Flood event de-briefing by Auditor

The Board Support Team, which consists of direct reports of the Board of Supervisors with the exception of an Assistant County Attorney, convened a meeting with the five county-wide elected officials or their deputies. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the Flood of 2016. Below are my written comments which I mentioned in my Auditor’s Report 9/25 – 10/5/2016 . – Joel D. Miller, Linn County Auditor

From: Miller, Joel
Sent: Tuesday, October 04, 2016 1:31 PM
To: Board Support
Subject: RE: Flood Event De-briefing by Auditor

Board Support Team et al,

Due to the Flood of 2016, the Auditor’s Office took the following actions:

1> Relocated about $1M worth of voting systems to the loading dock area of the CSB.

2> Directed ballot printer to hold ballots in Waterloo and NOT deliver them until we had a safe & secure storage for the ballots.

3> Initially asked for 10 -12 work spaces in the CSB when it became apparent that space in the CSB would not be allocated to entire workforce of 18 permanent personnel and up to 10 seasonal election workers.

4> Reserved meeting rooms at the Clarion Hotel on the southwest side of the Cedar and at the Best Western Long Branch on the northeast side of the Cedar for the employees who could not be accommodated in the CSB.

5> Relocated workforce to the CSB when it became apparent space was available for the workforce in the CSB. Allowed some employees to work at home who either did not require County intranet access or had access to the County intranet, e.g., Real Estate.

6> Maintained full office functionality in the CSB from 8am on Monday, September 26th, through 5pm on Friday, September 30th.

7> Physically relocated all office equipment & tools to the PSC in 90 minutes on September 30th after close of business at 5pm.

8> Auditor’s Office completely functional and open for business at 8am on Monday, October 3rd.

Things we are most proud of:

From: Shoop, Becky
Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2016 4:16 PM
To: Miller, Joel
Cc: Law, Stacey; Hoy, Amanda; Box, Tim
Subject: What we are most proud of during the flood

First of all, every staff member stepped up and made sure that they got their workstations moved to the lobby of the CSB (on Sunday). Never did I hear a complaint. Once we were here, everyone went straight to work and represented the Auditor’s Office in a friendly and professional manner. Never missed a beat. The transition was seamless!

Most of all, we feel exceptionally good about how we helped customers .


· Every customer that we assisted when they came into the lobby looking for a department was greeted with a friendly smile and asked if they could be helped. The majority of the customers that were looking for the Recorder or Assessor were personally escorted to those offices.

· We had several customers needing the Clerk of Court (in person and by e-mail), needing to pay child support, needing to pay tickets, needing to appear in court. We provided them with the appropriate contact information and just today two customers came into the lobby and didn’t know how they would pay their court tickets (due by the end of the month). Beth & Amanda helped them pay their tickets on line and printed receipts for them.

· On three occasions when we were at the PSC (moving in or moving out) we assisted customers. I brought back a property tax payment for an older gentleman and I assured him that he would receive a receipt in the mail. When I asked the Treasurer to do that, I was told that they needed a stamped envelope. I provided that for the gentleman. The others were needing to pay their vehicle tags and we gave them the information about the mobile unit in the parking lot of the CSB and provided that address.

· When asked to take care of moving workstations back to the PCS either after 5 on Friday or Saturday, I received very positive feedback and I know that the move back will be as seamless as the move out.

This may not sound as impressive as filling HESCO barriers or staying in the courthouse overnight watching pumps, but it was the perfect example of Customer Centered Culture!

Recommendations for the future:

1> Get all employees on Novatime – don’t rely upon paper based payroll records during a flood when employees are working in different locations and accumulating overtime. Some employees on paper based records may not get all of the pay they are due until the next pay cycle and beyond.

2> Utilize the Novatime mobile app – it works on iPhones and Android – another method to keep track of time.

3> Allocate floor space in CSB now so offices/departments know where they are going before another flood.

4> Allocate lobby space to all offices/departments so all customers can be served that show up for any service.

5> If employees have to be furloughed, then make it known to the other departments that those furloughed employees are available. The union filed a grievance against my office for employing seasonal elections workers when permanent employees were on forced vacation with and without pay. Neither I nor my deputies had any visibility into how many or which employees were on forced vacation. Assign a coordinator to ensure permanent employees on forced vacation are given every opportunity to perform work.

6> Install more electrical outlets (and standalone circuit breakers) in the lobby of the CSB as 3 outlets on 2 circuit breakers is insufficient to support the number of electronics needed for the employees.

7> Install network connections in the walls to accommodate the phones/computers used by the employees stationed in the lobby of the CSB.

8> Authorize/assign all employees the duty to move their individual phones/computers and train them on how to hook them up. IT cannot be expected to support the rapid relocation of employees, e.g., the 167 assigned to the PSC, and get them all operational at the same time.

9> Allocate space on the dock area now prior to the next flood event, e.g., for voting equipment and lawnmowers.

10> Allocate usage of the County’s existing box truck and/or acquire additional box trucks to relocate office equipment.

11> Station a receptionist in the lobby of the CSB from 7:30am-5pm – the office hours of those offices temporarily and permanently assigned to the CSB. Make every office’s office hours the same, i.e., 8am-5pm.

12> Post signage at the abandoned buildings that’s easy to read without getting out of your car, redirecting our customers to our temporary locations. ###

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