57TH ANNUAL DELEGATE ASSEMBLY PASSES RESOLUTIONS
WPEA members participating in the 57th Annual Delegate Assembly, held in Cheyenne on September 20-21, 2019, passed the following resolutions:
STATE INSURANCE CONTRIBUTION TO HEALTH INSURANCE
WHEREAS, the cost of living expenses have and will continue to increase; and
WHEREAS, the state is required to put the contract for the administration of the insurance program out to bid; and
WHEREAS, the cost of health care will continue to increase with the cost of inflation; and
WHEREAS, the state should consider competitive bidding of the program administration with comparable benefits inside the plan to address the rising cost of insurance; now
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that WPEA lobby for a request for proposal (RFP) on the state health insurance contract to maintain or improve current benefits of covered employees; and
THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the WPEA lobby to continue the shared health insurance of 85% state and 15% employee premiums.
STATE EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PACKAGE
WHEREAS, state employees receive a benefits package that includes medical insurance, annual leave, sick leave, deferred compensation, retirement pension, retiree health insurance, among others; and
WHEREAS, these benefits are instrumental in recruitment and retention of the best and brightest employees; and
WHEREAS, these benefits allow employees and their families a work-life balance; and
WHEREAS these benefits are essential for producing a productive and dedicated workforce; and
WHEREAS, these benefits are typical at most companies with a similar sized workforce; and
WHEREAS, employee benefits are subject to interim study; now
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED the leadership and staff continue and enhance efforts to educate legislators on the necessity of the state’s employee benefit package and to combat misperceptions and increase awareness of the reality of those benefits; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that WPEA staff lobby the legislature so employees maintain or improve the current benefits package.
WHEREAS an adjustment to retiree health insurance was set for the State to supplement retirees up to age 65 with an additional $11.50 per month per year of service up to 30 years and those older than 65 an additional $5.75 per month per year of service up to 30 years to supplement their costs; and now
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that WPEA will continue to support legislation that supports and maintains the benefits for retiree health insurance contributions from the State.
UNIFORM APPLICATION OF SICK LEAVE DONATIONS
WHEREAS, the State of Wyoming’s Personnel Rules allow for employees to donate sick leave to employees in need; and
WHEREAS, when a sick leave request is submitted it should be reviewed within the agency; and
WHEREAS, the Personnel Rules allow for the request for donated sick leave to be presented to all agencies; now
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that WPEA staff work with the Compensation Commission and the Human Resources Division of the Department of Administration and Information to ensure uniform distribution of sick leave requests.
WHEREAS, employees can be transferred from one official duty station to another within the state of Wyoming; and
WHEREAS, when the move is made at the request of an agency head and or an elected official, and for the benefit of the state of Wyoming; now
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that WPEA lobby for the State of Wyoming to pay the actual expenses of transporting the household goods and effects of the employee when the transfer results from the agency recruiting the employee to serve in a new official duty station as part of the employee’s employment.
FMLA AND ANNUAL LEAVE REQUIREMENTS
WHEREAS, the Wyoming Personnel Rules, Chapter 6, Section 14 does not address the use of all accrued paid leave in relationship to the FMLA; and
WHEREAS, some employees have chronic medical conditions that have been approved for FMLA; and
WHEREAS, these employees are being subjected to coworkers with contagious conditions that affect their chronic medical conditions; and
WHEREAS, some employees approved for FMLA are being forced to use all accrued paid leave for FMLA leaving them with no accrued time for vacation leave; and
WHEREAS, the Personnel Rules, Chapter 6, Section 14 does not address using unpaid leave for FMLA; now
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that WPEA seek to change Chapter 6, Section 14 to include the option of using unpaid leave for FMLA thus allowing paid leave to reserve for vacation time.
PEACE OFFICER STANDARDS AND TRAINING (POST)
PAY SCALE FOR CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS
WHEREAS, the State of Wyoming removed Corrections Officers from the POST pay scale in May of 2011; and
WHEREAS, the Department of Corrections faces an ongoing and increasingly severe staffing crisis at the Wyoming State Penitentiary; and
WHEREAS, this staffing crisis has seriously harmed the quality of life for our members and other Correctional Officers at the Wyoming State Penitentiary and may pose a risk to the safety of state employees, inmates and the public; and
WHEREAS, the Department of Corrections considers the renewal of POST pay scales for Corrections Officers as one of the most significant opportunities to correct the staffing issues at the Wyoming State Penitentiary and other locations; now
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the WPEA support passage of a budget for the Department of Corrections sufficient to allow the reinstatement of POST salary scales for Correctional Officers; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the staff and leadership of WPEA lobby the Governor and Wyoming Legislature for passage of this budget and the removal of footnote conditions or other constraints on the reinstatement of POST salary scales for Correctional Officers.
