Wednesday, August 31, 2011

COBRA subsidies for jobless expires

Today, one of the stimulus package items comes to an end.   COBRA is the program set up under federal law that allows people who lose their jobs to keep the employer-provided insurance, typically for 18 months, if they pay for the premium plus a small percentage for administrative fees-generally around two percent.

In February 2009, Congress approved a 65 percent subsidy for COBRA premiums to help those who had been laid off starting in September 2008.

Congress extended the COBRA subsidy three times to cover workers who lost their jobs through May 2010.  The subsidy lasted for up to 15 months.

Here are two good sources of info:

DOL fact sheet :

and a good article by benefits pro

Employers told me, in the past year,  that workers would not take job offers because the health care premium they would be would be higher than the subsidized amount.

It will interesting to see what happens now.

Friday, August 26, 2011

New Poster again! The NLRB in 11x17 and on your intranet!

The National Labor Relations Board has issued a final rule requiring most private-sector employers to notify employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act by posting a notice. The rule was placed of the Federal Register on August 25. It is scheduled to be posted in the Federal Register on August 30 and will take effect 75 days later.

The posting requirement, which takes effect on November 14, 2011 is intended to inform employees - both unionized and non-unionized - of their NLRA rights and is patterned after other required postings.

The rule will not apply to non-NLRA employers, including employers of railroad, airline, and agricultural workers. Federal contractors will also be required to post this NLRB notice as well as others.

Employers must post an 11-by-17 inch poster in the workplace and requires covered employers to post the notice on an internet or intranet site, if HR rules and policies are genrerally posted there. However, employers will not be required to distribute the posting by emails. 

The poster will be on the NLRB website for download and available at no charge in hard copy form at NLRB regional offices.  Posters will available by November 1, 2011.

Don't follow the posting requirements?  You may have earned an unfair labor practice.

Employers failing to post the notice may get a break as the NLRB recognizes that employers may be unaware of the new rule. In those cases, the Board may not seek penalties as long as the employer posts the notice right away.

Here is the link to the info:

A fact sheet published bythe NLRB is here:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pinellas Board of Education: don't search yet-do the work!

Julie Janssen 2008-2011; Clayton Wilcox 2004-2008 and Howard Hinesley 1990-2004.  All were School Superintendents of Pinellas County.  Much has gone wrong with the latest firing, unfortunately, it is a fine example of  not hiring with a list of technical talents as well as a list of competencies.

People get hired for technical reasons and fired for their inability to build formidable relationships in the "right" places in the organization.  Sometimes the relationships have been there but we self sabotage; our heart isn't in it -so we do, or don't do things that irritate the issues further.  Termination becomes the word of the day.

What does a successful candidate look like for Pinellas County?  What will the person do?  How do they go about doing it?  How does the Board wish to learn about things happening?  What do the other stakeholder want?  Has anyone asked the parents?  I don't know.

It is a waste of time to go on a search right now.  For what?  People with a similar title?  I know many people with the title of Mom--some good and some bad.

I encourage the Board of Education to take the time to really sort through the needs and the wants.  I pray there is someone who can have the managerial courage to guide them through the process.  (and if not, I could help them :-))  This should take some time.  It makes the search more surgical, better defined and more successful.

Valuable money will be lost if a thorough review is not done.  Please Pinellas Board of Education-define the customer (parents?  Board?  children?), the duties and the skills, knowledge and abilities to do the jobs, and  finally what are those "soft skills" that people need for this job-because when those "soft skills" aren't there,  the landing is hard for everyone.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Post strike relations: Was trust lost? If so, can it be restored? My story.

News is coming out today that union workers plan to end their walkout against Verizon Communications.  There has been screaming and yelling and throwing bad names and bus pickets in front of executive's houses.  Hateful sayings have been hurled.

Bad memories come up whenever I hear of strikes.   You see, in my sophomore year of high school our teachers went on strike.  I remember going home and asking, "What's a scab,"  for it was being screamed at me by math and science teachers who just days before were on a respected pedestal.   The Honor Students, ( yep I was one) were teaching the younger students.  New York State Regents exams didn't care about a strike.  Those exams go on state wide so one community can not reschedule.

I remember, like it was yesterday, a teacher throwing a tomato at our school bus window as we went to the other school.  "Who are those people?," I remember thinking.

The strike came to an end.

It seemed so strange to sit in the classroom and look at the teacher in the front of the room.  I was sick to my stomach.  I was always taught to respect people in authority and elders; but I was truly troubled.  it was hard to concentrate.

That experience left a gouge on my heart.  I never regained the respect I once held for the teachers who were so rude to me and my fellow students.They didn't even acknowledge it.  This was my education-it could not be put on hold. The education I got during that time has stuck with me.

So as these union employees go back to work-I wonder what issues will be in the workplace by people who drove into work and through the picket lines, feelings by the people whose children were pulled indoors as bus loads of people emptied onto their quiet neighborhood street to picket.

