In this issue of The Bridge, I am excited to be able to feature a few of the many examples of employee dedication, outstanding service and commitment to Louisiana shown during the Great Flood of 2016. So many of our citizens and employees were affected by this catastrophic event, and I would like to thank each of you for your service to the state in this difficult time. Seeing employees come together for rescue and recovery, and doing their part to to keep the State running during this time was both an awe-inspiring and humbling experience.
State Civil Service has changed the LA Careers Job Seeker page. We hope you enjoy the new look and user experience. This page went live earlier this week and will make searching for jobs with the State of Louisiana easier than ever.
The Inaugural Training Coordinator Summit will be held November 3rd. This is a great opportunity for agency Training Coordinators to meet the CPTP Staff and expand their knowledge of the program. In addition, the CPTP Success Series Webinars are returning this month. Please read below for details on dates and topics of the upcoming webinars.
Be sure to mark your calendars! A special meeting for Human Resources professionals with the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD) representative will be held on Wednesday, October 26 at 9 am, to discuss upcoming FLSA changes. The meeting will be held in the Louisiana Purchase Room of the Claiborne Building.
State Employee Spotlight: DOTD Employees Respond to the Great Flood of 2016
Many state employees, both classified and unclassified, came together during The Great Flood of 2016. The dedication to the state was shown in many ways, from reporting to work despite losing homes and cars and helping fellow employees tear sheetrock out of their homes, to maintaining roads and bridges for the safety of the citizens of our state and making sure payroll was processed so employees could be paid without interruption.
Below are a few examples of the everyday heroes employed by the State of Louisiana. The dedication of our state employees was tremendous and something of which we should be extremely proud.
My husband, James Jarreau, and myself, Mary Jarreau, along [with] my daughter, Lakesha Harris, and three other family members were impacted by the recent flooding event. We evacuated our home on Sunday, August 14, at approximately 3:30am. We had nowhere to go as all of our immediate family was also impacted. We tried to reserve hotel accommodations, but none were available. We actually slept in the parking lot of a hotel until 3pm that afternoon awaiting a vacancy. Luckily, we were able to get one.
Later that Sunday, my husband, my daughter and I came to the office. James had to build a Traffic Control Cabinet for a knockdown, Lakesha had to start preparing payroll for the next day, and I had to coordinate issues from Traffic Operation Statewide Central Warehouse. Oh my, what a good feeling to be in familiar surroundings and having your own space. Even though we were granted time away from the office, we gratefully continued to show up at work and perform our work duties to ensure business continued as usual.
I remember one of the District employees saying weeks later, “I didn’t know you were impacted by the Flood Event. I feel bad for having had called you so much.” I replied not a problem as it kept me from crying. I know we all were grateful for the distractions, and even thought it was work, it kept us focused in addition to giving us so much more: a place of refuge, secure surroundings, and a home away from home.
Submitted by Mary Jarreau, Administrative Program Manager 3 on behalf of James Jarreau, Traffic Services Construction and Maintenance Manager, and Lakesha Harris, HR Analyst C
Department of Transportation and Development
Although a part time DOTD employee in Monroe, La., John Vines is also a Freemason. When asked by the Grand Lodge of Louisiana to help in the South Louisiana flood relief programs, John volunteered to work in the Baton Rouge area. Here in Louisiana, you have to help your neighbors, because although this state is beautiful, it is a tough place to live. In the past six months, we’ve had two “thousand-year” rains. Our State highways, culverts, levees, etc., were not designed to handle such catastrophic events. Areas that had never flooded before, were not on any flood maps, and were not required to have flood insurance, actually flooded. I am blessed to be able to help, fortunate that my boss and my co-workers support my efforts with the Masonic Lodge and with the Churches of Baton Rouge in this relief effort. It will take years to finish the job, but we are not going to give up. After the “dry-out” and mold remediation, we will be putting up insulation and dry wall, finishing one house and helping one family at a time. That’s what makes Louisiana so very special, we help our neighbors – always have, always will!
Submitted by Melvin H., Area District Administrator on behalf of John Vines, Engineering Technician 3
Department of Transportation & Development
Frederick Quiett, Mechanic 3, and his family received three and a half feet of water in their home. He lost most of his appliances and all furniture. They are currently living in his family’s RV until his home is repaired. During the flooding, Fred assisted numerous people in his neighborhood by rescuing them with his boat from the immediate dangers of flood waters and brought them to a safer location. Lastly, even during these trying times, Fred managed to report to the [DOTD] Central Repair Shop and give 100 percent of his time to assist the many customers that we supported during the flooding Event.
Submitted by Tiaj H., Equipment Superintendent on behalf of Frederick Quiett, Mechanic 3
Department of Transportation & Development
New LA Careers Job Seeker Page
State Civil Service rolled out a new job seeker view for our LA Careers landing page on Monday, October 3rd. All current postings were immediately available on the new page. This format has a new look and feel and will be a valuable resource to job seekers. All current job postings transfered over seamlessly. We encourage all interested job seekers to visit the new career page in search of your new job. Please feel free to contact your Staffing division consultant should you have any questions or concerns about your job postings.
CPTP Announces its Inaugural Training Coordinator Summit
The Comprehensive Public Training Program (CPTP) is excited to announce its inaugural Training Coordinator Summit. The event will be Thursday, November 3, 2016, from 9 a.m. — 3:30 p.m., in Room 1-100 of the Claiborne Building in Baton Rouge. The summit will begin with a morning session discussing the training requirements tracking spreadsheet followed by three concurrent breakout sessions in the afternoon. Topics for the afternoon breakout sessions include: Instructional Design, which will cover techniques that participants can incorporate when developing web-based courses such as the use of branching scenarios in the courses; Time Management, which will introduce participants to techniques that can be used to best manage their own time to help them to get through the dilemma of how to do more with less; and Working with 5 Generations in the Workplace, which will cover the various elements and dynamics involved when integrating and assimilating several generations in the same workplace.
