In This Issue
Unmanned Aerial Systems
Q. Which U.S. Navy hero from Knoxville is remembered for his famous rally cry, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"?
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Message from the President
Public Entity Partners’s first annual Risk & Insurance Symposium was a very successful event with around approximately 150 registrants. In addition, a majority of member departments were represented at the day-and-a-half-long conference. Attendees represented a variety of professional groups, including attorneys, administrative assistants, city administrators/managers, city recorders, directors/executive directors, elected officials, finance, fire, human resources, insurance agents, law enforcement, personnel, public works, purchasing, risk and safety managers, and treasurers.
Topics covered were equally diverse. Sessions included a compelling account of one man’s experience with safety being everyone’s responsibility, along with accident investigation, defensive driving, litigation, open records, OSHA, privacy and network liability, TULIP and special events, and unmanned aerial systems.
In addition to the structured learning opportunities, there were numerous occasions for networking opportunities, and six Excellence in Risk Management Awards were presented to recognize the good works of our members.
Overall, the positive interaction and response from those who attended the symposium is a testament to the dedication and hard work that local government employees invest in their entities.
From all of us at Public Entity Partners, thank you to those who were able to attend this year’s symposium. For those who were not able to participate, we look forward to seeing you at our second annual symposium next summer!
Dawn R. Crawford
Award Winners Recognized at Public Entity Partners’s First Annual Risk & Insurance Symposium
As part of our first annual Risk & Insurance Symposium, held Aug. 15-16 in Franklin, Tennessee, Public Entity Partners was honored to recognize our inaugural class of Excellence in Risk Management Award winners from across the state.
“The Excellence in Risk Management Award is designed to recognize members that go above and beyond to improve the safety of their workplaces,” says Dawn Crawford, president and CEO of Public Entity Partners. “Current PE Partner members that have completed a program to increase safety, reduce liability exposure, or protect and preserve property are eligible.”
In all, 18 cities, programs and individuals were nominated, with two winners chosen from each of Tennessee’s three grand regions. These include:
Jennifer Jenkins (left), administrative specialist with the Town of Collierville’s department of general services, accepts the Excellence in Risk Management Award presented to Collierville by Celeste Taylor, member services representative with Public Entity Partners.
Safety and Risk Management Program, Town of Collierville
According to their nomination form, the Town of Collierville works hard to provide exceptional services to their citizens, and this commitment is evident in their loss history. Collierville’s risk management program focuses on preventing injuries, protecting the town’s assets, administering a sound safety program, and eliminating potential financial losses to the town through continuous education, training and assessments.
“A strong emphasis on safety is one of the best things we can do for our employees,” says Town Manager James Lewellen. “Collierville’s safety program has been successful because our supervisors have a genuine interest in the well-being of their employees. They take a proactive approach in educating employees about hazardous conditions and training them on correct operation procedures. By putting safety first, our supervisors can be confident in knowing their employees are properly trained and equipped to handle their tasks.”
Ricky Robbins, safety coordinator, City of Germantown
Lisa Piefer (right), procurement director with the City of Germantown, accepts the Excellence in Risk Management Award on behalf of awardee Ricky Robbins (not pictured), Germantown’s risk and safety coordinator. Pictured at left is Paul Chambliss, loss control consultant with Public Entity Partners.
According to Robbins’ nomination form, his responsibilities include risk mitigation, incident/accident reporting, claims management, and safety programs and training. He has actively sought out the role of ADA coordinator for the city by attending the training and developing the necessary action plans. He was instrumental in safety training and providing the city’s risk toolkit, which includes all forms, procedures and resources in an easy-to-use digital format.
“In his tenure with the City of Germantown, Ricky has created numerous safety programs and handbooks,” says Lisa A. Piefer, Germantown’s procurement director. “He is working to emphasize risk mitigation practices to make our city safer and more efficient, and is currently creating a comprehensive policies and procedures manual for all departments. The way he has embraced this role is a testament to his character and commitment to his job and to the city.”
Chris Taylor (right), assistant human resources director for the City of Hendersonville, accepts the Excellence in Risk Management Award presented to Hendersonville’s human resources department by Callie Westerfield, member services representative with Public Entity Partners.
Human Resources Department, City of Hendersonville
According to the nomination form, the City of Hendersonville’s human resources department is continually improving the work they do to identify the root causes of accidents and address those causes. Their initiatives have resulted in an accident review board that evaluates all workers’ compensation claims and a safety committee focusing on loss prevention.
Over the last year, all safety policies have been revised, safety audits have been conducted of each department, and all SDS books throughout the City have been updated. They have additionally completed several training events for city hall employees that include fire extinguisher training, AED, CPR, and active shooter training. The human resources department works to raise awareness of risk management at all levels of the organization.
“Our human resources department has consistently and proactively worked to control our workers’ compensation exposure over the years,” says Chris Taylor, Hendersonville’s assistant human resources director. “Even though we have been effective at keeping our employees safe, we continue to work to identify ways we can improve. In addition, our city’s employees have stepped up and contributed to the continuous improvement of our safety programs. I’m very proud of the strides our city has taken over the past year.”
