ManateE-zine For Employees by Employees
Frame the Issue By Nicholas Azzara, Information Outreach
We’ve all seen it a thousand times: a nervous speaker gets in front of a packed room – or the County Commission – to give a presentation. He speaks in muffled tones or in muddled phrases or (worse!) he reads directly from each slide of a 15 page PowerPoint presentation. The audience’s eyes gloss over and they zone out after about three minutes of complete and utter boredom. Almost makes you uncomfortable to even read this all-too-familiar scene, doesn’t it? Take heart Manatee County employees. A little help is available. Over the past few months Information Outreach has been keeping tabs of some of the best and worst presentations before the BCC. Through those observations and with the help of the U.S. Air Force’s Tongue and Quill communications manual, we’re presenting a new set of guidelines aimed at improving your presentation skills for the Board. This new Frame the Issue document stresses that when you address the Board, you F.O.C.U.S., that you make presentations that are: Focused, Organized, Clear, filled with Understanding (both your topic and your audience) and Supported with facts. Frame the Issue can be a great starting point for anyone who’s new to speaking before the Board. It might also come in handy for those of you who may be old pro’s in the Chambers, but who wouldn’t mind honing your public presentation skills. You’ll be able to find Frame the Issue under the County Administrator’s area of the iNet by the end of April or in the Nook library on the fourth floor of the Admin Building, along with a copy of the Tongue and Quill. Ultimately, only you can overcome presentation day jitters by improving your public presentation skills through practice, preparation and a complete understanding of your subject matter. Frame the Issue can
Remember to Focus!
Focus – Be sure your presentation is centered on a spe-
cific topic rather than trying to tackle a host of issues on one agenda item.
Organize – Present your ideas with a clear, logical order . Clear – Communicate each of your points clearly, using good supporting material to bolster your points.
Understand – Get to know the Board members and their expectations. Anticipate their questions, concerns.
Support – Always include the most important part of your presentation in written form for agenda materials that you present to the Board. Anticipate good, tough questions from Commissioners and have additional information on hand that may address their inquiries.
The Library Nook
Programming for “Tweens” @ Your Library!
Manatee County Public Library System
The Manatee County Public Library System is pleased to announce its new ManaTween programs and book club. These activities are specially designed for “tweens”, kids between the ages of 8-12. While we program to this age group extensively during the summer, we are excited to extend the programming year round.
“Raise a Ton” of Food Drive The Library System recently completed a very successful “Raise a Ton” food drive to collect food and money for the Food Bank of Manatee County. In response to an article in the local paper, Debra Kraner, Support Services Supervisor, designed a plan to encourage the public and staff to participate. Bringing in money or food allowed the donor to “purchase” raffle tickets for a drawing of gift cards from local restaurants that was held at the end of the two-month-long food drive. Each branch provided a decorated collection barrel and distributed raffle tickets. In addition, the staff from branches competed against each other for a meal provided by Cheri Coryea, Neighborhood Services Director, Ava Ehde, Library Services Manager and Debra Kraner. We exceeded our goal of raising the equivalent of a ton of food, with the final tally of 1059 lbs. of food plus $370 (one dollar equalled six pounds of food) for a total of 3,279 lbs of food! Central Library staff celebrated their top collection of 1,119 pounds with a free Christmas pizza party. The food drive was so popular that staff decided to leave the barrels up at our six sites where we are continuing to collect food that is delivered periodically to the Food Bank. In addition, we are collecting clothing for One Stop and the Women’s Resource Center. If you would like to participate, drop off your donations at any one of our six branches.
Each library location will have six tween programs throughout the year. The programs will highlight such areas as arts & crafts, technology, science and more. Tweens must pre-register with a legal guardian for each event and there will be a limit of 15 participants per location. The spots are given out on a first come first served basis, and tweens can be put on a waiting list in case of cancelations. Program materials are provided thanks to the generosity of each Friends of the Library group—making it free to tweens! The programs are facilitated by one of our talented Children’s Librarians, drawing on their own specialties and interests. For our first program, Librarian (and artist) Chris Culp taught our tweens Sumi Ink painting! You can see some great pictures of the programs on our Facebook page. Our April program will teach tweens how to make a duct tape wallet (all the rage).
