vermont’s August 9 primary election—and then to the November 8 general election—VSEA Legislative Committee members and HQ staff will be asking members to volunteer some time to assist candidates who have received VSEA’s endorsement and who deserve our support. A reminder that, this year, there are five VSEA members running for office, and each could use your help.
There are many ways for you to participate in VSEA’s Campaign 2016 activities, including:
Participate in a VSEA- or candidate-sponsored phone bank;
Participate in a VSEA- or candidate-sponsored honk-and-wave;
Participate in a VSEA- or candidate-sponsored door-to-door canvassing effort;
Participate in a VSEA- or candidate-sponsored candidate(s) rally;
Educate your family, friends and colleagues about the candidate and his/her positions on issues important to VSEA members;
March with a candidate in a parade;
Volunteer to help at a candidate’s headquarters (if applicable) with things like answering phones, filing, assembling educational packets/mailings, etc.;
Put a yard sign in your yard, or help the candidate distribute signs in your area;
Host a candidate house party;
Drive voters to the polls on Election Day;
Pen a letter to the editor in support of VSEA-endorsed candidate(s); and
Make a monetary contribution to a candidate(s).
If you would be interested in volunteering some time to help your union’s campaign 2016 efforts, please contact VSEA Organizing Director Vinnie O’Connor by email firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 223-5247.
Important Note: It is imperative that VSEA have your current home email address, so you can receive political material. This is because some messages could be labeled partisan, and therefore they are not permissible to send to work emails. When contacting Vinnie with interest, please be sure to let him know your current home email. Thanks!
VSEA Labor Educator Reminds Members of Summer Trainings – Three Open To All
VSEA Labor Educator Tim Lenoch asked WIA to announce a new round of trainings he has scheduled throughout the summer 2016. If you are interested in registering to attend one or more trainings, you can do so by clicking here. Please direct your training questions to Tim at email@example.com.
There are three trainings open to all members, please invite folks who may be interested:
VSEA’s Communications Department is happy to disseminate any and all communications the leadership, Chapters, Units, and others request, however, the lists the Department currently pull from are provided to the union by the State of Vermont. VSEA’s Communications Department has found the lists to be dated, incomplete and sometimes lacking key information that was entered by a VSEA staff person but later overwritten or deleted during a State data dump.
To help VSEA more effectively reach active members—and really all those members who want to know what’s going on in their union—VSEA will be working hard in the coming months to collect members’ emails on its own and begin to build contact lists that cannot be altered by a State download.
You can help us get started by clicking here and signing up for the VSEA communications you are interested in receiving.
Thank you in advance for subscribing. Please urge your colleagues to do the same.