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Connecting in times of crisis

Special Districts Summit West

 

Special districts have spent much of 2020 navigating uncertainty and rapid change as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Districts rapidly shifted employees to remote work and implemented an array of virtual services for citizens and other stakeholders. Our West Region Virtual Summit brought together special district leaders from across the western U.S. to share lessons learned from the COVID response and discuss how these experiences are reshaping internal operations, citizen services and leadership strategies for the future.

eRepublic / August 28, 2020

KEY TAKEAWAYS

More than 200 special district officials joined the live virtual summit on Aug. 25, which featured speakers from special districts that provide public transportation, library services, water, electric power, and parks and recreation. Panelists offered a real-life look at how they are adapting to the realities of the post-COVID world. Key takeaways include:

  • Districts with modern technology – robust networks, cloud platforms, digital documents and mobile devices -- had a relatively easy time moving non-essential staff to remote work.
  • Sensors and other Internet of Things devices are being repurposed to support social distancing requirements and other emerging needs.
  • Virtual meetings and public hearings implemented due to the pandemic have in some cases increased citizen engagement.
  • The uncertain post-COVID environment requires clear and consistent communication from special district leaders to employees about workplace policies, virus safety and future plans.
  • Avoiding burnout for remote employees is a growing concern. Special district leaders say they’re encouraging remote staff to take breaks and vacation days.
  • Special Districts have used CARES Act dollars and other federal funding streams to avoid staff layoffs and furloughs.
  • Leaders say they’re striving to support employees who are experiencing financial hardships, childcare struggles and mental health challenges due to COVID and the resulting economic downturn.
  • Districts are enhancing staff training to maintain engagement, preserve workplace culture and reskill displaced workers.

FEATURED SPEAKERS

Gretchen Caserotti, Library Director, Meridian Library District

Jenna Famular, Communications Manager, Marin Clean Energy

Randell Iwasaki, Executive Director, Contra Costa Transportation Authority

Darrell E. Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, Orange County Transportation Authority

David Leach, Principal Architect, AT&T

Kristin Masteller, General Manager, Mason County Public Utility District No. 1

Bruce J. Moeller, PhD, former Chief of Staff and Assistant County Administrator, Pinellas County, Florida

Cady Nagy-Chow, Marketing & Communication Specialist, Cordova Recreation & Park District

Bryan Sastokas, CIO, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Dustin Haisler, Moderator, Chief Innovation Officer, Government Technology

Steve Towns, Moderator, Deputy Chief Content Officer, e.Republic


Click here to access the slides presented during the summit.

To join us at an upcoming Virtual Summit, visit our event page to register.

 



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