District 7 is off to a busy start this year and we have a lot of projects underway. Given the amount of work we have to do and the state of the economy, work can become quite stressful. I want everyone to understand how vital it is that employees utilize sick and vacation leave. Take time to spend time with your family and relax—that’s what leave-time is for. Ensure that you are taking time to find healthy ways to deal with stress. I encourage employees to use time off—you’ve earned it. Use your time away from work to regenerate so that you can come back to work and give one hundred percent.
It is essential that we accurately record our time and fill out our timesheets. Supervisors are to make sure time sheets are approved in a timely manner.
In celebrating diversity at Caltrans, I encourage everyone to support Black History Month throughout February. They Serve with Honor: African Americans and the Civil War event, will take place Thursday, February 24 in the main conference room on the first floor of the district office. I encourage all employees to take time to recognize this important part of American history.
The new Caltrans museum will open Wednesday, February 23 with the first exhibit celebrating the rich history and the 70th birthday of the first freeway in the west, the Arroyo Seco Parkway (SR-110). A committee of Caltrans employees has spent hours organizing this event and their efforts must be commended.
The Governor’s budget was Caltrans friendly, with minimal reductions. We anticipate continuing our present work effort. We have Measure R work that we are doing for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and a normal influx of State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) and State Highway Operation and Protection Program projects (SHOPP). I do not see a downturn in our projects as of yet.
At this time, the management team is still evaluating Governor Brown’s mandate to reduce state issued cell phones. We’ll have to give up quite a few cell phones. It is possible that the reduction will adversely affect the work we do in the district, as it it may impact our ability to do our jobs in a timely manner. But we’ll have to adapt to this requirement and start using our landlines more often.
Governor Brown has also sought to reduce the state’s vehicle fleet. We’ll have to wait and see what kind of affect the reductions will have on the district. We are waiting to find out what the district will have to cut. Having a smaller fleet would create yet another challenge to continue to provide services.
In light of recent events at the district office and in the field, we need to continue to be security-conscious. Please wear your identification badges and make sure it’s visible. If you have any guests visiting the building they should be signed in and escorted. As part of security we need to be aware of our surroundings, maintain situational awareness, and be careful. Continue to work safe and ensure you are doing your job the safest way you can.
My heart goes out to the families of our coworkers and friends who have recently passed away. As a Caltrans family, when we lose a member all of us have a loss. Please think about their families and keep them in our thoughts and prayers.