Part of our sweeping effort to change the direction of Rockland County involves a culture change within this organization. While our highly-skilled workforce dutifully moves our government forward each day, I’ve recognized a need to further empower department heads and give employees a greater voice. And, hearing those voices is just as important.
Our Department of Personnel Director Joan Silvestri recently led a top-to-bottom review of the County’s Anti-Discrimination and Equal Employment Opportunity laws. And, while our policies were found to be consistent with federal and state law, several thoughtful revisions were made to provide uniformity to managers and clarity to workers, leading to a more efficient complaint and investigation process.
Since January, we’ve modified our polices covering disability discrimination, reasonable accommodation and undue hardship. We introduced interactive employee training content, developed with an actual EEO attorney. While most people understand the bigger picture of discrimination and harassment, we sought to clearly define what’s offensive and what’s not. We’ve also made it easier for employees to work collaboratively with both co-workers and managers to address potential concerns.
Recent national studies have shown that job discrimination affects nearly half of the U.S. workforce, but is most often unreported and unresolved. As County Executive, I promise to be proactive in creating an atmosphere that is conducive to equal treatment of employees and is free from retaliation, biases, stereotypes and bullying. This is critical to restoring the pride in working for this county.
As we move to change the financial direction of this orgranization, I am energized and excited about discovering new ways of leading a dedicated workforce that is reflective of the communities we serve.