January 2022 Forensics Meet and Confer

AFSCME Labor/Management FMHP

January 20, 2022 1230PM

Administration Building


Attendance: Adam Castle, Ryan Cates, Antonino Guerrero, Steve Wilking, Scott Melby, Becky Kern, Heather Staff, Ashley Shanley, Carol Olsen, Roxanne Portner, Denise Considine, Laraine Mickelson, Paul.


Reflection and Celebration: Denise-Letters went out regarding incentive and retention. Everyone at maximum for 6 months should have received 1000 dollars. Hopefully we got to more people with the incentive.

Carol-Staff are doing well with deescalating patients. We are into another low month with restraint and seclusion.

Good participation in our point prevalence. 72 staff participated on Tuesday. 4 percent were positive.

Standing Agenda Items:

  1. Osha Information: Handouts from Alli.
  2. 2.      Overtime Information: Handouts from Alli.
  3. 3.      Budgeted Position Review: Carol-We are at 14 percent vacancy in forensics. 17 dead bid SC positions. 5 lpn, 10 HSSS positions, 5 food service workers. Ryan-Are some not being posted? Carol-Our budget person has had some health issues, but they are coming through.

Old Business


  1. 1.      Introduction to ICMS-Paul and Laraine Mickelson: Integrated Conflict Management System: Mission is to archive competency at team, organization, and individual levels. Direct facilitation services, Training services, team building. Prevention of destructive conflict is critical. 26 facilitators across DCT. 78 core team members in DCT. Role as ambassadors. Conflict coaches are for an individual on personal level or have a conversation with a teammate. There are 15 coaches currently. Working with 31 teams with 331 staff. 115-1080 policy. Carol-we added more development in our strategic plan this year. Becky and michelle are helping get this launched. They set up classes for supervisors to understand ICMS. We are adding more facilitators in the future.


  1. 1.      COVID Issues/10 Days or 5 Days/Quarantine Period: Roxanne-CDC updated recommendations. They were in conflict with osha until yesterday. DCT committee is updating guidance for our environment. Asymptomatic positives is 10 days but may be changing soon. CDC is 5 days and can return with mask. Currently we are still 10 days regardless of symptoms. Day 1 begins day after you take test for asymptomatic staff. Day of onset of symptoms is for symptomatic staff. Ryan-OSHA ats expired yesterday. No longer paying leave. Go without pay. Any concerns with staff coming in regardless? Denise-I hope people are responsible. If symptomatic don’t come to work. I understand your point. I hope they wouldn’t do that. Ryan-If not paying them because of osha, you aren’t doing things required. Why should they take It seriously if the state doesn’t? Denise-We can’t say we are going to pay staff, here. Has to come from MMB. We take direction from them. It’s not our decision to make. Ryan-If you get it at work, still being told by workers comp it is not a work hazard. So, if it’s not a hazard, why are we forced not to come to work if its routine. Denise-I’m not a worker’s comp specialist. Roxanne- I can’t answer that either. We can take it forward. Steve-we have 3 units on quarantine. Dealing with covid patients, now you are a staff working there. Carol-We have put protections in place from CDC guidance for people who work in the environment. All of the PPE and handwashing. Those are the protections. Steve-Perception is reality. There is a lot of hesitancy with staff even though there are protections. There is a risk. Carol-We have a lot of non-compliance with masking as well. They are getting covid from staff as well. It is very important for our staff to maintain protections and precautions. Ryan-If forcing them to go home because you are exposed at work, and saying they don’t get paid, you are punishing them for not being vaccinated. Denise-We are trying to keep patients and staff safe. Not punishing. I get it but we don’t have the answers. Threre are things we have to follow; we can’t vary from that. Ryan-We have all been inundated with messages. The private sector and DOC have covid protections, but we don’t here. Why does DOC? Denise-We can check on the work comp as it relates to DOC, but I don’t have an answer today. Steve-Unvaccinated with high-risk exposure, you are sent home. Due to certain classifications, they can’t work from home. Can they do some work somewhere to fulfill facility needs? Carol-We can look at it. Denise-We can take a look to see what we have available. Ryan-People out on covid leave right now. As of today, there is no leave. The way it was done, was disrespectful. Roxanne-OSHA ETS had people with high risk out for 14 days. CDC shortened that if asymptomatic. Covid changes constantly. I anticipate more.
  2. 2.      Booster Shot Vaccine Clinic: Roxanne-We aren’t planning any, but Nicollet County has one that anyone can get at any time. Carol-It is free with insurance and the information was posted on the SharePoint. Steve-People who got the clinic, when do they start considering the vaccination requirement is due? The lifespan is about 8 months. Roxanne-we will be looking at that process as well. The interval between boosters is being looked at. It’s about 10 weeks for the booster efficacy. The situation is evolving. Steve-If they didn’t get a booster, the people who got the clinic, are now passed and “unvaccinated” Roxanne-They should be talking to their health care provider. Steve-Should they be testing weekly? Roxanne-I don’t know. Carol-Up until now, they were still considering you fully vaccinated with those. Guidance is always changing. It all required data collection.
  3. 3.      Short Staffing Units/Hickory 1-24,25,26: Carol-There were some moments that we evaluated acuity of the unit and felt comfortable running with less to save inverses. It is based on the status of the unit.
  4. 4.      Grove A GMW Radios: Ryan-They would like their own radios. Radios are programmed to everyone else, why can’t we get these? Scott-We are working on it. it’s not that simple. We want to make sure its accessible. GMWs have different keys. When we get all the units up, we will assess the radios also. There are a lot of other things we are addressing right now. Ryan-Mid week, radios are short on the units and it frustrates unit staff. Scott-Let patty know, and I will work with security.

