November 2, 2009
Dear Friends and Fellow Employees:
As we begin to approach the holiday season, it’s time to reflect on this past, tumultuous year.
It has been a challenging period for our nation, our state, working families, and, also for EDD employees.
All of us, although concerned about the less fortunate, watched our own home front this year. I used to know some folks who were unemployed, but now they are closer to home: members of my own extended family. In addition, homes on my block are for sale, marked “foreclosure.”
You have been the First Responders during the current economic crisis! From speaking to a UI or DI claimant, to processing a claim, to printing a benefit check, to collecting needed taxes, to helping a person develop a résumé, or secure a job or training opportunities, or just plain listening and assisting, you have done a great job! Those of us who stand in “support” roles (including myself) salute you.
During the last five years as Director I have learned much from you, many times in person during 168 field office visits, sometimes with multiple, hour long all-staff meetings, up and down the State. I tried to listen very hard and take back to my office lessons learned from great teachers – my fellow EDD employees. Your dedication to our customers and this Department is unparalleled.
I have seen greatness in our dedicated staff. Management should go further in encouraging more incumbent worker training, testing, and implementing alternative approaches to work, upgrading classifications, refreshing career ladders, advocating diversity in our ranks, and recruiting more persons with disabilities into our EDD family. We must develop a good workforce development plan. We help private industry do it. Why not us, for the future? We must change, and change must be NOW!
Leadership can be replaced, and so it should, and must be. That’s good. It’s a time for change in my own career. With a tear in my eye, after 41 years of full-time engagement in labor and employment issues affecting California’s working women and men, I have decided to retire at the end of this year. I will miss all of you.
In addition to the rest of you, I have been humbled to work with Pam Harris, a great Chief Deputy Director. More than any other person in EDD, she has advocated for staff.
If I do not personally speak with you before I leave, let me just now say, you are the best! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
PATRICK W. HENNING