As of this month, the furloughs implemented in February 2009 are over, and we’re finally back to a full 40-hour work week. I know we’ve all had to work harder and make difficult choices to compensate for the lost hours and reduced compensation. It hasn’t been easy, and I appreciate your continuing dedication and considerable efforts during the furloughs.
Although it’s encouraging that we’re back to a normal schedule, I also recognize that as Caltrans enters the new fiscal year, the climate of uncertainty persists and many unanswered questions remain. We don’t know how the budget process will unfold nor how it will affect us.
We do know, however, that District 7 is very, very busy, and that staff will need all 24 of those hours that have been restored. Caltrans has 634 projects under contract valued at $9.9 billion. Clearly, there’s lot of work to do, including major HOV projects starting soon on the Golden State Freeway (I-5) and the Ventura Freeway (US 101). (You’ll read more about the HOV system in this issue.)
We also know that Caltrans, like many state agencies, is facing significant funding challenges, requiring us to manage and track our expenditures very carefully. E-FIS, which became Caltrans’ financial system on July 1, will help us do that. Yes, E-FIS is a big change, and tasks will take longer at first. I encourage you to be patient and take advantage of all the resources available to help you along the learning curve. For more information (including tutorials), visit the E-FIS website at http://onramp/hq/finance/efis/
On a sadder note, we’re going to miss the many longtime employees who are retiring. They take with them a wealth of institutional knowledge, experience and talent that has made District 7 a highly respected organization and a dynamic place to work. We thank you for your many years of service to Caltrans and the people of California.
Summer is officially here, and I want to wish all of you a very happy Fourth of July. For those of you taking summer vacations, enjoy the much deserved time off and the company of your family and friends. Come back to us rested and ready for action. We have a lot of work to do, and we need your contributions to be successful. California is depending on us.