Wednesday - April 26

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8:30 am – 8:55 am:

National PELRA Business Meeting

Description and Materials

9:00 am – 10:15 am:

Plenary 5 – Management Development for the 21st Century: The People Paradox and Getting Top Performers to Manage Successfully

Keith Friede, Area Vice President | Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., Inc., Bloomington, MN

Description and Materials

Developing effective management skills (i.e., excellent people skills) is critically important to every public sector organization in realizing employee engagement and organizational success, especially with a new generation of employees stepping into management roles for the first time. In this session, we’ll address issues like managerial flexibility, alignment of work styles, building internal commitment, management vs. leadership, using style assessments properly, skill practice, action learning and the 20-20-60 factor (and much more!) to help you take your management development initiatives to a much higher level as a key driver of organizational effectiveness… by improving the content of those initiatives and the process used to deliver them.

  1. Elevate their management development initiatives to help top individual contributors and existing managers overcome key barriers to effective management
  2. Improve the content of their management development initiatives
  3. Improve the process by which their management development initiatives are executed

10:30 am – 11:45 am: Concurrent Sessions

C17 – Past Practice and The Administration of Collective Bargaining Agreements

John Dickinson, Partner | Constangy Brooks Smith & Prophete, Jacksonville, FL

Description and Materials


No collective bargaining agreement ever written spells out every right that either party has or does not have. And sometimes when all else fails (such as the agreement being silent on a subject matter) a party will want to rely on the existence of a “past practice” to support an argument that the action taken was or was not appropriate. While the term “past practice” gets used a lot, it is important to understand what it is and how far it goes. This session will give you the tools so that you can effectively evaluate the past practice doctrine.

    1. 1. What Constitutes a Past Practice
    1. 2. Understanding and Defending Past Practices
    1. 3. How the Past Practice Doctrine is Used in Labor Arbitrations

C18 – The Opioid Epidemic: Human Resources’ Challenges and Solutions

Dr. Robert Mines, Chairman & Psychologist | Mines and Associates, Littleton, CO
Dr. Daniél Kimlinger, CEO & HR and Organizational Psychology Leader | Mines and Associates, Littleton, CO

Description and Materials

The opioid epidemic has spread throughout the country. This led to a significant rise in heroin addiction on the streets as prescription drugs are harder to get. With the ACA allowing children up to the age of 26 to still be on their parents’ insurance, a revolving door in drug treatment and relapse is occurring with no patient consequences. Predatory facilities in drug/alcohol treatment are charging up to $4,000.00 per UA when they should cost less than $40.00. HR challenges in this arena: egregious costs, ADA and FMLA considerations, personnel management issues, and benefit design flaws that are being exploited.

  1. Human Resource professionals will have strategies and tactics for structuring benefits related to drug and alcohol use that will help them manage the changes in the treatment community designed to exploit the employer and employee benefits.
  2. Human Resource professionals will have information related to ADA and FMLA implications for drug and alcohol use disorders to help them reduce risk.
  3. Human Resource professionals will have information that will provide a context for the case management complexities of these illnesses when employees or family members bring benefit and personnel issues to their attention.

C19 – Practical Advice for Maintaining a Harassment-Free Workplace

Susan Glover, Attorney | Robbins Schwartz, Bolingbrook, IL

Description and Materials


This presentation will provide guidance on identifying workplace harassment, investigating complaints of harassment and instituting effective responses to harassing conduct. Attendees will gain knowledge of the applicable laws governing workplace harassment, learn how to investigate if a workplace has become hostile and how to respond if it does, and learn tips for drafting and enforcing a workplace anti-harassment policy.

  1. Knowledge as to what constitutes legal harassment
  2. How to investigate internal harassment complaints
  3. How to implement practices in your workplace to avoid harassment

C20 – Managing the Generations

Ron Holifield, CEO | SGR, Keller, TX

Description and Materials


For the first time in history, there are four different generations working together in the workplace. This has created substantial stress and tension as organizations wrestle with how to build cohesive teams. This session will provide practical strategies for building cohesive teams across generational lines.

  1. Participants will understand some of the differing perspectives of different generations.
  2. Participants will understand commonalities in expectations for a great work place across different generations.
  3. Participants will develop an understanding of very practical strategies for building cohesive teams despite a high degree of generational diversity.

