April 8, 2011

 

REPORT OF THE RULES, POLICY AND INDUSTRIAL
RELATIONS COMMITTEE/COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE

 

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

Honorable Members:

A meeting of the Rules, Policy and Industrial Relations Committee/Committee of the Whole was held in the Board Room, Administration Building, Toll Plaza, San Francisco, California, on Friday, April 8, 2011, at 9:35 a.m., Acting Chair Chu presiding.

Committee Members Present (4): Acting Chair Chu; Directors Elsbernd, Snyder and Theriault
Committee Members Absent (3): Director Mar; Chair Pahre; President Reilly (Ex Officio)
Other Directors Present (10): Directors Boro, Campos, Cochran, Eddie, Grosboll, Moylan, Rabbitt, Renée, Sobel and Stroeh

Committee of the Whole Members Present (14): Directors Boro, Campos, Chu, Cochran, Elsbernd, Grosboll, Moylan, Rabbitt, Renée, Snyder, Sobel, Stroeh and Theriault; First Vice President Eddie
Committee of the Whole Members Absent (4): Directors Brown, Mar and Pahre; President Reilly (Ex Officio)

[Note: On this date, there was one vacancy on the Board of Directors.]

Staff Present: General Manager Denis Mulligan; Auditor-Controller Joseph Wire; Secretary of the District Janet Tarantino; Attorney David Miller; Deputy General Manager/Bus Transit Division Teri Mantony; Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Z. Wayne Johnson; Public Affairs Director Mary Currie; Assistant Clerk of the Board Lona Franklin

Visitors Present: Helen Moore, District Employee; Joan Wyman, District Employee

 
 
1.
Approve Actions Relative to the Reorganization of the Customer Service Center
     
  a.

Staff Report

In a memorandum to Committee, Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Z. Wayne Johnson, Auditor-Controller Joseph Wire and General Manager Denis Mulligan reported on staff’s recommendation to approve actions relative to changes to the District’s Customer Service Center (CSC).

The staff report stated that the Board of Directors, at its Special Meeting of October 30, 2009, approved the Financial Plan for Achieving Long-Term Financial Stability (Plan). The Plan incorporates thirty-three initiatives, the implementation of which will assist the District in reducing its projected five-year deficit of $89 million. Among them is Initiative #2, “Further Reliance on Automated Information for Transit Customers.”

The staff report stated that the current location of the CSC, at 1011 Andersen Drive in San Rafael, is inconvenient for customers as it is remote from most bus stops. The San Rafael Transit Center (SRTC), at 3rd and Tamalpais Streets, has been identified as a more convenient location. The SRTC is the District’s largest transit hub, with up to 9,000 customers passing through the facility each weekday. A recently vacated leased retail space at the SRTC has been identified as an appropriately-sized space which could accommodate a customer service facility. The identified space will require minor cosmetic repairs/upgrades and installation of technology and security systems prior to it being operational as a CSC.

The staff report stated that the CSC operates Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturdays 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Over the past five years, the volume of calls, regarding transit schedules, complaints, commendations and other comments, has decreased by approximately 50%, to an average of 8,000 to 10,000 telephone calls each month,. Over half are routine transit or schedule-related inquiries. The CSC also processes Regional Transit Connection cards and Toll Rates for Persons with Disabilities, administers the lost-and-found program, distributes high-volume mailings concerning transit service changes, and assists with outreach on various topics.

The staff report indicated that staff has identified an automated attendant software system capable of effectively handling routine and schedule-related customer telephone calls. This system would greet the caller, identify the nature of the inquiry and route the call through appropriate channels. The system is able to provide information regarding the next scheduled departure from a particular location for buses and ferries. The automated information would provide access for our customers seven days per week, twenty-four hours per day. Currently, customers can receive schedule information from the CSC only during regular hours of operation. For customers without internet access, the automated system would enable customers to obtain bus and ferry schedule information regardless of the hours the CSC is staffed.