Be a shareholder, vote out those members of management you don't want.

How will cross departments meetings flow?  Was trust lost between the two "sides?"  Where was the customers' voice in all of this?  If lost, can trust be restored?  As we know, trust, once broken, never returns to the same level .

It's a sad situation.  Respect and communication without agendas except for the customers' should be simple.   Even designers will tell you that a simple working design is the hardest.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Where does the time go? Hurricanes and more.

I haven't posted in a while-been busy but didn't realize so much time passed.  This is something that I change with this blog post today.  I had a great time today speaking on "Making your own weather" for Real Estate Lives. An amazing group of volunteers helping people in their industry find their next great job.  My hats are off to this business focused; very applicabale serving organization.  If you don't know about them--well check it out--you will be amazed and you should know of the awesome people who are ready to be hired!  I was very impressed!  Here's the link for  Every HR person needs to connect with this group.

Making our own weather was based upon the Scroll from Og Mandino--one of my favorites-being Master of My Emotions.  What weather do people see when you are coming?  Is it sunshine or is it thunder clouds?  Do you thrive on the chaos of a hurricane or are you calming winds?  And who do you hang around with? Are your associates helpful or hurtful?  If you are stressed is it from the weather of your friends?  Make a choice!

We have a dawn happening around the earth at any time--so I encourage you --that if you have a having a bad day--have a new dawn---and let the sunshine in.

Tonight there will be no sunshine but a big moon in the sky over the beautiful Vinoy and I am pleased to be a finalist for the Tampa Bay Business Woman of the Year, sponsored by the Tampa Bay Business Journal.  There were more than 400 nominations and I am one of 52 finalists.    It feels good to be chosen by the panel of judges.  I like the independence but I also like seeing my name with women who contribute to the business community of Tampa.  So here are the finalists--Ladies thank you for raising me up!  See you at the Vinoy tonight!

Business Services

  • Eileen Auen, PMSI
  • April Diemer, Creative Recycling Systems
  • Lisa Faller, FKQ Advertising & Marketing
  • Karen S. Gillman, Intelligent Office of Tampa Bay
  • Misha Hart, A La Carte Event Pavilion
  • Kimberly Lamb, Colliers International
  • Angela Massaro-Fain, Grapevine Communications International Inc.
  • Diane Nelson, Pinellas County Tax Collector


  • Linda W. Devine, University of Tampa
  • Dr. Sunita Lodwig, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee
  • Tara Payor, University of South Florida
  • Eileen Rodriguez, USF Small Business Development Center
  • Paula Tarver, Advance My Baby Inc.


  • Rose Averill, St. Francis Sleep Allergy and Lung Institute
  • Stefanie Berry, Showorks Inc.
  • Lee-En Chung, Ivy Ventures Inc.
  • Maryann Ferenc, Mise en Place Inc.
  • Joy Gendusa, PostcardMania
  • Barbara McCarthy and Susan McCarthy, Sun Country Cleaners
  • Lynda McDermott, EquiPro International Ltd.
  • Hope Peterson, New Hope Auto & Truck Service
  • Kelley Rexroad, krexconsulting
  • Penny Rogo Bailes, MamaRazzi Foto
  • Sheri Taber, The Peak Performance Group

Financial Services

  • Cheryl G. Brown, GTE Federal Credit Union
  • Sandra W. Callahan, TECO Energy Inc.
  • Jeannie Holliday, Independent Financial Services
  • Penny Hulbert, Links Financial LLC
  • Sydney M. Niewierski, Wells Fargo Advisors


  • Angela L. Ardolino, Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine
  • Maryann Balbo, St. Petersburg Times
  • Michelle Bauer, Common Language
  • Julie Heidelberg, Heidelberg PR
  • Stacey Spencer, Teen Tyme Productions Inc.


  • Elizabeth Frazier, Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation
  • Nancy Giles, PARC
  • Cindy Rose, All Children’s Hospital & Health System
  • Alisa Savoretti, My Hope Chest


  • Brenda Dohring Hicks, Dohring Group/RealWired!
  • Patricia Dominguez, Triage Partners LLC
  • Kimberly During, K. Tek International Corp./ K. Tek Systems Inc.
  • Laura Ellis, IBM
  • Jane Mason, eMason Inc.


  • Lissette Marisol Baker, Vaco
  • Renia Carsillo C2B Professional and Life Development, LLC/ BNI West Central Florida
  • Erin Cigich, Clickbooth LLC
  • Marie Carson Hebbler, The Bank of Tampa
  • Haley Maple, Forizs-Dogali PA
  • Phara E. McLachlan, Animus Solutions Inc.
  • Jennifer Shimek, Doctors Adminstrative Solutions
  • Natalie Sidor, Raymond James
  • Lacey H.C. Willard, CB Richard Ellis