August 1, 2008

REPORT OF THE RULES, POLICY AND INDUSTRIAL
RELATIONS COMMITTEE

Honorable Board of Directors
Golden Gate Bridge, Highway
  and Transportation District

Honorable Members:

A meeting of the Rules, Policy and Industrial Relations Committee was held in the Napa County Board of Supervisors Chambers, Napa, California, on Friday, August 1, 2008, at 10:00 a.m., Chair Pahre presiding.

Committee Members Present (4): Chair Pahre; Directors Grosboll and Newhouse Segal; President Moylan (Ex Officio). Chair Pahre appointed Directors Boro, Reilly and Stroeh Committee Members Pro Tem for this meeting only.

Committee Members Absent (5): Vice Chair Hernández; Directors McGlashan, McGoldrick, Sanders and Sandoval

Staff Present: General Manager Celia G. Kupersmith; Secretary of the District Janet S. Tarantino; Attorney David J. Miller; Deputy General Manager/Bridge Division Kary H. Witt; Deputy General Manager/Bus Division Teri W. Mantony; Acting Auditor-Controller and Procurement and Retail Operations Director Lori Murray; Acting District Engineer and Deputy District Engineer Ewa Z. Bauer; Manager of Organizational Development Lori Fromm; Executive Assistant to the General Manager Amorette Ko; Assistant Clerk of the Board Karen B. Engbretson

Visitors Present: Jim Krider, Chair, and Jim Leddy, Executive Director, Napa County Transportation and Planning Agency; Carney J. Campion and Dale Leuhring, Former General Managers

     
1.

Presentation Regarding General Employee Training and Development

Manager of Organizational Development Lori Fromm presented an overview of key training and employee development programs presented to District employees. A copy of the PowerPoint presentation is available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

In the presentation, Ms. Fromm outlined key programs that have been provided to District employees over the past four years, including the following:

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Customer Service Training for Ferry Division Employees 
  • Business/Technical Writing 
  • Change Management 
  • Communication Skills 
  • Computer Skills
  • DISC Communication Styles
  • Ethics Training 
  • FISH - Customer Service/Teamwork Training 
  • Harassment Prevention Training 
  • Interview Skills 
  • Project Management 
  • Supervisory Skills 
  • Values Training

Ms. Fromm described the different types of employee training and development listed above, noting that some of the training is legally mandated, while others have been developed and provided at the request of District managers and employees. She further noted that employee development opportunities are a great morale builder, offer individuals from different District departments/divisions a chance to get to know one another, and result in increased efficiency and productivity.

Ms. Fromm highlighted examples of some of the successes that have been experienced with the employee training and development programs, including:


  • ADA Customer Service Training: Ms. Fromm stated that this comprehensive program was developed in-house for Ferry Division employees, in partnership with Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael. The training sessions, which were delivered to all employees in the Ferry Division, covered ADA regulations, disability awareness, customer service, passenger safety, service animals, as well as the etiquette of communicating with persons with physical and mental differences. The sessions were led by Michael Hingson, a blind survivor of the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City.
  • Communication Skills: Ms. Fromm noted that good communication skills are fundamental to teamwork and productivity, and are useful in the workplace as well as at home. She described the Effective Communication training, which was provided on-site to over 300 District employees by Jill McGillen of NextTurn Consulting. Ms. Fromm distributed “Giving and Receiving Effective Feedback” wallet cards to the Committee that are used during this training.
  • DISC – Communication Styles/Team Building Tool: Ms. Fromm stated that she is a certified DISC trainer, and that this program is provided to different District work teams upon request. The DISC program defines individual profiles of communication styles and helps individuals to be aware of and to adapt to other people’s communication styles. In addition, the DISC program helps managers to understand team dynamics and use that information to effectively lead.
  • Ethics Training and Anti-Harassment Training: This training is legally mandated by AB 1234 and AB 1825, respectively, and is conducted every two years for District managers and supervisors. Attorneys from Hanson Bridgett facilitated the last session.
  • FISH – Customer Service/Teamwork Training: Ms. Fromm stated that this hour-long training program is inspired by the fishmongers at Pike Place Market in Seattle, WA, who are famous for their customer service, teamwork and enjoyment of their work. The training emphasizes the importance of enjoying your interactions with coworkers and customers and focuses on communication and listening skills.
  • Interview Skills and Career Development: In her role as Manager of Organizational Development, Ms. Fromm offers assistance to District employees who are seeking internal career advancement opportunities. This training focuses on interview skills and career development coaching.
  • Values Training: Ms. Fromm stated that the Values Training program, which is mandatory for all District employees, is fundamental to communication, customer service, teamwork and expected behaviors at the District. Ms. Fromm distributed to the Committee members illustrated wallet-size pamphlets, which outlined the District’s core values of Integrity, Competence, Flexibility, Accountability, Recognition, Diversity, Respect, Collaboration, Pride and Responsiveness. These pamphlets are distributed to all District employees to reinforce the Values Training they received.