Mana-Tween Book Club
In March we launched a system-wide tween book club. Meeting once a month, tweens discuss a different book and do activities based on the book. (Don’t forget: tweens must pre-register each month with a legal guardian.)` The March and April book selections are “The Red Pyramid” by Rick Riordan and “Vordak the Incomprehensible: How to Grow up and Rule the World” by Scott Seegert. The books are available to reserve through the library system, thanks to the support of The Library Foundation. Families can reserve a copy online with a library card or in person at your local branch with your library card. The book club selections are modern and fun (with a few classics thrown in) and should appeal to both avid
Missing Meeting Rescheduled Notices?
and reluctant readers. Our hope is that the book club will be a way to encourage a love of reading, provide a positive educaBy Susan Kulbersh, Information Technology tional entertainment option for Have you missed rescheduled meeting kids, and also support the readnotices, because you declined the original ing and critical thinking skills invitation. Stay in the communication loop needed for the FCAT. by setting a preference to always stay informed when you decline a meeting. So, if you have any tweens in your life steer them our way. We look forward to including them in our new venture! Program updates and reminders will be posted on our Facebook page, as well as our new Teen Facebook page. You can also call your local library branch for more information: Central: Ext. 6312 Palmetto: Ext. 6342 Braden River: Ext. 6353 Rocky Bluff: Ext. 6381 South County: Ext. 6366 Island: Ext. 6375
Calendar of Events April 2012
To view the events happening in your Natural Preserves, click here. To view Parks & Recreation programs and activities, click here.
Select Preferences… from the More dropdown button on the Action toolbar. In the Preferences dialogue box, select the Calendar & To Do tab, select the Display tab and select the Notices tab. Under the Keep me Informed section check off “I decline a meeting.” Going forward you will receive updated communications regarding all changes to that meeting.
Paul Endress is an entrepreneur, communication expert and president of the consulting firm Maximum Advantage in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
All events and meetings are on Fridays from 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
April 13 Place: Osprey Room April 20 Place: Public Works April 27 Place: Public Works Learn about Toastmasters by visiting us on the iNet!
The Art of Persuasion By Paul Endress, Toastmaster
When was the last time you had to persuade someone? Regardless of your industry or profession, chances are you regularly have to persuade others to adopt your ideas. Whether you’re persuading a client to buy your product, your boss to give you a raise, your co-worker to give you a piece of that key project, or even your kids to clean their room, you often need others to see things your way. And while research shows that most people believe they can’t be sold, the fact is that those same people can indeed be persuaded if they don’t recognize that a “sales” technique is being used. That’s why smart professionals today are using the art of persuasion, rather than sales, to get others to see things their way.
With that said, following are the persuasion principles that will give you an edge in getting others to adopt your ideas with ease:
Realize that persuasion does not involve tricks, gimmicks, lying or anything unethical. When you use persuasion techniques, you are merely taking advantage of modern psychological research to make your message more credible and believable. For persuasion to truly work, whatever message you’re conveying must be based in truth and delivered with the right intentions. After all, you’re persuading someone to your point of view, not conning someone to do or think something questionable.
