Monday - April 24

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8:30 am – 9:00 am:

President’s Welcome and ATC Chair Welcome

Michele Green, National PELRA President and Employee/Labor Relations Manager | Sarasota County Government, Sarasota, FL

Description and Materials

9:00 am – 10:15 am:

Plenary 1 – Winning with Integrity

Ross Bernstein, Author/Owner | Ross Bernstein Speaking, Apple Valley, MN

Description and Materials

The best-selling author of nearly 50 sports books, Ross Bernstein is an award-winning peak performance business speaker who’s keynoted conferences on four continents and has been featured on CNN, ESPN, Fox News, and “CBS This Morning,” as well as in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today. Ross’ program is based on a series of books he wrote in which he was able to interview more than 500 professional athletes and coaches that all had one thing in common — they were all members of championship teams. In his research he concluded that the same metrics and characteristics that were common among champions in sports, were also common in peak performers in business. As he learned, champions have a very unique DNA — and his goal in this keynote session is to get audience members thinking about their own DNA — and about the DIFFERENTIATORS they possess which would ultimately lead customers to choose to do business with them. At the core of his message is the simple fact that we like to do business with people who we trust, who we like, and who just “get it” — Champions. In an engaging, provocative, and visually entertaining style, Ross will use inspirational stories and poignant life lessons from the world of sports to show attendees how to:

  • Create a “culture of excellence” by giving extraordinary customer service…
  • Generate momentum by utilizing the “currency of karma”…
  • Follow their moral compasses to win “the right way,” with respect and integrity…
  • Be better leaders and create more “buy-in” by embracing change and failure…
  • Evolve from “order takers” to “trusted partners” by enhancing the quality of their relationships…

10:35 am – 11:50 am: Concurrent Sessions:

C1 -ADA And Mental Health Issues:

How Public Employers Can Successfully Navigate The Interactive Process

Brad Howard, Attorney | Brown & Fortunato PC, Amarillo, TX

Description and Materials

Public employers often confront very difficult leave issues when an employee with a claimed disability requests reasonable accommodations such as additional employee leave or modified job duties. Are you required to provide these accommodations? When and how can you say No? How can you discipline or fire a problem employee with a claimed disability? What can you do to protect your organization? In this entertaining and interactive discussion, employment attorney Brad Howard will raise some difficult employment questions, outline the most recent ADA court cases and legal precedent, and discuss anything that’s on your mind.

  1. How to determine when an employee is disabled and what to do in response
  2. How to correctly address disability claims and avoid common mistake
  3. How to protect your organization from claims of disability discrimination and retaliation

C2 – Your Well-Being Matters!

Ruth Donahue, VP & Consultant | Segal Consulting, Chicago, IL
Christopher Goldsmith, VP & Senior Consultant | Segal Consulting, Cleveland, OH

Description and Materials

HR professionals know that the key to their organization’s success lies in their people. The wellbeing of employees directly influences their work behavior, performance and job satisfaction. Understanding the primary determinants of wellbeing, for HR professionals and how their wellbeing influences the broader workforce, is critical to HR’s role in fostering healthy and productive working environments.

  1. We will identify and explore elements of wellbeing that include physical, emotional and financial health, as well as career development, work satisfaction, productivity, and work-life balance.
  2. In the session, we will present the results of a national survey, conducted with NPELRA members, that evaluated wellbeing by career stage, generation, HR function and other demographic segments.
  3. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the impact of individual elements of health on the overall wellbeing of the broader workforce and why that matters.

C3 – Power of Persuasion

Ron Holifield, CEO | SGR, Keller, TX

Description and Materials

Leaders who primarily rely on authority to lead can gain compliance but can never achieve commitment. Using persuasion enables the leader to achieve authentic commitment to the mission, vision and values of the organization and achieve far higher performance and more sustainable results than with traditional means. This session will provide practical strategies for using the Power of Persuasion to lead more effectively.

  1. Participants will gain an understanding of the difference between leading for compliance and leading for commitment.
  2. Participants will gain insights into the parallel difference between training and development and how that correlates.
  3. Participants will have a series of practical strategies they can easily implement to be more effective at using the Power of Persuasion to achieve commitment rather than mere compliance.

C4 – Strategies for Stalled Negotiations

Lisa Callaway, Partner | Engler Callaway Baasten & Sraga LLC, Oak Brook, IL

Description and Materials

Every negotiator, seasoned or not, hits that bump in the road where negotiations stall. It may be a specific issue that handicaps the parties’ ability to move forward, or it may be due to personality conflicts or unidentified union objectives. The key to a successful negotiation is ensuring that management does not “blink” first when the big issues come into play and the process slows. Attend this session to learn strategies you can use in your organization’s negotiations to achieve more successful outcomes.

