Sunday, June 20, 2021

Three City Employees Test Positive For COVID-19

The City is aware of three City employees who have tested positive for COVID-19. All three are employees at the Public Works Operations Facility located at 1950 East Continental Boulevard.

City leadership is working with state and local agencies to support the protection of the City’s employees and public health. In response to the outbreak, City Manager Shana Yelverton has closed down the Public Works Operations building.

“We were notified last night and this morning of two additional positive tests for employees who worked out of the same location,” said City Manager Yelverton. “Our main concern is for our employees. The next steps include testing essential employees who have been working at the facility.”

Since mid-March, the City has been following COVID-19 CDC guidelines as well as work from home guidelines at this facility and others. Any employee that may have felt sick was sent home to limit interaction with others.

The first employee to test positive is a field employee and had no public interaction. The City was notified about the two subsequent cases in the past two days. Both employees had not been to work since mid-March and had no public interaction before then.

Essential Public Works Operations employees who worked out of the building will be reassigned to work out of other facilities while the building is cleaned. They will not come back to work until they have been tested for COVID-19, cleared for work, and have been reintroduced to the workplace with the guidance of the Tarrant County Public Health Department. The building will re-open in approximately two weeks.

Public and Employee Protection Steps

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the City has taken numerous steps to protect its employees and the public, including:

  • The closing all public buildings as of March 19 until April 30,
  • Reducing the size of crews working together,
  • Cleaning of Public Works trucks and equipment after the first employee positive and after any employee who felt sick was sent home,
  • Implementation of good housekeeping practices suggested by the CDC,
  • Close to 150 City employees telecommuting from home, per stay at home orders,
  • Mandatory employee temperature monitoring for all essential employees who report to City facilities,
  • Face to face meetings with City contractors and partners have been canceled, Employees are using conference calls and other means of communication when necessary,
  • Daily cleaning of City workspaces,
  • All City deliveries are left outside at the front door, then brought into buildings and disinfected.

“These steps have been a part of our comprehensive effort to flatten the curve and limit our employees’ exposure to COVID-19,” said Yelverton. “The work of the City goes on, including the provision of essential services like water distribution, and infrastructure repair. If further changes are necessary for the protection of the public and our employees, we will make those adjustments.”

The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation is frequently changing. The City of Southlake is committed to working with our residents and businesses to work through this unprecedented time. We encourage everyone to make the best possible decisions by following expert guidance and advice, reducing the risk of being infected or infecting others, and staying up-to-date about the latest information. For the latest City updates, visit www.ProtectSouthlake.com.

City Earns Distinguished Budget Presentation Award

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) awarded the City of Southlake the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for its annual budget beginning October 1, 2018.

“We work with the City Council every year to create a strategic budget that advances the City’s comprehensive plan and supports Southlake’s services,” said City Manager Shana Yelverton. “We are pleased that GFOA has recognized the City’s budget documents for more than 20 years.”

The GFOA distinguished budget guidelines are designed to assess how well an entity’s budget serves as a policy document, as an operations guide, as a financial plan, and as a communications device.

“Each department is accountable for yearly work plans and their corresponding budgets that meet the City’s strategic goals,” said Chief Financial Officer Sharen Jackson. “Those plans are then published in the budget document so taxpayers can review it for themselves.”

The GFOA is a nonprofit professional association serving more than 20,000 government finance professionals throughout North America. Its stated mission is to advance excellence in public finance.

The Southlake City Council will consider the proposed FY 2020 budget at their regularly scheduled meetings in September. Learn more about the City’s budget process here.

Southlake’s Safety Team Aims to Improve City Practices & Reduce Workplace Risk

Southlake’s Safety Committee members were honored recently with a City Manager Commendation for their commitment to excellent safety practices and their role in promoting a culture of safety for the municipal organization.

When Southlake’s Human Resources Director Stacey Black learned that on-the-job injuries with medical costs or lost time decreased by 25% over the previous fiscal year, it made her smile. She believes this success is due, at least in part, to the efforts of the City’s hardworking Safety Committee. The group is an interdepartmental team whose mission is to keep employees and the public safe through mindful business practices aimed at reducing risk.

“A few years ago we saw a need to be a little more intentional with our safety practices,” said Black. “In fact, we set a goal of creating a strong culture of safety so that our employees return home at the end of the day or their shift in the same condition they arrived.”

Following an organizational safety audit, the team was formed and put into place under the leadership of employees Chad Minter and Tim Slifka.

“We value the well-being of our employees and the public we serve, and this guides our work,” explained Minter. “Last year we arranged for more than 900 hours of civilian safety training for various workgroups, and have worked since the beginning to create workplace practices that prevent accidents. We make a difference because we proactively focus attention on safety, and take corrective steps when needed.”

The team has worked to:

  • implement vehicle speed monitoring and alerts,
  • understand workplace injuries and how to prevent them,
  • evaluate City vehicle accidents for operational improvements,
  • reduce building safety hazards within City facilities,
  • purchase safety materials and equipment,
  • learn more about best practices for staying safe,
  • put procedures in place to improve workplace safety.