1. Aim at a narrow target. When attempting to coax someone to adopt their ideas, many people do a data dump on their listener. They give every possible fact, figure and feature in hopes that some of the information will stick and persuade the other party. However, if you want to be effective at persuasion, then you need to keep your focus during the conversation as narrow as possible. So rather than talk about everything possible that might persuade the other person, find out what’s important to your listener and then persuade on those points only. The best way to uncover what’s important to the other person is to ask. That’s right…simply ask, “What’s important to you about… [insert whatever topic you’re addressing].” Then listen to what your listener says and speak only to those points. If asking such a direct question doesn’t seem appropriate for your situation, you can couch your question within a statement, such as, “I was talking with someone the other day about [insert your topic], and they told me that _______ was the most important thing to them about [insert your topic]. That wouldn’t be important to you too, would it?” The result is that your statement could sound like: “I was talking with someone the other day about buying a car, and they told me that gas mileage was
the most important thing they considered when purchasing a vehicle. That wouldn’t be important to you too, would it?” Allow the person to answer and give you the information you need. Then you can gauge how to direct your conversation based on their response. 2. Use stories to convey your message. Stories are an extremely effective way to persuade. However, many people are too obvious with their stories, and as a result it sounds like they’re giving a sales pitch. The best way to use stories as a persuasion tool is to simply tell your listener about something that is similar to your concept. For example, suppose you want to convey the idea that your product will give the person peace of mind. First, determine what that idea is like…what is similar to having peace of mind? You may decide that “relaxation” is similar to the concept of peace of mind. If so, what conjures up images of relaxation to you? To this you might reply that a day at the beach equates to relaxation. If so, then tell a story about a day at the beach. The person’s unconscious mind will draw the necessary connections and do your persuasion for you. Let’s say you’re trying to motivate your staff to try something new and you want to convey the idea of being open to discovering new ideas. What is that idea like? What is similar to discovering new ideas? For many, it’s similar to being surprised. So then, what else elicits a surprise? How about opening a gift? Tell a story about that. The point is to pinpoint what you want to convey, decide what that idea is like, determine what else is like that main idea, and then tell a story about the similar concept, idea or thing. This indirect approach works wonders and keeps people from feeling like they are being sold.
3. Use a quote. Sometimes you may have to tell people bad news in order to get them to see things your way. If you don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, you could use a quote to tell the news for you. For example,
you could tell a client, “I was talking with Joe Smith the other day and he said that ABC Company has trouble making deliveries on time.” Another example would be to say, “My father always used to tell me ___________,” and then tell them what you want to tell them. Who could argue with your father? The only caveat is that you cannot use this technique to say something that is not true. The goal is to deliver truthful news or make a point in a way that doesn’t reflect poorly on you or make you appear insincere. 4. Use pacing and leading to prove your point. Pacing and leading is a technique based on the proven idea that if the brain can verify two things as true, it will accept the third fact as being true also. So if you tell someone, “My name is Mary Jones and I’m with Acme Corporation,” the listener’s mind can quickly verify those two facts as true. Then whatever you say next, such as, “We have the lowest prices on your office supply needs,” rings true to the listener as well. Again, you cannot use this technique to say something false. Whatever your third piece of information is, it must be a reasonable fact.
A Slight Edge Yields Huge Rewards
None of these persuasion techniques are magic or “smoke and mirrors.” They are designed merely to give you a slight edge in your dealings with others, but a slight edge can make all of the difference in the world. After all, in the Olympics, the difference between those who win the gold and those who win the silver is often just a few hundredths of a second or a fraction of a point. A slight edge goes a long way. So arm yourself with these persuasion tools and make them a part of your everyday conversations with others. When you do, you’ll find that others are more apt to adopt your ideas, resulting in more winning solutions for everyone involved.