New Business


  1. 1.      Floating holidays: Denise-We negotiated use it or lose it. I will put out an announcement. Get that message out as well that they should get that scheduled and will not be paid out. Ryan-If they haven’t used it and can’t get vacation, what can they do? Denise-If they have any time scheduled right now, they can change it to a floating holiday. It was negotiated, there aren’t any other options. Language is use it or lose it. If they have something on the books, they can change it to floating.
  2. 2.      Fit Testing: Carol-There are staff that have been on the list, they need to complete the assessment and the CBT and fit test. 16 people have not completed the assessment. They can reach out to HR if it is a medical issue. We have 30 that are not fit tested, mostly because of beards which is also not acceptable. Steve-Where can we find links for the assessment and CBT? Carol-They have been getting reminders. Roxanne-The link is specific to the individual. The CBT is assigned to the classifications. We added 100 so we have 600 in the respiratory program.


  1. 1.      Hiring Staff at Higher Rate: Ryan-This was a change.  Staff are being hired at higher rate than people that have been here longer. I understand the reasoning, but it alienates others. It would be nice to get raises throughout. Denise-Compensation policy changes.  Given the job market, the policy changed to give us the ability to hire SCs up to step 4. Prior to that we could not offer higher than step one. Based on experience, you will get additional points. Also, if you have a degree in related field. If it’s hard to fill position, we allow an additional step. We add up the points and we cap at step 4. It went into place in December. We are not looking at equity adjustments right now. There is nowhere to draw that line. Things change over time, and we take advantage of that. We cannot go retroactive. Same with SCLs, which was changed. There is now a process for Leads. The requirements are 2 years, so now you may have some with 12 years that may earn extra points, I believe it is capped as well. It is capped at 4 steps as of December 2021. Scott-I am pleased we can do this. Anytime we are able to offer more, someone may be upset and feel they missed out on something.
  2. Inversing Refusals: Denise-Alli has been out so hasn’t gotten it yet. You filed a grievance on inverses. She is working at getting you the information on how often this happens. Scott-It is something that is concerning. If you are the next person, then it becomes an issue. We have a lot of overtime. We need to follow the contract; we have staff not following expectations when people are really tired. It’s difficult and a problem. It happens on weekends and other painful times. Ryan-Yes, basically it’s an Issue because then it is violation for the next person that gets inversed out of turn. Scott-This is a joint agreement to cover inversing as a staff. Carol-We will put out the message we need you to work when inversed.
  3. WTAs to SCs and Security Services to Residential: Ryan-When they are moved to SCs and given a week notice why are they not being paid. Denise-Because they are in a wooc they are not eligible. In a wooc they are receiving an increase in hourly pay. Ryan-It doesn’t give any limits on a notice. Why does the previous contract not apply to wooc but everyone else’s? Denise-I don’t know but I can look more into it. That is the answer I received. Because they are receiving additional pay as a wooc. Ryan-why only 1 week notice and not 2? Carol-The need was immediate but didn’t want to do it immediately. 2 weeks was too long, and we felt good about not doing it the next day before a holiday weekend. Ryan-A lot of people took a pay cut just to have those scheduled. Carol-We are hoping to get them back sooner rather than later. This was urgent for relief of overtime. Ryan-if they have childcare issues, will scheduling work with them? Lates and earlies. Carol-I haven’t heard it was an issue, but I will take a look at it. Have them talk to scheduling and supervisor first. Steve: So, with the Security Services to residential issue. Due to the defined work area, they are each their own area. The competency for ss to do residential work, you have to know policies and other training stuff. They are not even properly trained to do overtime. Putting them as an extras role, the utilities are covering units and SS is doing utilities roles and not residential stuff. Which role is it? SS or utility? They shouldn’t be working residential at all due to defined work area that you defined. We would like to not force them to work units especially when you put this stuff out. Carol-We are in a staffing crisis and use our resources to cover critical needs. Where is the need and what is critical. Scott-I agree, we heard from members how tired everyone is, please do something. We are doing this short term to help. SS can take overtime on residential unit. If staff is not ready to do what is asked of them, let the supervisor know. We are trying to relieve the inversing and overtime. Carol-We have a crisis and need to cover residential. Steve-I understand that; however, we need to follow the contract. You say staffing crisis. On SharePoint is says emergency. When does staffing crisis supersede the contract? Carol-how are we not following the contract. It doesn’t mean we cant reassign to other work areas. Ryan-It requires specific language to use the least senior. Denise-Not for temp reassignments. Ryan-Same as nursing home because its a separate work area by nature. Denise-SS is part of forensics. Nursing home is specifically. SS is forensic services. Ryan-They defined the work area separately by the appointing authority. Steve-you had an extra in ss pulled to a unit then inverse to ss for morning shift. Why? Scott-We can look at any decision to cover and someone can say you did the wrong things. We are trying to provide relief for staff. We want to get back to normal also. Ryan-we have gone along with it, but we need to debate these things. Scott-we don’t do this stuff without thinking about the impact on people.
  4. False and Malicious VA Complaints Against Members by Patients: Ryan-If I made a complaint about a staff beating up a patient, I would be in trouble. Why can a patient do this against our members. Carol-Licensing has an obligation to follow through. We do a lot of due diligence to review and let them know if there is any legitimacy. A lot of times they close the issue. Sometimes we don’t even know until they show up. People can make complaints any time. Ryan-So they can make complaints even if its false, it still leaves a negative view. Carol-I know if doesn’t feel good to staff.
  5. Supplementals in Place of Investigations/Bypassing Contractual Right To Representation: Ryan-Suspicions about staff behavior and the coworkers are being asked to fill out supplemental reports about them. These are for patients. Carol-I need examples but if a patient reported a VA to licensing and we get contacted. Sometimes supplementals help provide more information. Carol-Sometimes they are used to help staff also. Denise-I don’t think we would discipline without an investigation. A supplemental might trigger an investigation but we never disciplined without an investigation and representation. Scott-Sometimes, they are filed for other things. Visitors, utility failures because they don’t fit anywhere else.
  6. Med Trips Over Shift Change for Transport Team: Ryan-This will lead to mandatory overtime. Scott-We have tried to minimize all medical trips. We are aware how shift changes affect med trips. It will not be standard practice.

