UPDATE: Follow-up meeting held with Treasurer Tax Collector Freidenrich
Dear OCEA member,
Last week, OCEA staff members, Michelle Rubio and Adam Ribota, participated in a follow-up meeting with the Treasurer-Tax Collector (TTC). The attendees included Treasurer Tax Collector, Sheri Freidenrich, the Assistant Treasurer-Tax Collector, James Kim, County Chief Financial Officer, Michelle Aguirre, and County Chief Human Resources Officer, Colette Farnes. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss what actions TTC Leadership has taken to address the concerns you expressed to OCEA staff in the survey last year following the County’s Performance Audit of the agency. Among those concerns, OCEA members reported issues regarding vacancies, leadership style, and the culture at the TTC.
Prior to our initial meeting, staff members were concerned with the number of vacancies in the agency and how long it took to fill them. Since then, the County has stepped in and is actively working to fill all vacancies. To establish credibility, we asked them to communicate changes to the vacancy list with workers on a regular basis. They’ve recently sent a few emails detailing their recruitment efforts and we will monitor their communications to ensure they continue to provide updates regarding vacancies.
Leadership Style and Culture
The issues that fell into these two categories ranged from interpersonal interactions to inefficiencies in workflow. We followed up with employees who included their contact information on the survey to get more specific examples. Of those examples, people reported having difficulty obtaining common office supplies, submitting help-desk tickets, arbitrary changes in policies/procedures, an overly involved management style, and an unnecessarily challenging work environment. Due to your efforts:
- Office supplies are now readily available to anyone who needs them.
- Workers are now able to submit their own help-desk tickets without approval.
- The agency has committed that any changes in policy or procedure will be communicated in writing.
- The agency will hold EEO information sessions at the end of this month.
- After hiring the Assistant Treasurer-Tax Collector, Ms. Freidenrich has agreed to take a hands-off approach and focus on the higher-level duties of her elected position.
Our progress on this effort is a direct result of TTC workers standing together to fight for a respectful and more efficient workplace. There is more work to be done, but with persistence and continued member involvement we can create a long-lasting shift in the culture. Please keep your eyes and ears open and report anything that is contrary to the information we’ve reported above. Our next meeting with the Department is scheduled for April 1, 2022.
As always, we are here as a resource so please do not hesitate to reach out to one of your Stewards or a member of the OCEA staff.
Publication Date: February 3, 2022