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January 25, 2013

Open Line


This edition of Open Line includes important information I want to share with you:

Clarification on Limiting Meetings and Unnecessary Contact:  In the January 11 edition, I asked everyone to consider limiting meetings or other face-to-face contacts due to an increase in the number of influenza cases nationwide.  Some confusion has arisen as to whether this statement applies to persons supported and community outings.  Please note this does not apply to any activities that involve persons supported.  Agencies should resume community outings per their usual procedure.  I intended this only as a precautionary measure for employees and not as an agency directive.  I apologize for any misunderstanding this may have caused.

State of the State Address:  Governor Haslam will present his annual State of the State address from the State Capitol on January 28 at 6:00 p.m. CST.  If interested in viewing, live streaming coverage will be available at www.tn.gov.

Harmonious Work Environment:   The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) is firmly committed to the principle of fair and equal employment opportunities for its employees.  It is the Department’s policy to provide an environment free of discrimination and harassment of an individual because of that person’s race, color, national origin, age (40 and over), sex, pregnancy, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status or any other category protected by state and/or federal civil rights laws.  The fact that an alleged offender meant no harm or was teasing will not excuse conduct that violates this policy.

In an effort to eliminate incidents of discrimination or harassment in the workplace, supervisors may be held accountable for the actions of their employees. All supervisors will discuss DIDD’s workplace discrimination and harassment policy with their employees and will inform employees of their responsibility to report conduct which they believe is offensive, harassing or discriminatory.  Supervisors who receive a complaint alleging workplace discrimination or harassment or learn by any means of conduct that may violate DIDD’s Workplace Harassment policy must immediately report any such event to the department’s human resources director or director of DIDD Office of Civil Rights.

If an employee believes that he/she has been subjected to discriminatory or harassing conduct, he/she must report those incidents as soon as possible after the event occurs.  Employees may file a complaint with or contact Lisa Kent, DIDD Employee Relations Officer, 253-6746 or Brenda Clark, Director DIDD Office of Civil Rights, (615) 231-5516.

Developmental Disabilities Planning and Policy Council (DDPPC):  The DDPPC has a vacant seat for an intellectual or developmental disabilities service provider representative.  Please submit this form (WORD DOC) to Diana Davis at Diana.Davis@tn.gov  if you are interested by February 22, 2013.  The Council meets in Nashville quarterly, with the next meeting set for April 18, 2013.  Information about the Council is on our website under the link “DIDD Planning and Policy Councils” on the main page if you would like to learn more.  I appreciate all those who are willing to volunteer their time.

clipGreene Valley Advisory Council-To Afghanistan and Back (update from December 6 edition):  Despite the best efforts of the U. S. Post Office, one of the Christmas care packages mailed to Sgt. Charles “Chuck” Johnson (Army) was lost in transit and returned to Greene Valley.  With news from his big sister of an upcoming home leave, Advisory members decided to wait and make the delivery in person.  The surprise delivery of the package along with some new goodies was carried out by Advisory members this week.  Sgt. Jones expressed a sincere thank you for the items in Christmas packages and that he also appreciated the large Christmas card banner.  Sgt. Jones explained how life is in his camp and how everything that is sent to the troops is truly appreciated.  After a two-week leave, he is scheduled to return to Afghanistan on January 30.

Greene Valley also received an email from Sgt. Jason Brightwell stating, “My platoon and I would like to thank you for all you have sent us over the last several weeks.  We greatly appreciate not only the blankets, but all the warm clothing and luxuries of home.  We kept a lot of the items you sent, but we also have a lot to the children around our base and in Kabul.  We felt that they were in greater need than we were.  And I assure you that they too are also very appreciative for everything you sent.  Most of them never tasted candy and rarely do they eat a good meal.  You have not only made us happy, but dozens of children as well.  Thank you again.”