COVID-19 updates, holiday breakfast recap and more

Hello Team Carlsbad!

It was wonderful to see so many of your smiling faces last week at our Holiday Breakfast and Service Award Recognition Ceremony. We had a great turnout, an all-time record of 497 attendees!

As usual, the creativity of city staff did not disappoint, with all manner of festive attire and Zoom backgrounds. Here are links to the special presentations:

Holiday greeting and appreciation video from your City Council

Recognition videos for 25, 30 and 35 year service honorees

Annual employee slideshow

Even though we couldn’t gather in person, the spirit of camaraderie and care that makes Carlsbad such a special place was on full display. I am proud to be part of this team and extremely grateful for each and every one of you.

Rolling with the changing guidelines – staff kudos

The latest stay at home order was announced a week ago Saturday and went into effect the next day, Sunday, at 11:59 p.m. This meant our parks staff had to once again rally to close playgrounds at a moment’s notice. Then, a few days later, the heath order was updated to remove the provision for closing playgrounds. Knowing families with quarantined kids were waiting, parks staff once again turned on a dime and got all our playgrounds opened up again within hours. I am not sure people realize how much work this is – so much more than just putting up and taking down a temporary fence. Each structure had to be taped off, and signs installed, then removed, etc.

P&R staff have always been ready to make changes at a moment’s notice, weekends and weekdays, morning, noon and night. Thank you to staff for once again being flexible and making the rounds quickly so families and kids could get back to safely playing outside.

A full, five-member City Council

Last Tuesday we swore in two City Council members, giving us a full City Council for the first time in more than a year. This also marks the completion of our transition to district elections:

  • Mayor Matt Hall – at large (citywide)

  • Council Member Cori Schumacher – District 1

  • Mayor Pro Tem Keith Blackburn – District 2

  • Council Member Priya Bhat-Patel – District 3

  • Council Member Teresa Acosta (pronounced like “coast”) – District 4

We are now getting ready for City Council goal setting, starting with a discussion at tomorrow’s City Council meeting about the format and process. Tomorrow’s meeting also marks our last one of 2020. As always, you’re invited to tune in. City Council meetings are aired live on the city's cable channel Spectrum 24 and AT&T U-Verse 99 or streamed online starting at 3 p.m.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee

HR is looking for volunteers to serve on a new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. This is one of the follow-on activities from the recent roundtables and employee survey. Applications are due by Dec. 23. Learn more about the criteria and committee responsibilities on the intranet.

COVID updates

Since my last update, we’ve had two additional workplace exposures. If a workplace exposure happens in a building where you work, you will be notified by the deputy city manager in charge of your area. If you are thought to have been in close contact with the individual, you will be contacted personally. Our top priority continues to be your health, safety and peace of mind. If you ever have any concerns about potential exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace, please contact HR.

Given the significant spread of COVID-19 in our community, we have been able to keep workplace exposures to a minimum thanks to continued vigilance, including:

  • Working remotely when possible

  • Wearing face coverings in strict accordance with our city policy

  • Maintaining a minimum 6 foot distance from others

  • Staying home when sick and following quarantine guidelines when you have been exposed

  • Avoiding all gatherings

  • Washing hands often

  • Following the self-screening protocol if you must come to a city workplace

Email retention changes go into effect tomorrow

As a reminder, our new email retention schedule is two years. Tomorrow is the cut off for saving anything you might have in email older than two years.

  • Effective Dec. 15, all emails older than two years will be permanently deleted.

  • Any emails (including attachments to emails) that need to be stored longer than two years should be manually saved outside of the email platform before Dec. 15.

  • Keep in mind that although you may store emails outside of the email platform, you may only keep emails longer than two years if they are exempt from the retention policy. For example, some emails need to be kept longer because of litigation or they belong in a project file.

  • If you have questions about these exceptions, please call Pat Downie at 760-602-2738.

  • Once emails are deleted Dec. 15, they cannot be recovered.

Every city employee is responsible for being a good custodian of public records and, by extension, the public’s trust in their local government.

Resources to prioritize your mental, emotional and physical health

With the regional stay at home order coming right before the holidays, we will all be faced with increased stress, separation from families and disruption to plans this year. That’s why now more than ever I encourage you make your own health and wellness a priority.

In addition to eating healthy foods, planning regular physical activity, getting plenty of sleep and staying socially connected, taking care of your mental health is just as important.

HR has put together some important health and wellness resources that are available to all city employees. Please take a look, bookmark this page or even print a copy to have on hand in case you ever need additional support.

I’ll be back next week with one more update before the holidays.

Until then, please do your holiday shopping safely, consider brightening the holidays for a Carlsbad senior in need, and support our great local Carlsbad businesses through an online gift card.

Vaccines are arriving in San Diego this week, meaning we are approaching the beginning to the end of this pandemic. In the meantime, please continue to wear your face coverings, stay home as much as possible, avoid gatherings, wash your hands regularly and care for yourself and your loved ones. We are going to get through this, together.

Miss my last update? Read it here.