In This Issue

Grant and Scholarship Update

Excellence in Risk Management
Award Winners

Technology in City Government

Tennessee Trivia

Q. In what city does the annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration take place? Nearly a quarter of a million tickets are sold to fans from more than 40 states for this 11-day event, held at the end of summer.

Click here for the answer

Message from the President


We would like to thank all who were able to attend Public Entity Partners’s second annual Risk & Insurance Symposium. We had great attendance, with many member departments having representation. Those in attendance included attorneys, administrative assistants, city administrators / managers, city recorders, directors / executive directors, elected officials, insurance agents, risk and safety managers, and treasurers, along with employees from finance, fire, human resources, law enforcement, personnel, public works and purchasing departments.

We would also like to thank our speakers, who took time to prepare and present at the symposium. Topics covered included municipal use of prisoners, pre-disaster planning, social media and open records, improving team effectiveness, media training, law enforcement and risk, the Tennessee Governmental Liability Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, public sector data breaches, municipal case law updates, property conservation and coverage, TN HealthWorks, and a Tennessee workers’ compensation update.

Six Excellence in Risk Management Awards were presented at the awards banquet to recognize the good works of members. Please read more about the award winners in this newsletter.

The interaction and response from those who attended the symposium is a testament to the dedication and hard work local government employees invest in their entities. In addition to the structured learning opportunities, there were numerous occasions for networking.

From all of us at Public Entity Partners, thank you to those who attended this year’s symposium. For those who were not able to participate, we look forward to seeing you at next year’s event!

Best Regards,
Dawn R. Crawford


Grant and Scholarship Update

Applications for the James L. Richardson Driver Safety Grant are now being accepted through Sept. 27, 2017. PE Partner members with automobile liability coverage through Public Entity Partners are eligible to apply.

This matching grant program was created to assist eligible PE Partner members with the purchase of general driver safety and training items. Examples of eligible items include instructor-led training, DVD training, backup cameras and alarms, GPS tracking systems, alert systems for administrators (such as black box technology), and tools and equipment used in providing on-site driver safety training.

This program is designed to address general driver safety only; Emergency Vehicle Operations (EVO) training is not included. To complete your application and learn more about this grant, please visit our website.

Applications for the “Excellence in Risk Management” TnPRIMA Conference Scholarship will be accepted until Sept. 27, 2017. Preference is given to individuals with direct responsibility for risk management and safety, and to members who have not previoustly attended TnPRIMA. Visit our website to learn more and complete the application.

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Excellence in Risk Management Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2nd Annual Excellence in Risk Management Award winners, who were recognized at the 2017 Risk & Insurance Symposium! This award honors PE Partner members who exemplify excellence, innovation and creativity, along with commitment to providing quality safety and risk management programs within their entities.

We are proud to recognize various types and sizes of entities that have made use of the resources available to them to creatively implement safety programs. Two award winners have been chosen from each of Tennessee’s three grand divisions.

The award winners include:

Pictured above (left to right) are Judy Housley, loss control consultant for Public Entity Partners, Joy Baker, director of risk management for the City of Johnson City (Excellence in Risk Management Award recipient), and Pete Peterson, city manager for the City of Johnson City.

Wayne Anderson (left), member services representative for Public Entity Partners, presents the Excellence in Risk Management Award to the City of Morristown’s administrative department members: Larry Clark, assistant city administrator, Deana Williamson, human resources coordinator, and Kathy Frank, administration coordinator.  
Callie Westerfield (left), member services representative for Public Entity Partners, presents the Excellence in Risk Management Award to Jennifer Rigsby, human resource administrator for the City of McMinnville.  
Chester Darden (third from left), loss control consultant for Public Entity Partners, presents the Excellence in Risk Management Award to Paul Rosson, executive director of the South Central Human Resource Agency. Also pictured are (left to right) Stephanie Richey, operations coordinator, Lisa Salvador, purchasing officer, Ron Teeples, facilities, Gale Goggin, benefit specialist, and Scarlet Patterson, director of human resources.
Paul Chambliss (left), loss control consultant for Public Entity Partners, presents the Excellence in Risk Management Award to Kim Foster, city manager for the City of Paris.  
Celeste Taylor (left), member services representative for Public Entity Partners, presents the Excellence in Risk Management Award to Melinda Goode, director of human resources and special projects for the Northwest Tennessee Human Resources Agency and the Northwest Tennessee Development District.  