Add Ons:

  1. AODS Completing Rounds to Monitor Minimums: Ryan-Are they being told to do this? Scott-We have some ODs from other areas of campus that staff don’t know. We ask them to get into the facility to get to know people. This is what they are doing.
  2. Snow Removal for GMWs: Scott-Policy is to remove snow 10 feet away from doorways. Ryan-Are they required to have boots, gloves, etc.? Scott-Have they talked to their supervisor? Steve-I thought it was grounds crew’s job. Scott-I don’t have an answer. A lot of specific conversation has taken place. Denise-They have been offered to wear a high viz jacket. Are there other things they would like? Ryan-I can ask.
  3. Aspen Not Being Used as Quarantine: Carol-Decision is made by 3 people. We had 1 patient in bartlett then had 2 more. Now you have that unit exposed to positives. To pull out 3 people it doesn’t take the exposure away. But I don’t know the reason without those 3 people that decide. Scott-If we did this, there would be people whom would ask why we introduced 3 people with illness. It’s based on practices and operations. Carol-We will make the decision based on medical and make it work. Steve-You will never quarantine a unit then. Carol-People in Bartlett and Hickory have been very compliant. Steve-I believe you need 2 negative weeks to go back to normal.
  4. GMWs Covering on Units: Scott-There is no further conversation about this. There is always overtime in food services. Ryan-They have patient contact. Carol-If we would consider, how many would even want to? Steve-There are a few out there. Scott-Encourage them to fill out an SC application, we are hurting right now. Ryan-MSOP also, they work together with clients often.
  5. Grove A LPN filling HSSS and backfilling LPN with HSSS: Steve-The licensed role should go into licensed role. Ryan-It’s not being done with scheduling, its being done by AODS. Carol-There is excess because Forestview north isn’t open. We need to spread our staff instead of inversing. Ryan-Do you have extra RNs? Carol (reading from an email) “When Forestview north is open, we won’t have the extras, so this won’t be an issue.” Ryan-You would never consider this with SCs, its only grove A. Carol-We will watch it and keep looking at it. Looking at our resources, they might not be happy to move into main building. Steve-But it wouldn’t be violating the contract. You can move them around the campus.
  6. Overtime MOU for SCs and food service workers: Denise: It was approved by SER. It is waiting right now. I want to get this going asap and implement right away.
  7. Ryan: Denise-it has gone to SER and is approved, waiting on approval from MMB to get more people the incentives and retention MOU. We could use it other places when it is signed off. Ryan-Is the referral at 500 and MOU will be 1000? Denise- I think it’s at 1000 now.


Meeting Adjourned at 215PM