The staff report further stated that, currently, the CSC staff is composed of nine Customer Service Representative positions, two of which are vacant at this time, a Customer Relations Assistant and a Customer Relations Supervisor (CRS). The CRS position, historically compensated at the management level, experienced a reduction in responsibilities approximately one year ago, and began reporting to the Marketing and Communications Director rather than the Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development. The proposed reorganization of the CSC would reduce staff and adjust CRS position responsibilities. The staff report provided details regarding the current organizational structure and the proposed organizational structure, as well as current and proposed salary levels for CSC positions. A copy of the staff report is available from the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

     
  b. Presentation of PowerPoint
       
    1.

Opening Remarks by General Manager

Mr. Mulligan stated that Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Z. Wayne Johnson would present a PowerPoint on reorganization of the CSC. He stated that staff’s proposal includes changes to existing positions within the CSC, including elimination of some and creation of new positions. The changes are expected to increase the quality of customer service. He added that the recommended changes are expected to save the District approximately $3 million over the next ten years.

       
    2.

Presentation of PowerPoint

Mr. Johnson displayed a PowerPoint presentation (PowerPoint) entitled “Customer Service Center Project.” The PowerPoint synopsized the three components of staff’s proposal, technology, construction/relocation and personnel. The technology component includes an automated telephone attendant system that can provide routine information. Complaints, lost-and-found and complex questions would be handled by staff. The construction/relocation component includes moving the CSC to the SRTC, with the advantages noted above. The personnel component includes creation of: 1) one Customer Relations Supervisor position, with the elimination of the Customer Relations Supervisor position; 2) four Customer Relations Assistant positions, with the elimination of nine Customer Service Representative positions; and, 3) one part-time (30 hours per week) Customer Relations Assistant position. The PowerPoint listed eleven examples of enhanced preparation and support that could be provided for employees affected by the personnel component.

In addition, a projected timeline for completion of this Project was provided. “Soft launch” of the automated telephone attendant system would be expected to take place in approximately August or September 2011, followed by relocation of the CSC in mid-September 2011. The balance of the Project, including personnel changes, could be expected to take place in approximately October or November 2011, with the change in the Supervisor position to take place in January or February 2012. A copy of the PowerPoint is available from the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

       
  c.

Public Comment

Helen Moore, Customer Relations Supervisor, spoke in opposition to personnel changes proposed for the CSC Project. She stated she has worked for the District nearly 20 years, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Transportation Management and has worked in the field for 25 years. She indicated she chose to work in the public sector because of her desire to serve others. She stated that the recession has affected everyone, and some have lost homes and jobs. She stated that, while the District has cut services and raised fares and tolls, the CSC has increased service. She stated that, to save the District money, she had cut staff as well as not filling vacated positions. She stated that her tenure has provided her with institutional knowledge of the District, and discussed various topics on which she must be proficient. She provided written comments to the Committee. A copy of Ms. Moore’s written comments is available from the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

Joan Wyman, Customer Relations Assistant, Bus Transit Division, spoke in opposition to personnel changes proposed for the CSC Project. She stated she is the Shop Steward for Customer Service Representatives (Representatives). She stated the group is small, discussed its beginning, and stated that over the past eleven years, the number of employees in the CSC has been reduced, with seven Representatives currently on duty. She stated that they assist customers who do not use new technology and are available for outreach on many issues. She stated that most of the Representatives have at least ten years service with the District and are older than fifty years of age. She stated they are upset by the prospect of having to seek new jobs. She added that, over the years, they have taken on new tasks. She noted that other District employees who face a reduction in force would compete for the same new positions as the affected employees in the CSC. She indicated that the proposed project does not align with the bargaining agreement, and requested that, if the Project goes forward, that newly created positions be part of the same bargaining unit that currently represents Customer Relations personnel. She provided written comments to the Committee. A copy of Ms. Wyman’s written comments is available from the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

       
  d.