In conclusion, Ms. Fromm expressed her appreciation to the General Manager and the rest of the District’s management team for their tremendous support of the employee training and development programs.

Following the presentation, Celia Kupersmith stated that over the past four years, there has been a true expansion and focus on the training of employees in the areas of behavior, communications and technical skills. She noted that District performance evaluations are geared towards the values identified in the Values Training and listed in the District Values pamphlets. Ms. Kupersmith complimented District staff with taking the initiative to create and distribute the pamphlets, which were inspired by a speech she gave to the District management team several years ago. She further thanked Ms. Fromm for successfully managing the employee training and development programs at the District.

Discussion ensued, including the following:

  • Director Reilly inquired as to how staff evaluated the success of behavioral training. In response, Ms. Fromm stated that for “soft skills” training, staff depends on feedback from employees who have taken the training. For example, Bus Operators who have told her that they have noticed improved communications between coworkers who have taken the Effective Communications class. Ms. Fromm also noted that managers have observed improvements in communication and teamwork, as well as reduction in conflicts and complaints after employees have completed various training programs. Ms. Kupersmith stated that in general, employees are also more aware of managers who may not be following the District values on which the employees have been trained, and that managers are being held accountable for values training.
  • Director Boro made the following inquiries:
    • He thanked Ms. Fromm for the excellent presentation, noting that her vivid description of the various training programs really brought the subject alive to the Committee.
    • He inquired as to whether management has given any thought to succession planning at the District. In response, Ms. Kupersmith explained that at this time, there is no formal program in place for succession planning, but that the management team is working on a mentoring program for current employees who may wish to investigate career advancement at the District. She announced that the new Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development, Z. Wayne Johnson, will begin work on August 11, 2008, and that one of his goals is to strengthen and expand the mentoring program at the District. He commented that the Deputy General Managers should identify individuals within the organization that would be worthy of mentoring and given opportunities for succession planning.
  • Chair Pahre noted that early in her career, she worked as a professional development manager, and that organizational development is one of the most important support systems that an organization can have.

Action by the Board – None Required

     
2.

Presentation by Jim Leddy, Executive Director of the Napa County Transportation and Planning Agency

Chair Pahre introduced Jim Krider, Chair, and Jim Leddy, Executive Director, of the Napa County Transportation and Planning Agency (NCTPA). Mr. Krider welcomed the Committee to Napa County, noting the importance of integrating local transportation planning within Napa County with the entire Bay Area region. Mr. Krider then introduced Jim Leddy, who gave a PowerPoint presentation on current projects underway by the NCTPA. A copy of the presentation is available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

Mr. Leddy described the NCTPA as a Joint Powers Agency formed in 1998 by the cities of American Canyon, Calistoga, Napa, St. Helena, Yountville and the County of Napa, to to serve as the county-wide transportation planning body for the incorporated and unincorporated areas of Napa County. He stated that the NCTPA is a 12-member board that is responsible for coordinating short- and long-term planning and funding within an intermodal transportation policy framework in the areas of streets and roads, highways and other transportation improvements. He noted that four standing committees, comprised of technicians and interested Napa citizens, advise the NCTPA board: (1) Technical Advisory Committee; (2) Bicycle Advisory Committee; (3) Paratransit Coordinating Council; and, (4) Vine Consumer Advisory Committee.

Mr. Leddy outlined the specific responsibilities of the NCTPA, noting that in March 2007, the NCTPA amended its charter to include a county-wide forum for the discussion of a broader range of issues that affect the entire county, including such topics as the environment, jobs and housing balance. He stated that Napa is a very rural county, containing only 2% of the entire nine-county Bay Area population. He further stated that the NCTPA must accommodate these rural sensibilities when competing for limited transportation funding with its more urban neighboring counties.

