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County Administrator's Bi-weekly Update
June 10 - June 28, 2019

Departmental Project Highlights

County Administration:
The Flywheel Team (Powhatan County’s Organizational Development Committee) conducted an Employee Engagement Survey in February.  One hundred thirteen employees completed the survey from all across the organization.  Key takeaways include that a significant majority of employees feel:
  •          They are treated with respect by departmental leadership
  •          Managers listen to employees ideas
  •          Supervisors recognize employees for doing a good job
  •          Proud to be part of the staff of Powhatan County
  •          Happy with the ability to apply skills and experience in their role
  •          Satisfied with the ability to do meaningful work
  •          Happy with the relationship with their supervisor
Opportunities for improvement suggested by employees include: County facilities/physical environment, compensation and benefits, communication across the organization
To share the strong positive results of the survey, the County Administrator hosted the Employee Engagement Celebration on June 11th, which was attended by numerous departments.  After hearing the results, attendees enjoyed a pizza lunch and spent some time in fellowship with other employees on the Village Building lawn with horseshoes, cornhole and ladder ball.
County Administrator Voorhees was co-chair of this summers’ Virginia Local Government Management Association (VLGMA) Conference held at Virginia Beach.  The conference theme “Waves of Change, Oceans of Opportunity” included a pre-conference training on social media, and sessions on the General Assembly, volunteer fire recruitment, innovation, social service governance, Census 2020, and election security.  A brief remembrance and discussion with Virginia Beach officials was also held.
This week consultants from Berry Dunn, our ERP system selection consultant held information gathering and requirements discussions with numerous departmental representatives and school staff.  This is part of a deliberative process designed to ensure the “best fit” financial system is procured to take Powhatan into the next decade.

Community Development:
The 2019 Long-Range Comprehensive Plan was adopted on June 24, 2019.

New standards for conservation subdivisions (also known as cluster subdivisions) were adopted on June 24, 2019.

Photos from the Comprehensive Plan Open Houses

Commissioner of the Revenue:
Reassessment fieldwork is about 50% complete.  Wampler Eanes Appraisal, the reassessment subcontractor, will be bringing in more field assessors in the next few weeks to finish up the fieldwork in August.

Economic Development:
Economic Development presented to the Powhatan Chamber of Commerce’s monthly meeting in June, summarizing the state of the economy in Powhatan and recent commercial activity.  The department, along with Richmond Region Tourism, held a workshop to discuss how local businesses can gain business from the local tourism industry. 

Extension Office:
  • Thirty individuals stopped by Groove in the Garden last week to try various strawberry recipes. Several adults and youth sampled a spinach/strawberry salad and indicated this was the first time they’d eaten spinach and plan to use it at home in future. This monthly program highlights seasonal produce to educate residents on healthy eating options from the garden. Master Gardener volunteers collaborate with staff for this program.
  •  The Agriculture Extension Agent attended an annual livestock and forage training in Blacksburg with a focus on updated reproduction strategies. She was also re-certified as a Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Train-the-Trainer, a voluntary program for beef cattle producers to learn best management practices in managing their herd to ensure a safe wholesome beef product for consumers.
  • Staff participated in an online financial training update for the State budget.
  • The 4-H Extension Agent attended the 4-H Congress with seven delegates from Powhatan. The weeklong event is a teen leadership development program on the campus of VA Tech.
Human Resources:
The Board approved absorbing the slight increase to the County’s Health Insurance.  Employees pay in advance for each month’s health insurance premium, so changes to health insurance went into effect in the June 30 paychecks.  Only eight employees chose to change insurance coverage during open enrollment this year.  We have 132 employees who opt into the County’s insurance.  This increased the employer portion of the premium by $9984 for FY2020.

IT Department:
The IT Department completed a quality control audit of the GIS data.  We compared six years of permit information from the Powhatan Planning Dept. and the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission.  Of the approximate 1000 records, only 30 have been flagged for additional review.
We worked with 911/Emergency Management to create a new GIS data type to improve the quickest route calculation for CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch).

Lots of great posts for social media have been coming in from various departments. The county Facebook page is one of the chief sources of information for our citizens. Keep those stories, photos,  and calendar events coming!

Summer reading and learning for all ages is off to a great start at Powhatan County Public Library!  Since our kickoff, we’ve had an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response from the Powhatan community.  Our first summer evening event with Mickey the Magician had over 100 in attendance.  Back by popular demand is one of our favorite programs, Masterpiece Mondays.  At each weekly session, young artists learn about a famous artist or illustrator and afterward create their own artwork inspired by the artist.

