OPINION

Tri-Valley Newsletter: Open Enrollment, PTO, Vaccines and Thanks

Jason Carlson
Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc.

From Tri-Valley's November newsletter:

I hope all readers had a peaceful and restful Thanksgiving break. We need all the peace and rest we can get during these challenging times. Self-care is very important in our line of work. We know the turmoil caused by the pandemic and political fights is strong motivation to work on behalf of those who find it more difficult to obtain peace and rest in their lives. That said, we can’t forget to take care of ourselves.

Open Enrollment has come and gone for benefit eligible staff. I want to thank Hannah in our HR Department for leading a very good process. I thought the format change of the vendor fair was a smart idea and provided more access to vendors than we have had in the past. Breaking up the days also seemed to make information more accessible as smaller bites than hours of back to back presentations.

Speaking of thanks, I also want to convey my gratitude to Andrea in Fiscal for a successful conversion from Sick and Vacation to PTO. Once the employee feedback gathering, board discussions, and policy development work were complete, it was up to Andrea (and Nikki) to manage the payroll side of the conversion. The conversion was technically completed on December 2nd but the vast majority of the work was done in November. I am happy to report that it looks like the hard work has paid off and we are in a new place when it comes to time away from work. I know there will be little bumps in the road here and there as we apply policy and change habits but I remain convinced that this change will be of great benefit to a very high percentage of our employees and will also benefit programs in several ways.

It doesn’t seem right to not at least acknowledge COVID vaccines with all of the news coverage on the topic right now. Staff have been communicated with and know that Tri-Valley’s Board of Directors has voted to comply with funding source mandates and to also comply with rules to avoid government fines. So far, given court challenges and Head Start missing its intended timeline for publishing a rule, we have been in a holding pattern. That is about to change. Head Start has now published its interim final rule and we expect that it has a good chance of standing. After a meeting with the Regional Office on December 3rd, work will continue in earnest to ensure we are in compliance with the rule. I say continue because we have been working for a couple of months now in anticipation of a mandate happening. More detail will be shared with board and staff when we are comfortable with our understanding of the rule.

I wish all readers a wonderful Holiday Season. My beliefs and traditions mean Merry Christmas is in order, but if your beliefs and traditions don’t align with mine, please substitute an expression that fits.  My feelings on the matter remain the same.

Jason Carlson