SUPPORT OF WYOMING CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM SAFETY
WHEREAS, the state of Wyoming continues to confine as many as 1200 prisoners; and
WHEREAS, correctional facilities are in states of serious disrepair; and
WHEREAS, correctional facility staffing is in jeopardy due to significant turnover, low compensation, and poor working conditions; and
WHEREAS, private prisons are costly to the state, detrimental to State of Wyoming staffing, and counterproductive to the success of inmates in eventually becoming productive members of society; now
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the staff and leadership of WPEA survey and interview employees working for the State of Wyoming Department of Corrections to better understand and document their needs, challenges, and ideas related to workplace safety; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the staff and leadership of WPEA educate and inform elected officials at all levels of Wyoming government about safety concerns in Wyoming's correctional sector; and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that WPEA lobby for better and safer conditions for staff working in corrections and correctional facilities.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS STAFFING CRISIS
WHEREAS, the Department of Health (DOH) Facilities and Department of Corrections (DOC) is a 24 hour, essential care facility, mandatory overtime worked by nonexempt staff has been the biggest generator of staff turnover; and
WHEREAS, staff turnover continues to be the biggest issue facing facilities in these times with a lack of solutions that perpetuate the cycle of staff being overworked, burnt out, and resigning, ultimately worsening the cycle; and
WHEREAS, client/patient (inmate) outcomes suffer when staff are facing burnout; and
WHEREAS, the Department of Health identifies its highly qualified staff as its greatest asset; however, many of these staff work on an “Exempt” status and are not eligible for overtime compensation; and
WHEREAS, many of these staff have indicated a desire to assist in meeting minimum staffing standards, they are discouraged by the perceived forfeiture of 10 hours worked/month before receiving compensation; and
WHEREAS, said current compensation is in the form of “comp” time, it disadvantages the employee and the facility to grant excessive time off in a time of staffing shortage; and
Whereas, staffing has been commonly identified as the biggest deficiency at DOH and DOC; now
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that WPEA:
1) support legislation to define an emergency standard of staffing for each essentially staffed facility within the DOH and DOC; and
2) for safety and support of the staff being overworked, burnt out and resigning, exempt employees should be required to support the non-exempt staff in equal hours over 40 hours per week; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, WPEA will work with the Director and Deputy Director of the Department of Health and Department of Corrections to reach an equitable agreement.
TERMS OF DELEGATES TO ANNUAL ASSEMBLY
WHEREAS, delegates are not always able to fulfill their elected or appointed two year term;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that elected or appointed delegates serve a one-year term; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the WPEA By-Laws are revised to include this change in term for Delegates.
APPOINTMENT OF PAC DELEGATES
WHEREAS, some Districts/Counties do not have a PAC chair or a district endorsement meeting to select PAC delegates; and
WHEREAS, WPEA State Board of Directors can appoint delegates to the Annual Delegate Assembly; now
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the State Board of Directors may appoint PAC delegates to the PAC endorsement meeting as long as they are a PAC member in good standing for at least ninety (90) days prior to the PAC endorsement meeting.
APPOINTMENT OF RETIRED MEMBERS AS DELEGATES
WHEREAS, the retired membership has grown to be the third largest district within WPEA; and
WHEREAS, every Annual Delegate Assembly has numerous retired members in attendance; now
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that in the event a district has no delegate or active member in attendance, a retired WPEA member living in that district, can be appointed as a voting delegate.
WPEA/PAC BY-LAWS AMENDMENTS APPROVED BY BOARD
WHEREAS, the PAC statewide meeting is held in even numbered years where changes can be made to WPEA/PAC By-Laws; and
WHEREAS Annual Delegate Assembly resolution meetings are held in odd numbered years where planning takes place for the association for the following two years; and
WHEREAS some recommended changes are important to make at the annual meeting before the next election year; now
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that amendments to the WPEA/PAC By-Laws can be presented to the Annual Delegate Assembly in the odd numbered years and if passed the State Board of Directors can approve PAC By-Law changes by majority vote during their meeting to prioritize the resolutions passed.
PAC CANDIDATE INTERVIEWS VIA TELEPHONE
WHEREAS, some candidates are not available within the time frame to do in-person interviews with three (3) interviewers from the local area; and
WHEREAS, a candidate may need to schedule an interview from another part of the state or even from another state; and
WHEREAS, the only way to meet the candidate interview deadline is to have a telephone interview as a last resort; now
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the PAC District/County Chair or State Board Director from that district, with the approval from the State PAC Chair or WPEA President, can approve a phone interview with a candidate as a last resort to accommodate the candidate’s schedule or for good cause.
WHEREAS the legislature and administration of the State of Wyoming have found it appropriate to reward employees who have provided continuous service to Wyoming state government; and
WHEREAS this form of monetary compensation has served as an incentive for employees to remain in the service of the State of Wyoming; and
WHEREAS longevity is the only consistent benefit set at $40 per month for each five years of service which supplements pay and recognizes loyal, experienced employees; and
WHEREAS it is deemed desirable to continue to recognize those employees for their continuous service in addition to the regular salaries paid to those employees; now
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that all WPEA District members do hereby support and encourage the WPEA staff to engage in efforts including lobbying and education that will protect and maintain the longevity pay currently allocated to State Employees; and that longevity pay continue to be included in the Wyoming Standard Budget.