Discussion by the Committee

Discussion ensued, including the following comments and inquiries:

  • Director Sobel made the following comments and inquiries:
    • He commented that he has reviewed the list of enhancements that may be available to affected employees, and believes it is in contrast to what other organizations offer employees when reorganizations take place. He stated that the District would do very well when attempting to place employees. He stated that, in his opinion, one job of the Board would be to make the transition easier for affected employees, and to keep existing personnel within the District as much as possible.
    • He inquired as to the costs associated with the lease of the facilities located at the SRTC. In response, Mr. Mulligan estimated the cost at approximately $1,100.00 per month, and added that the cost for the facility was factored into the net savings expected from this Project.
  • Director Cochran made the following comments and inquiries:
    • He inquired as to whether the new CSC positions would handle cash. In response, Mr. Mulligan stated that it is expected they would handle cash, although the District is working toward eliminating cash as a means of payment for tolls and transit fares. He stated the transition away from cash would be gradual. He added that the new CSC would also provide a location to store lost-and-found items.
  • Director Theriault made the following comments and inquiries:
    • He inquired as to whether giving priority to existing employees in filling positions for the proposed CSC is equivalent to offering them new positions. In response, Mr. Johnson stated that affected employees would be able to take advantage of assistance similar to that offered to other employees whose positions are eliminated. Mr. Mulligan added that the District would do internal recruitment and would not do external recruitment unless the internal recruitment did not produce a qualified candidate. He stated that the District’s two goals would be to ensure that qualified workers are hired to fill the available positions and to provide affected employees with new positions, assuming they are qualified.
    • He inquired as to whether the proposed personnel changes would be subject to meet-and-confer. Mr. Johnson responded affirmatively.
    • He commented that he could understand the rationale for a reduction in pay, but questioned the necessity, inquiring as to why existing Customer Service Representatives could not be grandfathered in. In response, Mr. Johnson stated that there would be many changes to existing job duties which would lead to changes in job descriptions. Mr. Mulligan added that it has been the District’s policy to align pay with job duties, responsibilities and authority such that, when changes take place, concomitant changes would take place in pay levels as well.
     
  e. Original Recommendation
     
    a. Authorize staff to proceed with the Customer Service Center relocation and restructure project currently referred to in the FY 10/11 District Capital Budget (previously titled “Interactive Voice Recognition”) as a Reorganization project for an estimated budget of $250,000 to be funded from District reserves;
    b. Authorize Customer Service Center reorganization and staffing changes, including:
      1. Elimination of the current department manager level Customer Relations Supervisor position;
      2. Elimination of nine Customer Service Representative positions;
      3. Addition of a new supervisory level Customer Relations Supervisor position;
      4. Creation of four additional full-time Customer Relations Assistant positions; and,
      5 Creation of one part-time Customer Relations Assistant position.
    c. Authorize initiation of formal meet-and-confer discussions with Teamsters Local 856 which represents potentially affected employees, regarding the effects of the Board’s decision to implement an automated call processing system,
    d. Authorize an Enhanced Severance Package to the non-represented position potentially affected; and,
    e. Amend the Table of Organization accordingly.
       
  f.

Request for Separate Motion on Subparagraph b. of Original Recommendation

Director Theriault requested that the Committee vote separately on subparagraph b. of the staff recommendation. In response, Acting Chair Chu called for a motion on subparagraphs a., c., d. and e.; and, for a separate motion on subparagraph b. of the Original Recommendation.

       
 

Staff recommended, and the Committee concurred by motion made and seconded by Directors STROEH/THERIAULT to forward the following recommendation to the Board of Directors for consideration at its meeting of April 22, 2011:

RECOMMENDATION

The Rules, Policy and Industrial Relations Committee recommends that the Board of Directors approve actions relative to the Customer Service Center, as follows:

  a.
Authorize staff to proceed with the Customer Service Center Relocation and Restructure Project currently referred to in the FY 10/11 District Capital Budget (previously titled “Interactive Voice Recognition”) as a Reorganization Project for an estimated budget of $250,000.00, to be funded from District reserves;
  b.
Authorize initiation of formal meet-and-confer discussions with Teamsters Local 856, which represents potentially affected employees, regarding the effects of the Board’s decision to implement an automated call processing system;
  c.
Authorize an Enhanced Severance Package for the non-represented position potentially affected; and
  d.

Amend the Table of Organization accordingly.