Chief Sam Livingston, Hohenwald Police Department
Sam Livingston (right), police chief for the City of Hohenwald, accepts the Excellence in Risk Management Award presented to him by Chester Darden, loss control consultant with Public Entity Partners.
According to Livingston’s nomination form, despite the challenges of limited personnel and resources, Hohenwald’s police department places an emphasis on professionalism and innovation, which has helped increase officer safety and decrease the city’s law enforcement liability exposure. In addition, Chief Livingston’s commitment to safety for all Hohenwald city workers is second to none. For more than a decade, the city has utilized body cameras while interacting with the public, and the use of body armor is mandatory. For Hohenwald’s officers, it is clear that safety is not just a policy, but a culture that each member takes very seriously. Chief Livingston instills safety values in each employee and helps put safety concepts into action. He dedicates himself to staying on top of laws and regulations, and passes that information to each employee.
“The impact Sam has had — and continues to have ― on risk management for our city is commendable and well deserving of gratitude,” says Kyle Hamm, Hohenwald’s city recorder. “It is not only how well he leads our police force in focusing on safety, but also his sense of dedication and commitment to going above and beyond. His impact goes far beyond what many can see or know. People like him, who put so much attention into professionalism and leadership, cause others to want to be better. For that, our great city is thankful.”
Angela Lyons (center), risk manager with the City of Elizabethton, accepts the Excellence in Risk Management Award presented to her by Judy Housley (left), loss control consultant with Public Entity Partners. Pictured at right is Jerome Kitchens, Elizabethton’s city manager.
Angie Lyons, Director of Human Resources and Risk Management, City of Elizabethton
According to Lyons’ nomination form, she administers the City of Elizabethton’s liability, property and workers’ compensation insurance programs, along with personnel and risk management programs. Through research and collaboration, she has been able to recommend position classifications and pay plans that are efficient and fair, which protects the city from damaging claims. She has provided guidance to all department heads and works with various legal representatives to limit the city’s exposure, while working to implement a balanced system at the same time.
"Angie’s approach to risk management is hard work, dedication, rolling up your sleeves, and getting the job done,” says Jerome Kitchens, Elizabethton’s city manager. “She is a resource to all departments and divisions of the city. She is the contact person for employee inquiries regarding insurance coverages, and serves on the accident review and personnel advisory boards. She also trains department heads and employees in safety programs. From working with employees in the field to ensure they are following proper safety procedures to supporting the staff that works with her, she leads her team by example.”
Matthew Fagiana, Lenoir City Utilities Board
Matthew Fagiana (right), safety and risk director for the Lenoir City Utility Board, accepts the Excellence in Risk Management Award presented to him by Judy Housley, loss control consultant with Public Entity Partners.
According to Fagiana’s nomination form, he has been effective in reducing LCUB’s loss ratio by 30 percent. He has implemented new risk management software to help keep claims on track and highlight the departments that have the highest number of claims. He works to incentivize safety training for employees and to make safety and risk LCUB’s number one priority. Fagiana is also a member of the Big 10 Roundtable, a group of safety directors who meet twice a year to collaborate on new ways of making safety and risk top priorities. His staff say they have never worked with a supervisor who cares about his co-workers the way he does.
“Matt has been instrumental in reducing the overall number of injuries here at LCUB,” says Daniel Mashburn, LCUB safety supervisor. “He has accomplished this by implementing a new risk management program, along with revising the LCUB Safety Manual and safety policies. Additionally, he has added two new members to the safety department, which has helped contribute to the overall success of these changes. Matt truly cares for the members of his staff, as well as all the employees at LCUB, and takes great pride in our safety and well-being. Personally, Matt has taught me a lot about safety and risk management, and I am thankful for the opportunity to work with him.”
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Unmanned Aerial Systems (Drones)
Thank you to everyone who participated in our recent survey about the municipal use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). We have collected the survey responses and compiled the data to better understand how PE Partner members plan on utilizing these innovative new tools.
Of the 99 respondents, nine said they currently have a UAS program in place. Another 24 respondents indicated they are currently developing a program.
The most common areas of current or planned UAS usage include:
- Law enforcement;
- Search and rescue operations;
- Filming of special events;
- Facility inspection; and
- Fire service.
UAS fall under the regulatory framework of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and on June 21, 2016, the FAA issued its final rule for the commercial operation of drones. More information can be found here.
Within that guidance, it is worth noting that the FAA stated that if “municipalities enacted ordinances regulating UAS in the navigable airspace and a significant number of municipalities followed suit, fractionalized control of the navigable airspace could result. In turn, this ‘patchwork quilt’ of differing restrictions could severely limit the flexibility of the FAA in controlling the airspace and flight patterns, and ensuring safety and an efficient air traffic flow. A navigable airspace free from inconsistent state and local restrictions is essential to the maintenance of a safe and sound air transportation system.”
To read the entire Fact Sheet concerning State and Local Regulation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems by the FAA, please click here.
Thank you to everyone who shared information in our survey, and congratulations to Linda Stilson, city recorder for the Town of New Tazewell, who participated and whose name was drawn as the winner of a $25 gift card!
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