Joy Baker, Director of Risk Management
City of Johnson City

In her 35-year tenure with the City of Johnson City, Joy Baker has worked tirelessly to help others and protect the interests of the city. Her duties include oversight of property conservation and insurance, workers’ compensation, health insurance, employee wellness, training, worksite inspections, bidding and placing coverages, TOSHA compliance, claim management, and addressing claim and safety issues.

Joy has developed an insurance checklist that is used in purchasing processes, agreements and contracts to ensure risk minimization, provides training on a daily basis, and provides regular job site inspections for compliance and to improve current practices. She led the effort to develop an employee wellness program in the early '90s that has grown to include annual health assessment and coaching, along with an employee clinic. Her ongoing efforts to enhance employee safety and wellness have resulted in millions of dollars of savings to the city.

“Joy is seen by many in the field as an ‘expert,’ and is frequently consulted by governmental and private insurers for advice,” says Pete Peterson, city manager for the City of Johnson City. “Joy’s approach to risk management is the ‘gold standard.’ She exemplifies that risk management is simply good management, and she is the model for others to follow. We are extremely fortunate to have Joy as an employee, friend and counselor to our employees and organization.”

Administrative Department
City of Morristown

The City of Morristown’s administrative department administers the city’s property and casualty program. Together, Larry Clark, Reece Conway, Kathy Frank and Deana Williamson have dramatically decreased the city’s workers’ compensation frequency rate and total workers’ compensation costs, and have incorporated policies that protect the city from liability exposures.

Ten years ago, Morristown’s average employee injury frequency rate was 16.75 injuries per 100 employees, which has now been reduced to 5.95 injuries per 100 employees. In addition, an accident investigation is now completed for every injury, the city’s safety committee is active in efforts to reduce the city’s loss exposure, and motor vehicle record checks are now conducted for all employees for whom driving is an essential job task. The City of Morristown has also adopted the Tennessee Drug Free Workplace drug-testing program.

“Implementation of appropriate policies and consistent follow through by the risk management team has resulted in a much-improved environment in the City of Morristown,” says Tony Cox, city administrator.


Jennifer Rigsby, Human Resource Administrator
City of McMinnville

Jennifer Rigsby has been the key to unlocking safety within the City of McMinnville. She has developed and implemented many risk management policies and changes, helping to create a safer environment and workplace. She has played a role in everything from sidewalk installations to trip-and-fall hazard reductions and monthly departmental risk inspections.

Jennifer has worked to provide training for city employees in preparation for TOSHA inspections, and has generally reduced the city’s loss exposure. She has spearheaded policy changes to correct recurring safety issues, and has helped to make McMinnville’s safety committee active within the city’s risk management program. She has also developed wellness programs for city employees.

“Jennifer has worked hard to make sure that we incorporate risk management and safety into every department,” says Bill Brock, city administrator. “We are proud of the positive strides we have made to our risk management program. We hope that, with each change we make, we are keeping our employees safer and providing the best possible services to our citizens.”

Paul Rosson, Executive Director
South Central Human Resource Agency

Paul Rosson has worked hard to improve the culture of the South Central Human Resource Agency through leadership and vision. He has ensured that unsafe vehicles are removed from the fleet and replaced with newer models. He has improved the work environment for his employees by updating kitchen equipment and flooring, removing old carpeting, installing AEDs, and cleaning out cluttered storage and work areas. Security cameras have been installed throughout the central office facility.

The agency now offers limited or light duty to injured employees, and they provide a panel of physicians for each of the 13 counties that are served by South Central Human Resource Agency employees. In the central office, a workout facility is now available, and the organization provides healthy lunches to office staff. The agency has also taken advantage of training offered by Public Entity Partners.

“Paul has implemented programs and policies aimed at improving the overall work environment for South Central Human Resource Agency employees,” says Chester Darden, loss control consultant for Public Entity Partners. “His efforts address the safety, health and wellness needs of employees, which are reducing claims and creating a more positive working environment.”


Kim Foster, City Manager
City of Paris

In her role as city manager, Kim Foster has worked hard to create a culture of risk management for the City of Paris, and utilize every available avenue to take control of the city’s claims and ensure employee safety. She was nominated for the Excellence in Risk Management Award for her “determination to personally own the culture change that was necessary” for the city.

