In This Issue


2020 Risk & Insurance Symposium — Transitioning to Webinar Series

Safety and HR Program Tools Available Through HR Hero and EHS Hero Resources

George Dalton Promoted to Director of Loss Control

Excellence in Risk Management Awards Now Being Accepted

Freedom to Protest: Guidance for Managing Demonstrations in Tennessee’s Cities and Towns

COVID-19 Risk Update

Grant & Scholarship Update

Annual Audit Request for Information

Electronic Invoices

Message from the President — July 2020

As we close out the month of July, Public Entity Partners continues to work toward supporting our members as they serve the citizens of our great state.

Over the past several months, our organization has been evaluating the programs and services we offer to members and actively seeking ways to enhance them. We are partnering with the Tennessee Municipal League to bring the Partnering for Success webinars to members. The article below shares the initial launch of Partnering for Success webinars, and we hope you will join us for these informative sessions. Every person who registered for the Symposium has been contacted to let them know about the cancellation of the event.

Despite this transition, we will still be recognizing members for Excellence in Risk Management. We have traditionally presented these awards during our symposium, but this year we will feature an award winner each month in our e-newsletter, beginning in August. If you have not yet submitted a nomination for the Excellence in Risk Management Award, please read the article below to learn how you can help us recognize local governments and employees for their efforts toward improving safety within their entities.

Training and education are often among the first cuts to be made when budgets shrink. PE Partners offers extensive resources to help members ensure their employees can work safely, efficiently and effectively. Last month, we shared the launch of HR Hero and EHS Hero services to our membership. These tools are designed to give you access to sample policies, templates, toolbox talks and training materials so that employees can continue to focus on safety, despite the limitations COVID-19 has placed on your budgets. In addition, all PE Partners members have access to our Local Gov Risk Academy, which provides online safety-related training for your employees.

The Virtual Academy Training Supplement is a resource that is available to members with Law Enforcement coverage. PE Partners is committed to professionalism in law enforcement. Virtual Academy provides online training for personnel, along with opportunities that reinforce professionalism and excellence in policy, training, supervision and discipline.

We hope you are able to take advantage of these extensive training and education resources, which can help keep your employees safe, safeguard public resources and help you provide top-notch service to your citizens.

Stay Safe!

Charles DeMore signature

Charles DeMore




 

2020 Risk & Insurance Symposium — Transition to Webinar Series

TML Logo Public Entity Partners Logo

Our team has worked hard to implement stringent social distancing measures for our 2020 Risk & Insurance Symposium, but unfortunately, the rising number of active COVID-19 cases across the state of Tennessee have forced us to cancel this year’s event. In lieu of the Symposium, we will be launching a webinar series in conjunction with the Tennessee Municipal League (TML).

The two organizations are taking this opportunity to work together and provide educational content to members through the Partnering for Success webinar series. The webinars will begin in August and last through the end of September. Additional sessions may be added.

The webinars will be live and will include an opportunity for questions at the end of the presentations. Participants must register in advance, which may be done by clicking on the link provided below for each webinar.

The sessions have been approved by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office for utility commissioner credit. Individuals who attend a session and respond to the polling questions during the session will be eligible to receive this credit.


August 19, 2020 at 1:00pm – 2:30pm

Mauricio Velasquez

Diversity Today: Being More Inclusive Tomorrow, A Template for Looking at Risk

Current events demand risk managers to be more in tune with diversity and inclusion issues within their organization. Risk managers need to be able to anticipate and address emerging issues before risk levels reach dire proportions.

Have you taken time to evaluate how your organization looks at diversity and inclusion issues?

How does your entity anticipate these issues?

Is your organization responding by reacting to issues or are you proactively addressing diversity and inclusion?

During this engaging webinar, a template for addressing these issues will be presented and discussed. This session will also cover unconscious biases and uncovering your blind spots. Mauricio Velasquez is a nationally recognized speaker and author serving as a diversity and inclusion strategist, consultant, and trainer. He speaks frequently on topics like respectful workplaces, employee engagement / trust, unconscious bias, and diversity and inclusion. Mauricio believes that if you respect all differences in your workplace, your people feel valued and respected, leading to higher engagement and performance.





September 2, 2020 at 1:00pm-2pm

Abbie Hudgins, Administrator, Tennessee Bureau of Workers’ Compensation
Bureau of Workers Compensation Update

This session will give an update from the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation including the impacts of telehealth on workers’ compensation. During the COVID-19 pandemic rules regarding telehealth visits have been temporarily suspended. The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has an established Telehealth Working Group to further evaluate the impacts this new technology could have on improving injured employee’s access to care and speed of medical care for certain work-related injuries.