11:45 am – 1:00 pm: National PELRA Foundation Luncheon and Raffle

Description and Materials

1:15 pm – 2:30 pm: Concurrent Sessions

C21 – The Things That Keep us Up at Night

Douglas Duckett, Principal | Duckett Law Firm, Cincinnati, OH

Description and Materials


Human resources and labor relations administration in the public sector presents a wide array of issues, with new problems and challenges surfacing all the time. This interactive presentation will look at problems and issues that pose real threats and headaches – that can literally keep us up at night. The speaker will offer ideas and ask participants for their own as well.

  1. Ideas about trending issues and problems and how best to manage or avoid them.
  2. Tangible strategies to prepare for problems and minimize risks.
  3. The opportunity to exchange ideas and knowledge with colleagues from around the country.

C22 – Much Smarter Bargaining

Ben Gehrt, Partner | Clark Baird Smith, Rosemont, IL

Description and Materials

This session will discuss bargaining tips and strategies that can be learned from National PELRA’s forthcoming publication of “Even Smarter Bargaining.”  In challenging economic times, it is more important than ever to have a firm grasp on the hidden traps and costs buried within a collective bargaining agreement, while also knowing what types of language to strive for to maximize management’s flexibility.

  1. Identify key steps in preparing for contract negotiations
  2. Identify strong contract language for select issues, and understand why the language is advantageous.
  3. Identify problematic contract language for select issues, and understand why the language should be avoided when possible.

C23 – Your Ace in the Hole: New Guidance on FMLA and ADA Leave Issues

LaToya Merritt, Partner | Phelps Dunbar LLP, Jackson, MS

Description and Materials


When managing an employee with a medical condition, the issues involved regularly implicate the FMLA or ADA — or both. We will address critical FMLA and ADA compliance considerations when dealing with the most difficult employee leave and accommodation scenarios. This session will highlight the most difficult FMLA/ADA overlap issues employers face and identify practical solutions to help employers stay compliant with the ever-changing landscape of both Acts.

At the end of my session, participants will take home:

  1. a basic understanding of the Family and Medical Leave Act and Americans with Disabilities Act;
  2. an understanding of the common difficulties in handling accommodation issues; and
  3. a preview of the interplay between the FMLA and ADA and the application of both statutes to everyday HR issues.

C24 – Employee Screening

Julia Gannaway, Attorney | Lynn Ross Gannaway & Cranford, LLP, Forth Worth, TX
Susan Gard, Chief of Policy | City & County of San Francisco Department of HR, San Francisco, CA

Description and Materials


This session will examine strategies for public employers to lawfully address the restrictions relating to considering and excluding applicants who have criminal backgrounds.

  1. Knowledge of federal laws relating to exclusion of applicants with criminal backgrounds
  2. Consideration of circumstances: relevancy and recency of criminal conviction, and evidence of rehabilitation
  3. Balancing the needs of your organization with the strictures of the law regarding exclusion of candidates based on criminal convictions.

C25 – Dazed and Confused: How Legalized Marijuana is Complicating the Workplace

Rod Younker, Partner | Summit Law Group, Seattle, WA

Description and Materials

As more states lighten restrictions on marijuana use, is your workplace ready to deal with the impacts? Don’t be caught laying in the weeds on this one. The trend toward legalizing medical and recreational use of marijuana continues to gain momentum in the states, creating ever more places where workplace rules, state law and federal law conflict. Find out what you need to know, do, and not do. Can/should you ban marijuana use in your workplace if medical or recreation use is legal in your state? How does the conflict between state and federal law play out in a public sector workplace? We will discuss the many issues from a legal, and perhaps more importantly, from a practical perspective.

P6 – Legal Update

Ken Weinstock, Attorney | Kainen Escalera & McHale, Hartford, CT

Description and Materials

Learn about the important court and administrative agency decisions from the past year in an interactive, fun and informative session. Join Attorney Kenneth Weinstock, who for many years has been our closing speaker, who will present significant and sometimes unusual decisions in a unique informative session. Learn how you and other public employers have been affected by these decisions and hear some practical guidance that you can take back to your agency. Reviews have consistently rated this a “must attend” session so plan your travel so you can attend this closing session.