Public Safety Communications:
Powhatan County signed the P25 Land Mobile Radio Replacement contract in June and will have the project kickoff meeting on July 1, 2019. This meeting will establish a process for project status updates, actions items, and tracking progress.

This is the final phase and critical part of the LMR replacement project. The diagram below depicts what is being upgraded or replaced under the LMR upgrade.


Public Works:
Powhatan County citizens informed Public Works that they are concerned about the negative health effects of second-hand smoke on children at public recreation facilities. Public Works studied the regulation of smoking at outdoor facilities in nearby counties. We found that no other counties allow smoking near areas where children are engaged in sporting activities, although none of the other localities have formal ordinances banning smoking on fields. The most successful programs are voluntary.  We made a presentation of our findings to the Board of Supervisors at the June 24th Regular Meeting. The Board voted to place signage on dugouts, backstops and any other area where children will likely be present and to look into creating/improving smoking areas that are away from children.

Office of Elections & Voter Registration:
Two weeks ago, Powhatan County held a Democratic Primary Election for State Senate (10th District).  While the anticipated low turnout of 3.5% was less than optimal; the process ran smoothly and the voters of Powhatan County were able to exercise their franchise with no interfering issues. 
The staff in the Office of Elections attended an annual training through the Virginia Department of Elections which highlighted Election Infrastructure Security, Risk-Limiting Audits, and election-related legislation taking effect July 1st.
Sheriff's Office:

Animal Control: This picture shows a collection of photographs of 226 unwanted animals in Powhatan County for whom homes were found in 2018!
This montage, displayed at the Sheriff's Office, was created by Animal Control staff to try to bring attention to the staggering number of Powhatan’s unwanted animals. We believe a face is more powerful than just the numbers.

Social Services:

Renee VanNatter served on the panel for the Fiscal Peer Group session at the VACAP conference located in Virginia Beach. She was also selected as the chair of the Public Community Action Group which consists of Powhatan, Goochland, Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria and CAPSAW (Staunton, Augusta, and Waynesboro).

The Virginia Community Action Partnership (VACAP) is the statewide membership association for Virginia’s 31 private non-profit, and public community action agencies. They all work together on the common vision to fight poverty and build self-sufficiency for strong families and communities throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Each agency focuses on its unique local needs. Each is also part of the community action network coming together to discuss common issues, share ideas, experiences, and strategies for success.

 Staff Spotlight
Getting to Know Powhatan County Staff 

This issue's spotlight shines on Bonni Gallion, Senior Executive Associate/Deputy Clerk in the County Administration office.  We asked:
What motivates you to wake up and go to work?
The main thing that gets me up and moving in the morning is the variety of tasks that I perform each day. No two days are the same. The contact that I have with the public and the assistance I can offer is something that lets me know -- at the end of the day -- that I have in some way helped someone.
What do you do for Powhatan County?
I am the Senior Executive Associate/Deputy Clerk for Powhatan. As part of the job, I compile agendas for the Board of Supervisors meetings and take and transcribe minutes of the meetings. Another important responsibility is the management of the County’s official records, including minutes of Board of Supervisors meetings; County Ordinances, Resolutions, and Proclamations; and the recording of contracts. I receive and respond to FOIA requests. I notarize documents for staff and the general public, manage the membership and expiration dates for over 30 County Co-boards, and collect and submit applications for membership to the Board of Supervisors for consideration for appointment. I have been a Certified Administrative Professional through the IAAP for the past 13 years.
What has been your favorite project so far?
My favorite projects are those that require interaction with other departments and employees. I enjoy the people I work with and like being involved with “out of the ordinary” projects.
What is something that most people don't know about you?
I was Caroline County’s first female Deputy Sheriff, accepting that position in 1989 after working for seven years at Virginia Power (now Dominion Energy). At that time, there were only two deputies per shift covering 550 square miles. While covering a graveyard shift with no other officers in service one night, on the way to an alarm call in Bowling Green from Ladysmith, I felt a physical presence on my left shoulder telling me to “buckle up.” I heeded that advice, which potentially saved my life. On the way to the call, to avoid an object in the road, I crashed and rolled my cruiser.
Tell us an interesting story that happened at your job.
Almost every time the phone rings, something interesting happens. I’ve received phone calls from citizens asking for information on how to remove horse manure from their yard; how to dispose of broken concrete; how to locate graves of loved ones; finding long lost friends; and identifying roaming dogs in their yards.
Thank you, Bonni, for doing so much for Powhatan County!

Upcoming Events

July 2nd 7 PM: Planning Commission Meeting
July 29th 6 PM: BOS Regular Meeting
See The Powhatan County Website Calendar for countywide information:
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