Action by the Board at the Meeting of April 22, 2011 – Resolution
NON-CONSENT CALENDAR

       
 

AYES (14): Directors Boro, Campos, Chu, Cochran, Elsbernd, Grosboll, Moylan, Rabbitt, Renée Snyder, Sobel, Stroeh and Theriault; First Vice President Eddie
NOES (0): None
ABSENT (4): Directors Brown, Mar and Pahre; President Reilly (Ex Officio)

Staff recommended, and the Committee concurred by motion made and seconded by Directors STROEH/BORO to forward the following recommendation to the Board of Directors for its consideration:

RECOMMENDATION

The Rules, Policy and Industrial Relations Committee recommends that the Board of Directors approve actions relative to the Customer Service Center reorganization and staffing changes, as follows:

  a.
Elimination of the current department manager level Customer Relations Supervisor position;
  b.
Elimination of nine Customer Service Representative positions;
  c.
Addition of a new supervisory level Customer Relations Supervisor position;
  d.
Creation of four additional full-time Customer Relations Assistant positions; and,
  e.

Creation of one part-time Customer Relations Assistant position.

Action by the Board at the Meeting of April 22, 2011 – Resolution
NON-CONSENT CALENDAR

       
 
AYES (9): Directors Boro, Chu, Cochran, Elsbernd, Rabbitt, Snyder, Sobel and Stroeh; First Vice President Eddie
NOES (5): Directors Campos, Grosboll, Moylan, Renée and Theriault
ABSENT (4): Directors Brown, Mar and Pahre; President Reilly (Ex Officio)
   
2.

Approve Amendments to the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District – Amalgamated Retiree Health and Welfare Plan and Related Agreement and Declaration of Trust

In a memorandum to Committee, Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Z. Wayne Johnson, Auditor-Controller Joseph Wire and General Manager Denis Mulligan reported on staff’s recommendation to approve amendments to the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District–Amalgamated Retiree Health and Welfare Plan (Retiree Plan) and the related Agreement and Declaration of Trust (Trust).

The staff report stated that, effective January 1, 1972, the District and the Amalgamated Transit Union, AFL-CIO, Local Division 1225, now Local 1575 (ATU), established a trust agreement pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding between the District and the ATU, to facilitate the extension of health coverage to certain employees and retirees of the District covered by the bargaining unit represented by the ATU. Effective July 1, 2003, the District and the ATU established the Retiree Plan. The purpose of the Retiree Plan is to partially finance health coverage by setting forth certain governing terms related to such coverage.

In January 2011, the Board of Trustees of the Retiree Plan approved amendments to the Retiree Plan and Trust to comply with current tax law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, health care continuation rules under Internal Revenue Code Section 4980B, the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act. The Retiree Plan and Trust require that amendments approved by the Trustees must be adopted by the District and the ATU as the joint sponsors of the Retiree Plan. Proposed amendments are summarized in the staff report. No fiscal impact is anticipated as a result of this action. Adoption of these amendments will confirm compliance with applicable tax laws. Amendments to the Retiree Plan and Trust documents are attached to the staff report. A copy of the staff report is available from the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

Staff recommended, and the Committee concurred by motion made and seconded by Directors BORO/COCHRAN to forward the following recommendation to the Board of Directors for its consideration:

RECOMMENDATION

The Rules, Policy and Industrial Relations Committee recommends that the Board of Directors approve amendments to the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District–Amalgamated Retiree Health and Welfare Plan (Plan) and the related Agreement and Declaration of Trust (Trust), as approved by the Board of Trustees for the Plan and Trust.

Action by the Board – Resolution
NON-CONSENT CALENDAR

AYES (13): Directors Boro, Campos, Chu, Cochran, Elsbernd, Moylan, Rabbitt, Renée Snyder, Sobel, Stroeh and Theriault; First Vice President Eddie
NOES (0): None
ABSTAIN (1): Grosboll
ABSENT (4): Directors Brown, Mar and Pahre; President Reilly (Ex Officio)

   
3.

Public Comment

There was no public comment on items not on the Agenda.

   
4.

Adjournment

All business having been concluded, the meeting was adjourned at 10:15 a.m.

   
   

 

Respectfully submitted,

s/ Carmen Chu, Acting Chair
Rules, Policy and Industrial Relations Committee