  1. An understanding of the different stages of labor negotiations
  2. Strategies to get stalled negotiations back on track
  3. Methodologies for understanding each union team members’ role and interest and using this information to management’s advantage

12:00 pm – 1:15 pm:

Robin Hall Memorial Annual Awards Luncheon

Description and Materials

1:30 Pm – 2:45 Pm: Concurrent Sessions:

C6 – Maximizing Retirement Readiness for Public Sector Employees

Glenn Sherman, Vice President | ICMA-RC, Washington, DC
Kathleen Wilson, Senior Education & Communications Manager | ICMA-RC, Washington, DC

Description and Materials

This session will provide an overview of proposed communication approaches for plan sponsors to use, in conjunction with their plan provider, over the life cycle of a participant in a deferred compensation/defined contribution plan, to maximize their retirement readiness. Key life cycle events include enrollment, investing, accumulating, transitioning into retirement, and generating sustainable lifetime income.

  1. Strategies to increase enrollment
  2. Tools to help participants monitor retirement readiness
  3. Broader understanding of lifetime income options

C7 – Supersized Leaves: A Supervisor’s Guide to Handling Excessive Leave Requests

Pam Lee, Partner | Aleshire & Wynder LLP, Irvine, CA
Laura Walker, Partner | Aleshire & Wynder LLP, Irvine, CA

Description and Materials

This session discusses circumstances when employees are entitled to leave under FMLA, ADA, and other statutory leave laws, when the leave becomes excessive, and what rights and obligations both employers and employees have regarding leave. Participants will receive practical guidance on responding to and handling excessive leave requests.

  1. Formulate action plans to handle various leave requests under FMLA, ADA, and other statutory leave laws;
  2. How to handle excessive absenteeism or employees who abuse their leave rights;
  3. How and when to return an employee to work after an extensive leave of absence

C8 – Mission Possible: How to Improve our Chances in Grievance Arbitration

Todd Lyon, Attorney | Fisher & Phillips, Portland, OR

Description and Materials

Grievance arbitration can seem like a challenge, but if you have prepared your case well, your confidence in the process will allow you to crack the code and achieve your objectives. Attendees will have the opportunity to work with others in hands-on activities emphasizing using the grievance meeting for arbitration preparation, document evaluation, and deciphering rules of just cause and contract interpretation. Through this exciting program, attendees will learn how to analyze, respond and prepare grievances for an optimal result.

  1. Learning to analyze the grievance to determine whether it constitutes a grievance, who may grieve, and whether the grievance is timely.
  2. Learning to investigate the merits of a grievance and evaluate the most probative evidence gathered.
  3. Learning to draft responses to grievances which cause the withdrawal of the grievance, settlement on favorable terms, or a win at arbitration.

C9 – Basic Mediation Skills: Navigating Everyday Conflicts

Stormy Brown, Director of Human Resources | Kenai Peninsula Borough, Soldotna, AK

Description and Materials

Conflict happens! As labor relations experts, human resources specialists, managers and in human life in general – conflict is part of each day. In this session, we’ll spend some time peeling back the layers of human conflict and learning some tools to help us get to the bottom of what’s really going on. Using the basics of mediation skills, we’ll explore how each of us can informally mediate conflict and facilitate better outcomes. This interactive session will have you out of your chairs and rolling up your sleeves as we “work together to work it out.”

Session Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn the components of human conflict and how mediation approaches them
  2. Learn basic mediation skills and about the “very different hat” you’ll wear as a mediation facilitator
  3. Learn how your new “basic mediation tool belt” can help you address conflict at work, in your personal life each day.

C10 – Technology Tips and Traps in the Public Workplace

Brandon M. Fitzsimmons, Shareholder Attorney | Flaherty & Hood PA, St. Paul, MN

Description and Materials

Technology is evolving as an indispensable tool in the public workplace for overall employee and public engagement and to ensure the public entity operates safely, securely, legally, effectively and efficiently. But, law-makers, courts and arbitrator decisions related to appropriate use of technology and content implicating the workplace and related employer actions are inconsistent and have not kept pace with new technology. This session will examine the evolving technology in the public workplace, public sector confines in using it, and appropriately handling employees who misuse it.

  1. Technology used by and implicated in the public workplace
  2. Public sector confines in using technology
  3. Appropriately handling public employees who misuse technology

3:05 pm – 4:20 pm:

Plenary 2 – Collective Bargaining and Interest Arbitration Trends and Developments

Robert J. Smith, Partner | Clark Baird Smith, Rosemont, IL

Description and Materials

Robert J. Smith, Jr., a partner with Clark Baird Smith LLP, will discuss nation-wide public sector bargaining trends and interest arbitration developments, including the results of the latest NPELRA Annual Collective Bargaining Survey. Mr. Smith will also address the impact of the 2016 national elections, and identify key priorities for you to consider in your upcoming labor negotiations.

  1. Nationwide settlement trends in the public sector
  2. Recent interest arbitration awards involving public safety employees
  3. Key bargaining objectives to maximize flexibility to address uncertain times