To view the kudos information, click on the link which will take you to the PDF file on the iNet. March 2012
Building & Development Services
Martha McCaskill, Permitting Tech II Brenda Dillard, Senior Construction Review Specialist
Sally Cook, Construction Review Specialist John Parks, Development Review Tech
Sal Rizzo, Senior Probation Officer
Parks & Recreation
Mark Taylor, Equipment Operator Ralph Becker, Groundskeeper Thomas Espiau, Groundskeeper Todd Locey, Groundskeeper Florida Women in Government General Meeting Date/Time: April 11, 2012 noon Place: Carnegie Library in Palmetto Historical Park 515 10th Avenue West Palmetto, FL 34221
Ron Hardy, Telecommunication Tech David Glick, Technical Coordinator Charlie Bishop, Property Management Debra Leavenworth, Construction Coordinator Tom Roberts, Facilities Maintenance Coordina-
Carl Boggs, Building Trades Worker Melody Vilt, Health Benefits Supervisor
John Howard, Senior Building Trade Worker Carlos Flores, Senior Building Trade Worker Regina Worley, Mail Services Coordinator
EMS Saber Team
Becky Cresswell, Maintenance Data Coordinator Emergency Management Team Steve Simpson, Operations Officer Laurie Feagans, Chief Sherri Pellien, Charge Paramedic Jason Butland, Paramedic Mary Jane Rust, Captain Alex Flores, Charge Paramedic Anthony Ketterer, Paramedic
Benita Zarr, Transit Operations Superintendent Wayne Beck, Maintenance Tech Early Peters, Maintenance Tech II John Muscato, Maintenance Superintendent
Tom Yarger, Construction Services Project Manager
Howard Leyo, Project Manager Chris Romeo, Senior Systems Analyst Gary Lang, Systems Analyst Joe Cassidy, Senior Systems Analyst Kay Chitwood, Program Analyst John Lee, Systems Analyst Alphonso Cox, Senior Systems Analyst Kevin Rogers, Systems Analyst I Jeff Connor, Telecommunications Tech Patrick Ward, Telecom Technician Devin Harms, Network Administrator Bill Kersey, Network Infrastructure Manager Mike Hotaling, IT Security Manager Darryl Blair, Construction Services Inspection Officer Cindy Schneider, Applications Manager David Thompson, Building Maintenance Division Manager Paula Pesmark, Building Supervisor Randy Siebert, Building
Help the Easter â€œBunnyâ€? by finding the Words
Employee Health Benefits
Manatee County to host more than 40 local events in April as part of Healthy Counties, Healthy Families Month
“Manatee County is taking serious its responsibility to protect and enhance the health, welfare and safety of our residents in positive and cost effective ways,” Rogers says. “Every County department has a role in ensuring the health of our community and our families, from providing safe drinking water, to interconnected roadways with bike trails, to learning how to prepare and serve healthy foods, to parks and preserves for physical activity.” Each year counties across the country celebrate National County Government Month to raise public awareness and understanding about the roles and responsibilities of county government. This year’s theme is “Healthy Counties, Healthy Families.”
Manatee County Commissioners on March 27, set the stage for a month-long celebration of healthy events and activities be declaring April as Healthy Counties, Healthy Families Month. Throughout the month, Manatee County Government, Manatee County Health Department and the Manatee County Clerk of Court’s office will host a series of events to focus on five parameters of health including physical, social, behavioral, environmental and economic health. Some of the events include a Torch Run sponsored by Manatee Sheriff’s Office (April 6), a Health Department Farm Stand (April 4, 11, 18 and 25), a Knee Pain workshop (April 18), a horseshoe tournament (April 18-21) and several Relay for Life Events. More than 40 events are scheduled throughout the month culminating with Spring into Health event at Bennett Park on April 26 from 3 - 7 p.m. A complete list of the month’s events with times and locations will be posted by the end of this week at www.mymanatee.org/hcm
The celebration continues Manatee County Government’s commitment to promoting a culture of health, said Manatee County Community Services Director Brenda Rogers. Rogers is also a member of the Healthy Counties Month team that has planned the healthy events throughout April.
The month-long celebration culminates with Spring into Health event at Bennett Park, April 26 from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. The event will focus on promoting ways to healthier living within the County. April is also the month when One Bay hosts the Walk to the Moon Challenge which urges businesses and community groups throughout Tampa Bay to join in walking 238,857 miles during the month. The challenge asks participants to commit to two miles of walking or running or 30 minutes of other activity, five days a week for seven weeks. The Challenge begins April 4 and runs through May 23. Registration forms for the Challenge are online. For more information on Manatee County Government, visit online at www.mymanatee.org or call (941) 748-4501.
Manatee YourChoice Health Plan whips up a Cooking School! A brand new program featuring healthy cooking classes taught by a Certified Executive Chef started recently. The first class held March 15, “Fix Your Favorites,” took favorite recipes and remade them to be lower in calories and fat, but still tasted GREAT!
