Getting the band back together, staff achievements and more news

We’re just a week away from officially welcoming city employees back to the workplace, either full time or in a hybrid telecommuting model.

Based on the groups who have already returned to this schedule, here is what I think you can expect looking ahead to the week of June 13:

  • There will be some additional coordination needed at first while everyone gets used to new schedules and work locations. Communication is key.

  • It’s normal to feel apprehensive about the change. We have all been through a lot over the past 15 months, and it will take a little time to adjust to a new routine.

  • It’s hard to appreciate how much you missed your colleagues until you see them again in person. It’s a great feeling to be together again.

  • You might find some very old energy bars in your desk (and hopefully nothing worse).

We did it!

With this significant milestone upon us, I want to pause for a moment and sincerely thank every one of you for all you have done to get us to this point. You have made me so proud to be a part of this organization. Think about how far we’ve come. This time last year we were deciding whether or not to open up our beaches! Seems like a lifetime ago.

Masks and other rules

With our new “hybrid” model on the horizon, we’ve been getting questions about whether or not our rules and policies will change now that new guidance is coming out for masks and other precautions.

When it comes to the workplace, we follow Cal/OSHA rules, which can be different than public health orders and general health guidance. Cal/OSHA met on Thursday and adopted a revised set of workplace rules, which are expected to go into effect no later than June 15. We’re reviewing the new rules closely to determine what changes will be made to our city policies and will report back. For the time being, the city’s face mask policy and other guidance remains in place.

Telecommuting program reminder

We previously asked all employees to fill out the telecommute application by May 31 if they wanted it considered in time for the June 13 return date. If you missed the deadline, you can still submit an application. Management will do their best to quickly process new applications received, but cannot guarantee they will be approved in time for the June 13 return date. Applications will be processed in the order in which they are received.

Details have been sent via email and are available on the COVID staff page of the website.

If you are a supervisor, you can review and process employee applications for telecommuting in our online telecommuting application review portal.

Employee cases

Thanks to our continued diligence, we have had no new employee cases of COVID-19 since my last update.

The city has gone above and beyond the required health precautions for our facilities, and the individual facility safety plans are available on the intranet. Please continue to complete the mandatory health screening at the entrances of all city buildings, mask up, wash your hands and maintain distance from others.

Carlsbad recognized among global peers The City of Carlsbad has won one of the Smart 50 Awards from Smart Cities Connect. Our use of data and technology to drive public health and economic intervention in response to COVID-19 has been recognized alongside 49 other global awardees. It’s great to see Carlsbad recognized on par with cities like Hong Kong, Tokyo, San Antonio and many other innovative municipalities. You can read about our award and others on the program’s website. Kudos to all the departments citywide who collaborated with our Chief Innovation Officer to explore new and better ways of working.

Best in the business

Global recognition is always welcome, but we are only able to achieve these heights because of our employees who take such pride in the day to day, mostly unglamourous, work of running a city. The latest issue of Government Fleet magazine features an article by our own Bradley Northrup, fleet superintendent, and Esequiel Perez, lead equipment technician, who talk about how they ensure city vehicles, from police cars to fire engines and public works trucks, are kept in tiptop shape. Their dedication to high quality and efficient service not only makes our city safer, it saves taxpayer money and contributes to our overall culture of excellence. Here is a link to the full article.

All dressed up AND someplace to go

In my last update, I gave a shout out to our employee graduates who recently received their master’s degrees. Here’s (a portion) of the group from the SDSU master’s in public administration program who, thanks to new guidance on gatherings, were able to don their caps and gowns and participate in an in-person ceremony. You make Team Carlsbad look good and we are so proud of you! If you haven’t heard about the city’s tuition reimbursement program, you can learn more about that here.

SDSU graduates pictured above (from left to right)

Eleida Felix Yackel, Erika Benitez, Michele Tackett, Morgen Fry, Sandra Riggins, Rosario Aranda, Dominic Fieri, Jason Geldert, Jason Haber, Emad Elias

A better normal

I know “new normal” has already become one of those COVID-era terms we are sick of hearing. How about if we call it a better normal? After all, not only did we make it through the hardest times, I think a case can be made that things really are going to be better:

  • We probably appreciate all the things we might have taken for granted, like getting together with friends or going to a restaurant.

  • We have gotten so much better at using technology to save time and collaborate more efficiently.

  • I doubt we’ll catch as many colds or get the flu as often now that we are in the habit of washing our hands more frequently, keeping a distance from others and practicing all the other good health habits.

  • Our organization has evolved into new ways of working that could otherwise have taken a government agency years, if ever.

Most of all, we have continued our service to the public at a time when they needed us most. It wasn’t easy, but we did it. As a result, our community appreciates the City of Carlsbad even more than it did before (and that’s saying something!).

I’ll be back next week with more updates. Take care!