February 2022 MSOP Meeting Minutes

AFSCME MSOP Labor Management

February 10, 2022

Human Resources Room/Conference



Attendance: Eric Hesse, Ryan Cates, Nick Weerts, Matt Stenger, Marvin Sullivan, Annie Jakacki, Bonnie Wold, Tim Lokensgard, Michelle Breamer, Paul Rodriguez, Scott Halverson, Denise Considine, Heather Staff, Ashley Shanley


Follow Up Items

  1. 1.      Inverse Numbers – Operations & Health Services: Tim gave the numbers for Operations for the month of January. 61 1st Watch staff inversed for 194 hours, 69 2nd Watch staff inversed for 244.25 hours, and 40 3rd Watch staff inversed for 209.5 hours for a total of 647.75 hours. Michelle gave the numbers for Health Services which was 1 staff for 8 hours.
  2. 2.      OT Numbers – Operations & Health Services: Tim gave the total overtime hours for Operation for the month of January of 2,237.28 hours. Michelle gave the numbers for Health Services which was 29 hours of total overtime.
  3. 3.      Time Book Training: Eric asked if there was any update on this. Denise said they are still working on it and trying to finalize it and hope to have something next month.
  4. 4.      Local Hospital Coverage: Eric asked what the status is of getting the universal laptop that all staff can use at the hospital so staff can start reporting directly to the hospital. Tim stated it has been put on the top of MNIT’s issues to address. He stated he had asked for an update yesterday and has yet to hear back and will follow up.
  5. 5.      New Chairs for Offices/Workspaces: Eric asked where we were with this. Bonnie said they were working with the GMWs and that Leads on the units should put in work orders to get any issues with the chairs fixed or replaced. Paul asked if there were any issues with the chairs in CPS and Nick responded that he doesn’t think so as they are somewhat new.
  6. 6.      Lack of A-Team Trained Staff: Eric asked what has been happening to try and get more A-Team trained staff. Tim responded that he hadn’t heard back from the A-Team supervisor yet and will ask what the numbers are looking at so far and will look into a new training if necessary. Eric asked if they are still requiring Utility Pool staff to  cross train and Tim said it is still happening.


AFSCME Agenda Items

  1. 1.      Hiring Security Counselors at Higher Wages: Eric asked if it was true that they are hiring Security Counselors at $26 an hour as there is a rumor going around saying that they are. Denise said no but there is a change to the compensation policy where they are hiring new employees up to Step 4 ($23.41) based on prior experience. There is a worksheet where they give points to applicants for any experience, they may have had in either a direct care, forensics, or corrections environment. If they have 6 months to a year of experience, they will get 1 point. If they have a year to three years of experience, they will get 2 points. If they have more than 3 years of experience, they would get 3 points. They also would get a point if they had a degree in a related field and one point if there are a lot of vacancies and a lack of applicants for the position. The staff would not get more than 4 points though, but based on how many points they received, they would start at the same step as how many points they got. Eric asked how many were getting started at a higher wage and how many were starting at the full Step 4 and Denise said she could get that information to us.

Denise also shared they are doing the same with new Security Counselor Leads and giving them up to 4 steps increase once promoted based on their experience instead of the typical 1 step increase when promoted. Eric asked for the rationale behind the Leads as thee is not a shortage of people applying and wanting to fill a Lead spot. Denise responded that it may not be an issue in St. Peter, but in Moose Lake there aren’t many people on the list, and it will be applied in both sites.

Eric asked what the reasoning behind this was and Denise said that the compensation policy has been changed across DHS due to the current job market and trying to get people in the door to fill vacancies. Eric responded that if they paid us all more, this wouldn’t be an issue. He also said that while he can see why they need to do this to get people to apply, but by doing this and trying to solve a hiring crisis, they are going to create a retention crisis as by doing this, they are devaluing current employees’ years of service and their work here. He also said this is going to drive staff morale down and may cause them to seek other employment. Denise stated she understood the concerns, but they also need to do something to get people to fill the vacancies.

Marvin asked if they plan on relooking and applying any of this to current employees in which Denise responded that they weren’t. Eric reiterated that this will drive staff morale down and may worsen the problem they are having and Denise said there really isn’t much more she can say on the issue without saying the same things and that this issue and any resolution would be above them as local management and HR.

  1. 2.      Staff Weekly COVID Testing – Length of Time for Test Results: Eric stated that he has heard that the those that are unvaccinated and required to test weekly as they have been deemed to be at a higher risk of contracting COVID are getting their test results back 5 to 6 days later and asked if this was practical as they could be potentially spreading COVID if they are in fact positive around the facility for quite some time. Michelle said she understood and that it is a concern and Vault was doing the testing and have been slow and they are also dealing with staff shortages themselves. Michelle also shared they are also looking at different ways of doing this. Eric asked if they looked into potentially changing vendors in which Michelle said that it has been brought up, but don’t know if they are or not. Annie asked if they could change it to who is doing the Point Prevalence Surveillance testing, but Bonnie stated they wanted to keep the two separate.
  2. 3.      Security Counselor Lead Interviews – Percentage of Pass/Fail: Eric stated he was wondering how the process is going and how many people have passed or failed since there were some concerns on the questions and scoring system. Denise said it has been good so far as in Moose Lake they had 11 people interview and only 1 or 2 failed. She stated St. Peter is looking good so far but didn’t have exact numbers and will follow up with them once she has them. She also said she is looking at all the scores and the questions, particularly if there are some questions where a lot of people are scoring low on and will look into bettering them.
  3. 4.      Client Mail Policy Change: Eric asked if it was true that the client mail policy was changing to where two staff will now have to hand out the mail and verify that they are giving the right mail out. Bonnie said it wasn’t a policy change, but they are working on revamping the modules and are changing this to eliminate data breaches that handing out the wrong mail cause and looking at the amount of money they have to pay when there is a data breach. Eric said that staff are going to view this as they are incapable and incompetent of doing their job correctly and will further lower staff morale. Bonnie said it is not any different than count and having two staff to verify each other’s work. Eric asked if this is the case, then should Security Counselors really be doing this work. Eric then asked if ODs and supervisors will be doublechecked when handing out overtime or inverses or when they put out a schedule or give out vacation, since those mistakes also cost the State and taxpayers money. Bonnie said this was inappropriate and Eric said that this is how it is going to be viewed, that direct care staff have to have their work verified and that management doesn’t as he has already heard it. Eric said that he heard Moose Lake clients go to Property to get their mail and if we should be doing the same as we are the same program but two different sites. Bonnie said the layout of Moose Lake is different and they go to a mailroom and not Property for their mail. Paul said that they are doing this to protect staff and Eric replied back that it sounds like they are just protecting MSOP’s pocketbook. Bonnie said that any questions regarding the change and process can be asked of Marie Hartman.


Management Agenda Items


Management had no items.


Adjourned at 12:45pm