Chef David Arnold
Chef David Arnold, instructor at Southeast High School’s Culinary Arts program, prepared Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Chicken Alfredo, Penne Pasta with Lean Sausage and Vegetables, Fresh Asian Stir Fry, State Fair Strawberry Honey Shortcake and more! Mayanne Eggers, who works at the Water Treatment Plant, exclaimed, “I thought the ‘Fix Your Favorites’ class was really wonderful. The food was really tasty, I especially liked the red sauce- it was out of this world. And the baked macaroni and cheese tasted like the real thing.” Another class participant, Rita Wonders, who is an employee of the Copy Center said, “I loved it! I think anybody that cooks would enjoy it.” Lesleigh Johnson, of the Sheriff’s Office, and her husband, Marvin reported, “Chef David was great! We learned a lot of things and will be trying the lighter recipes. Our favorite was the Chicken Alfredo.” Kathy Horne, Utilities, states, “The recipes were fast and good – my kind of cooking.”
The next cooking class, scheduled for April 19tis called, “No More Boring Food.” Chef David will be showing us that healthy food does not have to be boring, ways to flavor vegetables and how to cook in season. The menu includes delicious homemade salad dressings, grilled duck salad platter, mango-lime salsa, Tuscan white bean salad and
more. “Wallet Friendly Cooking” on May 15 will teach how to eat healthy foods while still maintaining a budget. More classes are in the works. Cooking classes are only $15, supply Health Bucks for the Change Your Numbers campaign as well as provide support for those looking to lose or maintain their weight in the Y Weight challenge. For more information or to register, please visit ManateeYourChoice.com or contact Florey Miller at email@example.com, 748-4501, ext. 6410.
Kudos to Catherine Clontz from Dr. Chris Williams, Pharmacy Advocate of the Manatee YourChoice Health Plan By Dr. Chris Williams, Pharmacy Advocate
Kudos to all insurance coordinators and Wellness Champions from the Wellness Team at Manatee YourChoice. As the Pharmacy Advocate for the Manatee YourChoice Health Plan, I am involved deeply with the Wellness Programs including Yweight and Change Your Numbers. These programs would not run smoothly without insurance coordinators and Wellness Champions. Catherine Clontz has been a great help to the health plan and the employees she works with. I really want to bring light to how important this position is not just at her worksite, but throughout the county. Catherine began as a temp in 2001 and became a full time employee in 2004 with the Utilities’ Employee Services. Catherine was assigned the position of insurance coordinator. Catherine seems to enjoy this responsibility so much that she volunteered to be a Wellness Champion. Wellness Champions are like ambassadors of the health plan wellness initiatives. They help everyone know what’s going on.
She champions for 196 employees. Utilities is such a big department that it takes a team of insurance coordinators and wellness champions to make things work. I had the pleasure to interview Catherine here: When did you become a Wellness Champion? As soon as I heard there was going to be a new program to promote a healthier lifestyle, I contacted Natalie Johnson and said I wanted in! I’m “walking the walk” as they say, and since I feel so much better, I know that others can, as well, and I wanted to bring these opportunities to them. Walking the walk? I heard you were working on your Y weight goal. Have you reached it? Ack! No, actually, but I’m within 1.5 pounds of it. You mentioned a “wellness helper.” What is a “wellness helper”? My wellness helpers are amazing people, and I couldn’t be an effective champion without them! They are all employees who, because of the multiple locations in our department, graciously agreed to help me by being an on-site contact for their section’s staff. They assist me in getting information out to all employees and their dependents, answering questions, helping to set up events at their site(s), etc. They are wonderful, and they deserve recognition: Linda Bentley, Distribution; Peggy Hines, Maintenance and Field Forces; Melissa Jones, SW WWTP; Gayle Altman, SE WWTP and Biosolids Dryer; Aimie Johnson, North WWTP; Stacye Evans, Lift Stations; and Debora Braziel-Jones, Landfill, Landfill Scalehouse, and Recycling.