Immediately upon being named city manager, Kim brought the city’s department heads together with Public Entity Partners’s loss control department to discuss and develop ways of reducing the severity and frequency of the city’s losses. As a result, the city has made tremendous headway and is no longer adverse in any line of coverage. Kim also sponsored an employee health initiative that pays for biometric screenings and provides gifts for wellness challenges.

“Kim utilized all resources offered by Public Entity Partners to take charge of those losses, including risk management training for all department heads, as well as training for the mayor and city council,” says Paul Chambliss, Public Entity Partners’s casualty loss control consultant for West Tennessee. “In addition to bringing in the loss control department to provide onsite training, Kim has also taken advantage of PoolShare to focus training efforts.”

Melinda Goode, Director of Human Resources and Special Projects
Northwest Tennessee Human Resources Agency
Northwest Tennessee Development District

Human resource authorities and development districts provide a wide array of services to the citizens they serve across a multi-county area. They also present a unique and challenging set of risk exposures. Melinda Goode, director of human resources and special projects for the Northwest Tennessee Human Resources Agency and the Northwest Tennessee Development District, was nominated for the Excellence in Risk Management Award because of her efforts to improve workers’ compensation and liability claims for both agencies.

Melinda utilizes online training offered through Public Entity Partners’s Local Government Risk Academy. She has adopted policies that require employees to take a pre-selected online course quarterly, along with taking courses following any accidents. She has asked Public Entity Partners’s member services department to meet with her safety committee on more than one occasion, and also uses PoolShare data to keep departments aware of claims information and the impact claims can have on premiums.

“Managing the risks of an agency that has several locations with various employees operating daily can be daunting,” says Celeste Taylor, member services representative for Public Entity Partners. “Melinda recognizes the need for risk management and is constantly trying to mitigate losses. As a result, both of these agencies have embraced their challenges and are working to reduce their losses by ensuring they have sound policies and procedures in place.”

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Technology in City Government

Kingsport app allows residents to report needed city repairs

Thomas Gray
Posted: Aug 02, 2017 04:47 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 02, 2017 05:14 PM EDT

VIDEO: Kingsport app allows residents...

KINGSPORT, Tenn. — Kingsport residents are using a phone app to report non-emergency problems to the city. The YourGov app lets them report issues they see that the city needs to improve or fix.

The app uses GPS to place a location for each complaint.

"There is a place for people to add notes,” Kingsport Wastewater Technical Services Coordinator Kristen Steach, who works with the app regularly, said. “So when you use the app, you need to locate yourself to where the problem is, and that's how we know where the issue is at. They have the ability to take pictures within the app, and that's useful because we see directly what the individual was talking about."

The photos help city workers find the issue. The app also has lots of categories for problems, from littering to sewage problems and broken stop lights.

"You can use it 24/7, so if you see something in the middle of the night or over the weekend, you don't have to remember to call in on Monday morning," Steach said.

In most cases, a crew will evaluate the problem within about 48 hours. YourGov also lets each user see other complaints. That way, there's less duplication for the city to deal with.

Some repairs will take longer because they're complicated or maybe not serious enough for immediate attention.

For Bruce Hobbes and his wife though, the repair was fast. They were tired of the pothole in front of their house.

"Well, whenever someone would pass you could hear it,” Hobbes said. “It's good business for the front end alignment folks.”

But on the last day of Fun Fest, Hobbes bumped into City Manager Jeff Fleming and he helped him out.

"Then he proceeded to show me about the app that the city has, and he went over and demonstrated, made a picture of the pothole, and submitted it," Hobbes said.

By the next week, the pothole was filled in.

"They have a lot to do, and we appreciate all that they do,” he said. “There's probably always going to be a pothole. We just need to be vigilant and report it to the city."

The city has been promoting the app since last October, and while they do get hundreds of requests through the app, the vast majority still come from phone calls.

The app is available on iPhone, android, and on the Kingsport city website.

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Tennessee Trivia

Q: In what city does the annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration take place? Nearly a quarter of a million tickets are sold to fans from more than 40 states for this 11-day event, held at the end of summer.

A. Shelbyville