Mr. Leddy described the NCTPA’s current priorities, as follows:

  • Strategic Transportation Planning for “Napa’s Transportation Future” – this endeavor is an 18-month community visioning and planning process to be completed in October 2008, which will produce a 30-year vision that will guide transportation and land-use discussions throughout all of Napa’s myriad communities.
  • Transit Improvements – Improvements to the Napa County Vine and Vine Go bus service include building new routes, working to increase headways and reduce delays, as well as purchasing new hybrid buses for the aging transit fleet. Mr. Leddy noted that Napa County has one of the highest transit-dependent populations in the Bay Area, at 67% of the total population.
  • Napa Valley Class One Bike Trail – An important goal for the NCPTA is the completion of a Class One Bike Trail from Calistoga to American Canyon, connecting every community in Napa County.
  • Roadway Improvements – Congestion relief and roadway safety improvements are planned for Highway 12/Jamieson Canyon Road and Highway 29 from St. Helena to Calistoga, as well as a roundabout in the town of Rutherford.
  • Climate Protection – The NCTPA is working with all of its agency members on coordinated climate protection efforts, reducing carbon footprints, instituting environmental best practices and co-funding a Green Business certification program in coordination with the County of Napa.
  • New Resources for Local Transportation Needs – the County of Napa is one of two non-self-help counties in the Bay Area, and the NCTPA is developing a local sales tax measure through its role as the Napa Valley Transportation Authority. This sales tax will help support local street and road maintenance, access vital state and federal congestion-relief grant funding, and fund improvements to transit, as well as to bike and pedestrian paths.

 

In conclusion, Mr. Leddy stated that the County of Napa is a slow-growth county, with a true commitment to maintaining agricultural preserves. He noted that the NCTPA must work to accommodate the 45 million tourists who visit Napa County each year, and that the promotion of car-free tourism with transportation alternatives is an important goal of the NCTPA.

Discussion ensued, including the following:

  • Director Stroeh inquired regarding plans by the City of American Canyon to develop an Urban Growth Boundary. In response, Mr. Leddy confirmed that such efforts are underway, specifically in the industrial area near the Napa County Airport in the northwest portion of the city.
  • Director Grosboll made the following inquiries:
    • He inquired as to how many people bike to work in Napa County. In response, Mr. Leddy stated that the City of Napa has one of the highest percentages in the Bay Area of residents who bike to work, because of the concentration of jobs and housing in a relatively small area. He also stated that the City of Napa has one of the highest walk-to-work rates in the Bay Area. He noted that plans to incorporate a Class One Bike Path with the Jamieson Canyon Road improvements will provide additional incentives for people to bike to work from outside the city limits.
    • He inquired as to the sources of Napa County’s transportation funding, and Mr. Leddy stated that the NCTPA depends on state Transportation Development Act and State Transportation Assistance funding, as well as gasoline tax funding from Proposition 42.
  • Chair Pahre noted that over 10,000 vehicles per day travel on Jamieson Canyon Road, commuting between Solano County and Napa County, prompting the need for expansion of this roadway.
  • Director Boro inquired if the NCTPA has considered a railway connection between Napa County and the proposed Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) train service in Sonoma and Marin counties. He noted that SMART’s recently released Supplemental Environmental Impact Report calls for weekend service that could easily connect to Napa County to bring in Napa Winery tourists by train. In response, Mr. Leddy stated that several years ago, a study was done to consider commuter rail service between Napa and Solano County to the east, where a high number of Napa County workers originate. However, he stated that the NCTPA has not yet studied the possibility of connecting to SMART trains to the west. He noted the importance of including long-term rail planning as part of Napa County’s transportation future, although there is a real concern among Napa County residents of the potential for growth enhancements due to rail service. Mr. Leddy also stated that linking rail service between Napa, Marin and Sonoma counties would be a logical transportation solution for the North Bay.
  • Director Newhouse Segal expressed her concerns regarding winery visitors drinking and driving, and inquired as to the types of shuttle services available to these visitors. In response, Mr. Leddy stated that many of the wineries provide private shuttle van service and that local Vine transit provides bus service along the Highway 29 corridor. He noted, however, that public transit is prohibited by law from providing charter bus service that would compete with the wineries’ private shuttle van service.
  • President Moylan inquired as to whether the NCTPA had any control over the Napa Valley Wine Train. In response, Mr. Leddy answered that the Napa Valley Wine Train is privately owned and operated.

Action by the Board – None Required

     
3.

Public Comment

There was no public comment.

     
4.

Adjournment

All business having been concluded, the meeting was declared adjourned at 11:00 a.m.

     

Respectfully submitted,
/s/ Barbara L. Pahre, Chair
Rules, Policy and Industrial Relations Committee