Abbie Hudgins is the Administrator of the State of Tennessee’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. The Bureau includes the state of Worekrs’ Compensation Claims, Appeals Board, Mediation Program, Ombudsman Program, Uninsured Employer’s Fund, the Drug Free Workplace Program, and several other worker injury related programs.

Prior to leading the Bureau, Abbie served as risk manager for the Nashville and Davidson County Metropolitan Government and a risk and benefits manager for the City of Knoxville.





September 16, 2020 at 1:00pm - 2:00pm

George Dalton, Public Entity Partners
Leadership and Police Civil Liability: Leading Through Challenging Times

Law enforcement leadership and command staff throughout the country are aware that a small percentage of officers are responsible for a disproportionate number of complaints or accidents. Sadly, this can negatively reflect on the department and the law enforcement profession. In light of the recent headlines on national protests, questions about biased policing, calls for increased police accountability, the goal of this training is to increase the awareness and understanding of critical risk management trends in law enforcement, and the latest police liability developments. Law enforcement is experiencing challenging time, and leadership is essential in helping the department maximize efficiency and to achieve organizational goals during these trying times. A description of the basic civil liability judicial environment will be presented, and the critical importance of reasonable, defensible decision-making will be discussed; with emphasis on the roles and responsibilities of police leadership and mid-level supervisors in identifying issues early and responding strategically. In addition to the legal implications, the impact of engaging your community, positive contacts with the public and superior interpersonal skills will be addressed. Items that will be discussed include:

  • Implicit Bias
  • Community Engagement
  • Police EPLI Issues
  • Early Intervention Warning Systems
  • Law Enforcement Distrated Driving





September 30, 2020 at 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Kristin Berexa, Farrar& Bates

First Amendment Rights and Employment Actions

Understanding where an employee’s first amendment right to free speech and the employer’s right to discipline an employee intersect is a critical component to ensuring you are in compliance with federal law. Unfortunately, this is a growing area of litigation for local governments as the line between public speech and what an employer can prohibit becomes blurred through social media and other outlets.

Join us for an informative webinar led by Kristin Berexa, attorney for Farrar & Bates. Kristin began her career in 1991 after graduating from the University of Tennessee College of Law. She has experience representing cities and city employees in all alreas of municipal litigation in both federal and state court. She is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. District Courts of Tennessee (Eastern, Middle and Western) and Tennessee State Courts. Ms. Berexa has been a speaker at multiple seminars covering topics related to municipal litigation, such as police liability, employment discrimination, the Tennessee Open Records Act and the Governmental Tort Liability Act.

For questions or additional information about the webinar series, please contact Halie Gallik at 615.371.0049 or HGallik@PEpartners.org.

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Safety and HR Program Tools Available Through HR Hero and EHS Hero Resources

Last month, Public Entity Partners introduced HR Hero and EHS Hero services to our membership. We understand that COVID-19 has stretched your resources. These tools are designed to provide your entity with sample policies, templates, toolbox talks and training materials so that your employees can continue to focus on safety through your safety committee or human resources program.

As budgets shrink, training and education is often one of the first cuts to be made. PE Partners has extensive resources available to members to ensure that your employees can work safely, efficiently and effectively.

HR Hero provides members access to:

  • Employee Handbook Builder
  • State Law Chart Builder
  • Job Classification & FLSA Audit
  • Job Description Manager
  • Employer’s Guide to COVID-19
  • HR Hotline

EHS Hero gives members access to:

  • Safety Plan Builder — Members can create a custom plan to address exposure areas
  • Chart Builder — Compare and contrast federal and state EHS regulatory information
  • SDS Search — Search through MSDSonline’s database to find the most up-to-date, manufacturer-original SDSs
  • Training — Access instructor-led training materials, including customizable PowerPoints, audio presentations, 7-minute safety training, toolbox talks and safety meetings
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) safety-related materials

HR Hero and EHS Hero are produced by BLR, a division of Simplify Compliance LLC. If you are looking for templates and sample policies to start evaluating your safety program or improve your human resources practices, EHS Hero and HR Hero provide a good place to start.

For questions about HR Hero or EHS Hero resources or to sign up, please contact:

Celeste Taylor
Employment Practices Liability Consultant
CTaylor@PEpartners.org
731.514.5994

Or
Paige Confer
Administrative Assistant
PConfer@PEpartners.org
800.624.9698

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George Dalton Promoted to Director of Loss Control

George Dalton has been named director of loss control for Public Entity Partners after serving as assistant director of loss control since 2006. In his previous role, George managed the PE Partners Training Program, which provides extensive in-person training; spearheaded the development and launch of the Local Gov Risk Academy online training platform provided to all employees of PE Partners’ members; and developed the department’s cyber risk management checklist and training.