How do you balance this extra work load of being an insurance coordinator and a Wellness Champion with your day to day responsibilities? Being an insurance coordinator is second nature to me, as I don’t know what my job would be like without it, so it isn’t something that I think about having to balance. It’s just there, and I enjoy doing it. I remember clearly my many years of not
having insurance and struggling to afford any health care when I worked as a nanny; because of it, I try to inspire people to do everything they can do to reach the top level of coverage available, and then to take advantage of all the preventative options available to them. Being a wellness champion has definitely added some time-consuming duties, simply due to the sheer number of people for whom I volunteered to take responsibility. However, so far I have been able to balance my normal duties while making sure everyone gets information, again with the assistance of my wellness helpers. How have your supervisors supported you? My supervisor has backed me 100% since the Wellness Program began. She was one of the first to say that I ought to be involved, and she has made allowances for me to succeed in my endeavors. Have you seen increases in employee morale, health, and productivity due to increased wellness programs? I absolutely have! People who ordinarily would have stayed in the background and just observed the goings-on are now stepping up to help themselves. I am an incredibly vocal cheerleading squad all by myself for any- and everyone who wants to commit to a healthier lifestyle, and I have found that many people just need a little one-onone encouragement to get started and then not give in if they have a struggle. Anything else you want to add? Comments about the health plan, the county, etc. We have an amazing health plan that offers so many opportunities for us to better ourselves, to help our families, and to be stronger and happier employees. To me, not taking advantage of these programs seems a tragedy. I know that funds are tight these days, and I know that some of the available programs seem too expensive a burden to bear. However, I try to always keep these four thoughts in mind: 1. I am worth whatever it takes for me to succeed. 2. My family is happier when I am happy.
3. My child deserves to have me as a healthy parent for as long as I can be here.
form their own views, develop different perspectives and develop as people and as potential managers.
4. My parents deserve to have their child live a long, happy, and healthy life.
What does it take to be a mentor?
• A desire to help employees succeed in their career; • The willingness to invest the necessary time in the mentee’s career and personal development; • Understanding of the organization structure and hierarchy; • Experience and wisdom.
By Arthur Jefferson, Human Resources
As a developmental tool, mentoring has benefits for the organization, mentor and the mentee.
Sharing Your Mentoring Skills Participating in the Rising Stars Mentoring Program is an excellent opportunity for supervisors, managers and executives to share and improve their mentoring skills. The Rising Star Mentoring Program provides mentors and mentees networking and relation building opportunities, the sharing of career and personal development knowledge, and a host of team building and career assistance services.
The organization benefits of mentoring include: • Improve communication and exposure of employees to the culture of the organization; • Personalized and cost effective staff development; • Support for managerial succession and maximizing potential; • Improve staff retention levels and recruiting prospects.
The benefits for the mentor include:
• Organizational recognition, higher status, and strong job satisfaction; • The development of leadership qualities and managerial skills; • An opportunity to help others develop their careers.
The benefits to the mentee include:
What is mentoring?
Mentoring is a relationship in which one person (the mentor) -- usually someone more experienced and often more senior in an organization -- helps another (the mentee) discover more about his or her personal qualities, capabilities and potential. The mentor’s role is to listen, ask questions, and probe for facts and career choices. Mentors are not to instruct but to provide mentees with input to help them
• A sense of being valued by the organization; • An objective, supportive, non-threatening source of support in developing new skills and exploring new directions, and; • Access to someone who understand the organization’s culture, personnel, and ways of working. For additional information on the Rising Star Mentoring Program, contact Kinyata Love at 748-4501, ext. 3479.