CPTP encourages all agency Training Coordinators to attend this summit and take advantage of this opportunity. Registration for the event is through LEO. Come on out to network, learn, ask questions, and have a good time—see you there!
Annual Enrollment for the 2017 Plan Year Begins October 1st
This is the time of year for all eligible persons to review their current healthcare coverage and make any needed changes for the upcoming 2017 plan year. Choosing the right health plan for you and your family is one of the most important decisions you can make, which is why Office of Group Benefits (OGB) plan members continue to have a wide variety of health plan options available to them.
OGB will again offer active employees and non-Medicare retirees options through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and Vantage Health Plan. For Medicare retirees, in addition to the previously mentioned plans, OGB will continue to offer Medicare Advantage options through Peoples Health, OneExchange and Vantage Health Plan. For plan year 2017, Blue Cross plans will continue with the same copays, coinsurance, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. For Vantage and Medicare Advantage members, you are encouraged to contact the health insurer for more specific benefit offerings.
For the upcoming annual enrollment, it is important to note that if you would like to remain in your current OGB health plan with the same covered dependents for the 2017 plan year, you do not need to do complete any documentation, with the exception that members must re-enroll in the Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA), if applicable. Please note that retirees are not eligible to enroll in the HSA or the FSA.
For members who would like to add or delete any eligible dependent, or change your current plan, you will have the opportunity to do so from October 1 through November 15, 2016. If selecting an OGB sponsored Medicare Advantage plan, the enrollment deadline is slightly longer. For more information on these important deadlines and benefit offerings, please refer to the OGB Enrollment Guide for Plan Year 2017.
Effective January 1, 2017, a premium rate adjustment, approved by the Group Benefits Policy and Planning Board, for all Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana health plans will be necessary to compensate for rising health care costs. Members enrolled in the Magnolia Local Plus or the Magnolia Open Access plan will see a rate increase of 7.5% while members enrolled in the Pelican plans or Magnolia Local (Limited Network) plan will see a rate increase of 3%.
Additionally, Vantage Medical Home Health HMO members will also see a 7% increase. Further, while Vantage will continue to offer its Affinity Tier I network, it will no longer offer its Affinity Tier II network.
OGB will be holding annual enrollment informational meetings across the State of Louisiana throughout the month of October. A schedule of locations and times can be found in your guide. You can also find more information on our website, info.groupbenefits.org.
LASERS Early Career Seminars
In September, almost 50 DOTD employees attended a pilot seminar targeted to early career state employees. Those who participated were hired on or after January 1, 2011. The goals of the seminar were to provide new members of LASERS with appropriate resources and guidance to understand what their defined benefit plan is and to lay the foundation for them to become familiar with retirement terms. Topics for the presentation included service credit, purchases of service, website resources, MINT information, and other pertinent information for newer employees.
Plans are underway to add more workshops to the schedule. If you are interested in scheduling a presentation at your agency, please have your Human Resources office contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's time to reserve your spot for the next series of CPTP Success Series Webinars.
They'll be back in October at the regular time and place — Third Thursdays of each month at 1 p.m. at the monitor of your choosing.
And this season, we're taking the webinars to the next level! We'll not only provide you with useful information and some laughs, but we'll also share great job aids and tips to use every day.
Plus, we'd like to invite you to be a guest on our programs. You can participate in a number of ways:
- You can email ideas to be included in the webinar to Christee.Atwood@LA.gov.
- You can call in or text us during the show.
- You can even email the names of any individuals (or yourself) that you think would make great in-studio guests for any of these topics.
Our upcoming schedule is:
- October 20, 2016 — Making Peer Conflict Constructive
- November 17, 2016 — Holiday Season Stress-Busters
- December 15, 2016 — The Commandments of Cubicles
- January 19, 2017 — Managing Difficult Discussions
- February 16, 2017 — Update Your Writing Skills
- March 16, 2017 — Dealing with Irate Customers
- April 20, 2017 — Get Your MOJO Back!
REGISTER NOW: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8634781848615503620
Odds and Ends
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Overtime Changes
The United States Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division announced the publication of the DOL's final rule updating overtime regulations on May 18, 2016. The effective date of the final rule is December 1, 2016. More information can be found here and on the DOL Wage and Hour Division's website here.
State Civil Service will host a special meeting with the DOL Wage and Hour representative on Wednesday, October 26 at 9 am, to specifically discuss upcoming FLSA changes. The meeting will be held in the Louisiana Purchase Room of the Claiborne Building.
Prohibited Political Activity
It is important to remember that as classified state employees, Article X, Section 9 of the State Constitution governs our participation in political activities. The United States Supreme Court has recognized the right of a state to restrict such activity in order to avoid the appearance of such support. This means that classified state employees must avoid the ACTUAL support or opposition of a candidate, party, or faction, and avoid the APPEARANCE of giving such support.
General Circular 2016-020 details the “do’s and don’ts” for all state employees regarding political activity. State Civil Service has also produced a video titled Prohibited Political Activities, which you can view on the State Civil Service YouTube channel. For additional questions, please contact State Civil Service at (225) 342-8274 or SCSInfo@la.gov.
State Civil Service Annual Report
The Departmental Annual Report for FY 15-16 is now available on the web. This report provides insights into State Civil Service such as our goals and values, and provides data about the attainment of those performance goals. The report also provides a review of workforce demographics and other interesting statistics about the employees that work for the State of Louisiana.
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