George has devoted extensive time to refining the risk control surveys conducted by the property conservation and casualty loss control consultant teams. These surveys help ensure that PE Partners is providing best practice recommendations to every member.

“Service to our members is a value that has consistently been instilled in me during my time at Public Entity Partners,” George says. “In the loss control department, we get the privilege of meeting directly with members to help them address operational challenges that could lead to employees being injured, or to liability or property losses. The success of the Loss Control Department is largely due to the efforts of Judy Housley, Paul Chambliss, Chester Darden, Bill Magoon, Andy Lacewell, Bob Lynch, and Tahtia Mitchell. On a daily basis, this group of risk management professionals are meeting and responding to the various needs of nearly 500 local governments and governmental agencies who compose our membership.”

“I started my career working in city government, and we had our coverage with Public Entity Partners. I remember the services that I received from Public Entity Partners, and how they helped me better manage the city’s risks at that time. This experience has helped me to realize that the work we do in the loss control department is not only aimed at helping members and reduce losses by managing their risk exposures, but at the end of the day, it is about ensuring the hardworking local government employees get to go home to their families, free from injury, and that the services they provide to the taxpayers of Tennessee are provided efficiently and effectively. Last, I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize the great departmental leadership provided by Michael G. Fann; without a doubt, I have some big shoes to fill!”

George is a native of Nashville and a graduate of Tennessee State University, and received his master’s degree in city management from East Tennessee State University. He completed his associate in risk management designation in 2001 and the risk management for public entities certificate in 2003.

George is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Southeast Loss Control Group. He previously served as the assistant to the city manager and human resources director for the City of Alcoa.

Please help us in congratulating George on his new role.

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Excellence in Risk Management Awards Now Being Accepted

The Excellence in Risk Management Awards recognize Public Entity Partners members who are committed to safety and risk management. Typically, award winners are announced at the annual Risk & Insurance Symposium. Due to changes in the program because of COVID-19 safety concerns, the awards will be presented virtually and the deadline to submit nominations has been extended to Aug. 10. 

For the 2020 year, only three awards will be presented, with one award winner being recognized per grand division in Tennessee. Starting with our August e-newsletter, we will feature one award winner and the contributions that have been made to that winner’s entity.

This award program allows PE Partners to highlight the innovation and commitment our members demonstrate in risk management. Governmental entities across Tennessee work hard every day serving their citizens. Safeguarding employees and public assets through the practice of risk management is an integral part of that service delivery. Please help us recognize the valuable and innovative work being done by our members by submitting a nomination.

Purpose

To recognize an individual, department or organization that exemplifies excellence and innovation in ― and commitment to — the risk and insurance field.

Eligibility Criteria

Nominees must be current PE Partners members, employees of a current PE Partners member or a local agent of record, and must work to further risk management within their entities. Applications will be reviewed for quality and overall impact to risk management. Nominees can be considered for either a specific program or contributions to risk management over time.

Past award winners include police and fire chiefs, city managers, general services departments, human resources directors and departments, and risk managers from cities, towns, human resource authorities and over governmental entities. Risk management is often incorporated into many different areas of an organization, so don’t think that only risk managers are eligible for recognition.

Nominations

Candidates may self-nominate or be nominated by someone familiar with their contributions. Nominations may be submitted by completing the Excellence in Risk Management Award Nomination Form and emailing it, along with required documents, to Symposium@PEpartners.org. The deadline for submission is Monday, Aug. 10. Click here for the nomination form.

A completed nomination form and a letter of recommendation is required to be submitted in order for the application to be considered. Please include copies of any relevant documents pertaining to the nomination, including a copy of policies/procedures created or a copy of an inspection procedure.

If you have questions about the award, or if you or a member need assistance in submitting a nomination, please reach out to Halie Gallik at 800.624.9698 or HGallik@PEpartners.org.

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Freedom to Protest: Guidance for Managing Demonstrations
in Tennessee’s Cities and Towns

Looking for a short tutorial about managing protests and demonstrations in Tennessee? Rex Barton, law enforcement consultant with the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS), has created a very informative seven-minute overview of some of the constitutional concerns local governments need to be aware of.

The freedom to peaceably assemble is a constitutionally protected right. As your entity navigates public demonstrations or protests, please consult your local attorney to confirm you are properly protecting the rights of citizens while working to ensure public safety.