Longevity Luncheon 2012 By Tamie Langman, Human Resources
Employee of the Month - April 2012
Ken LaBarr, Public Works
Human Resources organized another wonderful recognition banquet honoring longevity of service, the 2011 Employees of the Month, the 2011 Employee of the Year (Kathy Peel) and recipients of the Performance Incentive Awards. This event, held at the Convention Center, boasted a fun Mardi Gras theme which was enhanced by the great food inspired by New Orleans. Colorful beads and lots of colors decorated the Convention Center’s newly renovated south hall. A great time was had by all! There were a total of 293 employees honored for years of service. Our longest longevity employee of 42 years was Lou Gregg. Celebrating 35 years of service were, Rex Beach, Pamela Gibson, Lana Gostkowski, Randy Milton Sr., Debbie Reagan, Rose Taylor, and Barbara Tyler. Other notable accomplishments include: • Seven employees celebrating 30 years of service • 25 employees with 25 years of service, • 13 employee with 20 years • 41 employees with 15 years • 57 employees with 10 years • 144 employees with 5 years of service Event coordinators Tamie Langman and Michelle Petrilla took great pride in all of the smiles that they encountered from the employees attending this event. To see the photo gallery, go to the Human Resources section of the iNet.
“Ken exemplifies Manatee County’s commitment to provide the residents and visitors to Manatee County exceptional inspections of Infrastructure, Maintenance and Engineering services. He delivers them in a timely and cost effective manner. He is adamant about quality results and expects that same result, but he is not demanding or degrading when voicing his concerns but nurturing, guiding and encouraging.” -Patrick Brown, Infrastructure Inspections Supervisor “I have had the pleasure of working with Ken for about and 10 years and I have never heard a negative comment come out of his mouth. Whether it’s a coworker in the office or a contractor or engineer in the field, Ken is a true gentleman and treats everyone with respect. Ken is also a go getter always eager to get the job done whatever the task may be while always giving 110%. Ken is truly one of a kind and Manatee County Government is a better organization with him here.” -Rob Wenzel, Development Review Coordinator “Ken is member of staff who you can always rely upon to address problems quickly and fairly. When I have been out in the field with Ken on site inspections, he is very thorough and provides a concise analysis. Ken is always willing to resolve problems with consultants, contractors, and owners with fairness, yet in accordance with County Standards and regulations.” - Tom Gerstenberger, Stormwater Engineering Division Manager
The Final Word
April is County Government Month As I mentioned here last month, April is Healthy Counties, Healthy Families Month. The Board on March 24 set the stage for a month-long celebration of healthy events and activities by adopting a proclamation for the month. It’s another strong step toward promoting a culture of health in Manatee. And as Brenda Rogers recently pointed out to the Board, this organization takes seriously its responsibility to protect and enhance the health, welfare and safety of our residents in positive and cost effective ways. Every County department has a role in ensuring the health of our community and our families, from providing safe drinking water, to interconnected roadways with bike trails, to learning how to prepare and serve healthy foods, to parks and preserves for physical activity. A team of County, Health Department and Clerk of Court’s office employees, led by Deputy County Administrator Karen Windon and Community Services Director Brenda Rogers has assembled an impressive array of events, demonstrations and lectures to promote Healthy Counties, Healthy Families throughout April. More than 40 events are planned and each fits into five broad areas of health including physical, social, behavioral, environmental and economic health. There will be workshops, health walks, Relay for Life events, nature walks and garden tours. There’s even a horseshoe tournament at G.T. Bray Park from April 18-21. The team is especially excited about the Spring into Health event at Bennett Park on April 26 from 3-7 p.m. It’s a free event where you can take part in healthy activities including games, nature tours, a health walk and sports. Healthy foods will be available for purchase. It’s also a good chance to explore the new Bennett Park which kids love. April is also the month when One Bay hosts the Walk to the Moon Challenge which urges businesses and community groups throughout Tampa Bay to join in walking 238,857 miles during the month. The challenge asks participants to commit to two miles of walking or running or 30 minutes of other activity, five days a week for seven weeks. The Challenge begins April 4 and runs through May 23. Registration forms for the Challenge are online. An entire list of all the healthy events can be found at www.mymanatee.org/hcm My thanks to all members of the Healthy Counties, Healthy Families team who have planned a month full of great events. I think you’re truly making a difference in improving the lifestyles of Manatee County residents and employees.