District 7 is continuing on with an aggressive work schedule. I am happy to say that we are meeting most of the milestones that have been set, but there is still a lot work to do.
Recently, at a directors meeting in Sacramento, strategic goals were developed for the department. Some of the goals involve:
• Developing and improving our partnerships with the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), other local agencies, and the general public—essentially anyone we encounter while performing state business.
• Becoming more cost effective and accountable for our time usage so we can show others what it cost District 7 to do business.
• Improving communication, developing staff, and continuing to provide training for staff so they can advance.
• Becoming more transparent on our costs. Everything we do has an associated cost. We need to account for costs, similar to what is done in the private sector.
If we want to be competitive and go after local agency work or reimbursed work in the near future, we all need to be on the same page.
We are moving into a new era of doing more with less. The district is moving forward with Governor Brown’s plans to reduce state issued cell phones by 50 percent and reduce the light vehicle fleet. At this time I don’t have all of the numbers, but we will lose more cars, which in turn will make it tougher for us to do our jobs.
Caltrans is committed to and has placed a heavy emphasis on developing Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) projects (improving crosswalks, sidewalks, signals, lighting, etc.) to ensure that state facilities are accessible for everyone. The ADA projects should generate a lot of work for us.
The Calmentor Southern California Alliance (SCA) has been very successful. The SCA is comprised of district’s 7, 8, and 12 to help provide small businesses with access to state contracts. On February 15, the third Calmentor luncheon was held in the City of Industry. Caltrans along with the American Council of Engineering Companies members have seen some of the small businesses in the program grow from protégés to mentors. Many of the small businesses that have participated have become quite successful and are helping to create jobs.
We had a very successful black history month event. Buffalo Soldiers, a spectacular silent auction fundraiser, historical perspectives, music, and great food we part of this year’s event. District employees were able to participate in a silent auction of donated items which included vacation packages, art, electronics, sports tickets, and more. From this event organizers were able to raise $2,300 to support the United Negro College Fund and provide a small donation to the Buffalo Soldier company from Shadow Hills, California.
At Caltrans we celebrate diversity and I encourage everyone to support and participate in future diversity events.