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COVID-19 Risk Update

The COVID-19 pandemic is widespread and exposures can happen virtually anywhere. A positive COVID exposure may come from the essential tasks of work or it may come from another source. What is clear is there must be a plan in place for protecting employees from the virus, and the plan must address dealing with employees who have been exposed.

Government employees are generally considered essential and many of them interact with the public. Every one-on-one contact creates the potential for transmission of the virus, and this exposure is multiplied when our employees are working in large groups. A number of our cities are experiencing social protests that draw crowds of people, and our police officers are present to maintain the peace. Unfortunately, each protest increases the likelihood of virus transmission.

Georgia Tech recently developed a calculator that allows people to determine the likelihood of exposure based on an event’s location and size. For example, according to the calculator, someone attending a 100-person gathering in Bradley County has a 99% chance of being exposed to the virus. The same-sized event in Hawkins County carries a 52% chance of exposure. A police officer working either of these events without proper protection has a very strong potential to contract the virus.

To address this, Public Entity Partners strongly encourages our members to follow CDC protocols for protecting employees, and to ensure these protocols are written policies and are followed by all employees. This helps to ensure everyone’s safety, both at work and when they return home to their families.

These protocols include:

  • Employees should receive temperature checks before starting their workday or shift
  • Employees should wear a mask at all times when social distancing is not possible
  • Employees should wear a mask in every interaction with the public
  • Employers should outline healthy hygiene practices for employees to implement and ensure that shared equipment is regularly disinfected

It is strongly recommended that a "Record of exposure” form is maintained. Employees who believe they have been exposed should be asked to document the exposure and list others who also may have been exposed. This record should be treated as a confidential medical record and safeguarded in the same manner.

The best practice for an exposed individual is to shelter at home for 14 days to determine if he or she has contracted the virus. Because that may not be possible for all essential employees, the CDC has outlined protocols for allowing an asymptomatic exposed employee to continue working; however, the employee must be sent home if any symptoms develop. The CDC recommends that any exposed employee who stays on the job is required to wear a mask at all times, socially distance from others, and have temperature checks prior to beginning the workday and again at mid-day. This will lessen the potential of exposing others. In addition, it could reduce lost time for critical workers who are needed to maintain our normal governmental functions.

Requiring our employees to wear protective gear is not just a “best practice,” it is our legal responsibility. OSHA’s general duty clause is the legal standard for evaluating and addressing the potential hazards in a job. It requires the employer to evaluate each job, identify potential hazards and eliminate them if possible. If it is not possible to eliminate all potential hazards, the employer is to mitigate the exposure through the use of personal protective devices.

The potential for employees to contract COVID-19, whether on the job or off, is clearly known. One of the best protections from transmission while on the job and working with the public is by wearing a mask. Public Entity Partners recommends that masks be issued and worn during every public encounter, along with following other standard safety protocols.

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Safety Partners Grant

Public Entity Partners’ grant and scholarship programs provide financial assistance to members, enabling them to purchase safety and loss prevention items, and to seek training opportunities for increasing their knowledge of risk management and loss control techniques.

The Safety Partners Matching Grant Program is designed to assist members in funding employee safety efforts aimed at reducing workers' compensation claims.

Application Deadline: Aug. 7, 2020

To view all eligibility criteria or complete the online application, click here.

  checklist icon  

Grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis by the time and date applications are received, so don't be left out ... apply today!

 

For questions, please contact:

Grant & Scholarship Program
Tahtia Mitchell
615.371.0049
TMitchell@PEPartners.org

 

 

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Annual Audit Request for Information

It’s hard to believe that we’re already more than halfway through the calendar year, and our members have wrapped up another fiscal year and are preparing for their annual audits.

If information related to your entity’s liability, property or workers’ compensation coverage is needed for your audit, please have your auditor direct requests to:

Finance Department
Attn. Carole Gross
562 Franklin Rd. Suite 200
Franklin, TN 37069

Carole may also be reached at CGross@PEPartners.org.

Requests should be made on the audit firm’s letterhead. All correspondence will be sent directly back to the requesting audit firm.

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Electronic Invoices

PE Partners’ finance department is now offering an electronic invoice option to our members for each line of coverage. A copy of the electronic invoice request form will be included with each this month’s paper invoices or can be found here.

Please save the PDF with your information prior to submitting it.

All emailed invoices are in PDF format and are sent from our accounts receivable email address. This is a no reply address and is not monitored, so please be sure to direct any questions to:

Carole Gross
CGross@PEPartners.org
615.371.6020

PE Partners is required by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office to send all invoices directly to members. Agents of Record cannot be added to the invoice distribution list for any member.

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