City Manager Shana Yelverton has the highest praise for the performance of the team. “Their importance and effectiveness can’t be overstated,” she said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what outcomes are achieved over time.”

For their strategic and committed work, each member of the Safety Committee has received a formal commendation, and thank you. Above photo from left to right: top row, Mike White, W. Wood, Ryan Arthur, and Tim Slifka. Middle row, Ryan McGrail, Robert Burns, Chad Minter, and Eric Lusk. Bottom row, Shane Cloud, Terry Holloway, and Andrew Merrick.

Southlake Recognized for Strong Performance Management

For the second year in a row, the City of Southlake has been recognized by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) for strong performance management.

The City was honored at the Certificate of Achievement level and is one of only six Texas cities to be recognized by ICMA for commitment to the principles of performance management and effective communication of performance data.

“This recognition is especially satisfying,” said City Manager Shana Yelverton. “It is a nod to the work we’ve done over many years to establish a strategic approach that is supported by data for better decision-making and performance excellence.”

The cities of Austin and San Antonio received certificates of excellence, while Dallas, Fort Worth and Farmers Branch were highlighted with certificates of distinction. Depending on the level of recognition, excellence being the highest, criteria include incorporation of data gathering and verification, public reporting, benchmarking, strategic planning, community surveying, staff development, dashboarding and continuous improvement, according to ICMA.

“As a small city, this approach can be somewhat challenging, but it is well worth the effort,” said Yelverton. “Our goal is to serve this community as well as we can, and we’re proud that the tools that we’ve put into place have strengthened our performance.”

City Budget Supports Highest Standards of Safety and Security

In Southlake, safety and security are two of the City’s highest strategic priorities and new investments are proposed within the FY 2019 budget to advance a number of safety goals.

People who live, work or play in any community want to be able to go about their days without threat, injury or property loss. The degree to which they are safe and secure in their homes, or when they are out and about living their lives is often the result of efforts made by the local municipality.

“Becoming a victim of a crime or experiencing a significant health crisis can change lives forever,” said City Manager Shana Yelverton. “It’s our aim to minimize the risk, and if something does happen, to make sure we are exceedingly helpful in setting things back to normal.”

To ensure a high level of public safety, the City is focused on a number of key initiatives for the coming year, including improving school safety, ensuring that police and fire personnel have the equipment they need to perform excellently, and even funds to minimize the risk of mosquito-borne illness.

“Campus safety is a top priority of the Southlake Police Department. Our strong partnerships with Southlake families and Carroll ISD has helped create new opportunities to enhance school safety while keeping school faculty and our students focused on learning in a safe, protected environment,” said Police Chief James Brandon.

The Crime Control and Prevention District Board of Directors has allocated more than $500,000 from the District’s half-cent sales tax revenue to fund school safety initiatives. A task force is currently studying best practices and will identify ideas to assist Chief Brandon and the Police Department with their work. These initiatives will complement the work already underway by Southlake’s 12 School Resource Officers (SROs).

The PD will also make technology purchases to aid in investigative processes and protective gear for officers.

The Fire Department has also reviewed their programs and equipment so they are ready to respond as needed.

“Readiness is about ongoing training and having the equipment and materials we need to get the job done,” said Fire Chief Michael Starr. “This fiscal year we’ll be focused on emergency management planning and tabletop exercises, managing mosquito threats, and general training.” In addition, the Department will be purchasing a replacement fire truck.

Funds are also included in the budget for workplace safety and occupational training, designed to eliminate costly accidents and lost time, and safety at City facilities and parks.

“We have an important obligation to be vigilant and well-prepared. The resources provided through the budget are well-considered investments into the safety of our beautiful community,” said Yelverton.

2013 Citizen Satisfaction Survey Available This October

The City of Southlake is proud to offer to its residents the 2013 Citizen Satisfaction Survey.

Since 2007, the survey has been a vital tool in helping the City develop the highest satisfaction standards for its residents and businesses. In the past several years, the City has been focusing its strategy on several key areas including: enhancing infrastructure, improving emergency management, managing growth and development, and more.

“For more than five years, the City has made considerable investments into the areas that residents have said are important,” said City Manager Shana Yelverton. “We take the survey results very seriously. This year we hope to learn more about how people think we are progressing and use this to create areas of new opportunity.”

The survey will be available online throughout October. This year participants will have the ability to save the survey and come back later to complete it.

“We received feedback in 2011 that a save feature would be a great addition,” said Assistant to the City Manager Caroline Eckel. “The 2013 survey will allow people to take their time and think about their answers. We think it’s a great improvement.” 

Eckel says each survey is an important benchmark for the City Departments. “Each department has set goals designed to better serve our customers, we feel the survey is a great touch point for departments to help assess their plans and make improvements.”

Results from this year’s survey are expected to be available in late winter. Once the survey closes a survey report will be produced by the City’s survey vendor, Decision Analyst. City staff will then review the results with the City Council and then make them available online.

The City has been conducting citizen surveys since 1997 and has made it a biannual commitment since 2007. Results from previous years are kept on the City’s main website, www.CityofSouthlake.com for public review.

To participate in this year’s survey click here. For more information about the survey, please visit CityofSouthlake.com/CitizenSurvey.