Returning to the workplace, staff achievements, summer BBQ, cyber threats and more news

With the state on track to fully reopen on June 15, we’re following suit and plan to be fully transitioned into our new “hybrid” model that same week.

This means that starting the week of June 13 all city employees will be back at their normal work locations or working remotely with an approved telecommuting plan in place. There is no deadline to fill out the telecommute application, but employees interested in the program should file their applications by May 31 if they want it considered prior to the June 13 return date.

Details have been sent via email and are available on the COVID staff page of the website. If you’re a supervisor, you’ll receive more information this week on how to access the telecommuting applications submitted by employees in your department.

Carlsbad is the only city in our region so far that has decided to continue to offer the telework option following the end of the stay-at-home orders. As such, we have an opportunity to once again be a leader. Please work together to make this a success. We will revisit after 90 days to see how it’s going.

Commonly asked questions

I want to address two questions I am getting about teleworking:

Why can’t staff work 100% remotely when we’ve seen that we can make that work during COVID?

I believe that maintaining a healthy organization depends on strong relationships among our team, collaboration and a common workplace culture. These things are harder if we don’t spend time together in person.

Why is telecommuting not offered across the board?

A one-size-fits-all approach was just not possible. There are so many different work groups, all with their own work needs and team dynamics. I respect the department directors’ decisions about how they think telecommuting can best work, or if it can work, for their areas.

Summer BBQ is back!

In yet another sign of a return to normalcy, I am happy to announce that the citywide employee barbeque at Aviara Park is coming back! Please mark your calendars for Aug. 19 and keep an eye out for details.

We don’t know exactly what the health rules will be by then, but we will stay flexible as the date approaches in case we need to take any special precautions. Safety is always our number one concern.

Employee cases

Even as we talk about returning to the workplace and more and more of California’s economy reopening, it’s important we don’t let our guards down. We must continue to protect ourselves and those around us from COVID-19. Thanks to your diligence, we have had no new employee cases of COVID-19 since my last report on May 6.

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.

Future of masks

We have also been getting questions about changes to the city’s face mask policy. You have probably seen in the news (or my City Manager’s Update) that the CDC issued new guidance last week that people fully vaccinated don’t need to wear masks in most settings. California will adopt these guidelines June 15.

When it comes to workplace settings, we must also look to Cal/OHSA, which is meeting June 3 to discuss updates to its rules.

So, for now, no changes to our city policy, but stay tuned.

New city website

Congrats to the IT and Communication departments for Monday’s launch of the new city website. Staff from all departments have been working on this project, and the result is a more modern, easier to navigate and more mobile friendly site. Please help us do quality control by clicking around and reporting any problems or suggestions to The team will be constantly refining the site based on feedback and analytics.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee update

In February, we announced the selection of 13 city staff members to serve on the new Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee. Since then, the committee has been working closely with our consultant, Dr. Sharon Adams, a well-regarded expert in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion, to set up the committee charter and bylaws and to establish goals for measuring success.

This committee is part of a larger focus citywide on considering issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in everything we do. The committee will raise awareness of and make recommendations to improve and celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion in our organization.

Read more about the work of the committee so far. I look forward to sharing more about our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiative as it progresses.

Diversity, equity and inclusion are fundamental to our goal of being the best run local government, period.

Latest employee newsletter

In case you missed it, last week we shared the latest employee newsletter.

  • In this issue you’ll get to: Meet our new hires and pandemic pets who’ve joined Team Carlsbad

  • Celebrate recent award wins, promotions and life moments

  • See what life in the workplace looks like for those who are back in person

Read the latest issue here. And don’t forget, if you have story ideas, send them to

Cybersecurity attack in the news

Top U.S. fuel pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline shut down its entire network last week after a cyberattack that involved ransomware. I’m sure many of you heard about this in the news since the shutdown is causing gas prices to spike across the nation. The incident is one of the most disruptive digital ransom operations ever reported and is an important reminder of the reality that we could be next. We all need to be highly vigilant in our communication and online activities:

  • Stay on a private, secured Wi-Fi network. Avoid using public Wi-Fi and do not use public computers for work.

  • Do not visit websites or follow links provided by unknown sources.

  • Think before clicking hypertext links contained in emails or attachments, especially from sources you do not trust.

  • Report all suspicious emails by using the “Report Phish” or “Report Email” icon on your Outlook toolbar. Err on the side of over-reporting!

Cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility. Don’t be fooled – stay vigilant against cybersecurity threats.

Mental health awareness

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so let’s take a moment to check in with ourselves and others. Following more than a year of stay-at-home orders and other health restrictions, you and those you love might need extra support. Here is a one-page summary of free resources you can print out and post to your bulletin board at home or pass along to a friend in need. There are also several resources offered through the Employee Assistance Program.

Here are some tips that can help us all be supportive colleagues:

  • Be vulnerable: Let your co-workers know if you are having a hard time processing all the changes or something you have done to take care of yourself.

  • Model health behaviors: Let your colleagues know you are making time to work out and practice self-care and encourage them to do the same.

  • Check-in a lot: When you ask how someone is doing, really stop to listen.

  • Overcommunicate: When people are stressed, communication is often the first thing that suffers. Check for understanding, ask questions and when miscommunications happen, see it as an opportunity to clear the air and start fresh on a positive note.

Congrats to our graduates

I’d like to end today’s update with a big CONGRATS to our employee graduates who received their master’s degrees this month, many through the city’s partnership with SDSU! Kudos to you for your hard work and dedication to further your education, all while continuing to provide top quality service in your daily roles with the city. We are proud of you and lucky to have you as part of Team Carlsbad!

Master’s Degree in Public Administration

Jon Aasted

Rosario Aranda

Sarah Cluff

Emad Elias

Morgen Fry

Jason Geldert

Jason Haber

Jenn Johnson

ValRay Nelson

Sandra Riggins

Michele Tackett

Babaq Taj

Eleida Felix Yackel

Master’s Degree in Library Science

Angelica Mejia

Master’s Degree in Social Work

Jessica Dorsey

We are entering a real turning point as more of our daily lives are starting to return to something approaching normal. Please keep in mind that even happy changes can be stressful. Please continue to support one another and take good care of yourselves. You have done amazing things over this past year, and I know Team Carlsbad will emerge stronger and more resilient than ever.

That’s all for now. Have a great rest of the week!