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					DHS Office of Communication November 2009 Furlough Tool Kit for Divisions Communicating about the upcoming furlough day requires a three-pronged approach: notify the public, notify clients/stakeholders and keep employees informed. News releases about the effect on the public of the upcoming closure will be handled by the DHS Office of Communication and the Department of Administrative Services. The Office of Communication has prepared notices to be posted on the DHS home page and the division home pages to inform Internet visitors of the pending furlough day. With appropriate variations, they basically read:
Office closure: Due to state budget cuts, the Oregon Department of Human Services child welfare offices will be closed Friday, November 27 and our staff will be on unpaid furlough. Additionally, we will be closed on Thursday, November 26 to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Our office will reopen Monday, November 30. Thank you for your patience. View the full list of closed agencies.

Your division may choose to provide your clients, partners and stakeholders with additional information via the Internet, and you are welcome to do so using your normal Web update procedures. Your division’s communication officer stands ready to help. This tool kit is similar to the toolkit you received in October, but has been updated for the November furlough day. It was prepared by the Office of Communication to help you and your staff to notify DHS clients, partners and stakeholders about the furlough. These tools also help provide consistency across the agency.
Media 1. Signage Notes All offices that serve the public should post signs created by OCR. Signs attached in English, Spanish and Russian. Using their customary channels, divisions may send out a message to their clients advising of the closure. Web example from DMAP attached. Using their customary channels, divisions will send notice to their stakeholders/partners of the closure .Fill-inthe-blank sample notification attached. All employees should change their voice mail greeting. Script attached. Employees should add an “out of office” message to their email. Sample language attached. Small versions of the “closed” sign attached. May be used to give to clients to remind them of closure. Date 11/19/09 Responsible Branch/Office/Bui lding Managers Division Director or Designee

2.

Client communication

Starting 11/17

3.

Stakeholder/part ner communication Voice mail

Starting 11/19

Division Director or Designee

4.

5.

E-mail Out of Office Client handouts

6.

By COB Wednesday, Nov. 25. By COB Wednesday, Nov. 25. Starting 11/19

Employees/Superv isors Employees/Superv isors. Employees

1. Signage The actual signs in English, Spanish and Russian are attached to this email.

Thursday, Nov. 26
for Thanksgiving and

Friday, Nov. 27
…due to state budget cuts.
We will reopen Monday Nov. 30, 2009

2. Client Communication Example borrowed from DMAP that they are posting on their Web site. Each division will need to create their own client communication and decide how to distribute it. Because of the cost and timing, mailings are likely not practical.

Office Closures
The current recession has reduced state revenues, and has forced the Legislature to make deep cuts in agency budgets. Coping with these cuts requires DMAP, along with most state offices, to close on the days listed below. Employees will take unpaid time off on those days. We apologize for any inconvenience these closures might cause, and we look forward to restoration of a full work schedule when the economy improves.

Our offices will be closed on Thursday, November 26, 2009 for Thanksgiving and Friday, November 27, 2009 for the mandatory unpaid furlough day

How the closures affect you
Clients If you lose your Medical ID, you will not be able to get a temporary ID or request a replacement ID until the following Monday. Your health care providers will still be able to verify eligibility and enrollment on the Web or over the telephone. If you are in a medical, dental, or mental health plan and need help getting services or information about your benefits, you can still contact your plan. Telephone numbers for your current plans are listed on your coverage letter. Fee-for-service (“open card”) clients can seek medical advice using the FFS Nurse Advice and Triage Service at 800-562-4620.

3. Stakeholder/Partner Communication Sample to be sent by divisions to their stakeholders and partners.

Dear Partner/Stakeholder: State government’s second mandatory closure day is Friday, Nov. 27. The Department of Human Services will close all its offices on that day with the exception of 24/7 operations like the State Hospital and the Agency Operations Center responding to the H1N1 Pandemic. Unlike our unpaid furlough day in October, the 27th is the day after Thanksgiving, meaning state offices will be closed two days in a row. We regret any inconvenience these closures may cause, and we look forward to reopening on Monday morning, Nov. 30. Background: Tough economic times have severely reduced state revenues, forcing legislatures throughout the nation to make deep cuts in state budgets. Nearly half the states have found that temporary closures and furloughs are efficient ways to save precious tax dollars while preserving the important functions and services of state government. To address its own budget cuts, Oregon’s state government will close most agencies on ten Fridays that fall throughout the current two-year budget period (see the list of closure dates below). The Department of Human Services is one of these agencies. The closures will require our employees to take mandatory unpaid furloughs on those days, saving Oregon’s taxpayers about $2 million a day. The Governor’s executive team has worked with the unions who represent state workers to agree upon the dates of the closures, taking into account the need to minimize inconvenience to the public and partners. We have thus avoided the costly and contentious legal battles that some other states have endured when public employees have contested the planned furloughs and closures. Please be assured we will do everything possible to minimize disruption and hardship to those who rely on our services. We will work hard to address any backlogs that may occur, and we will strive to help anyone who has suffered inconvenience because of the closure. We appreciate your understanding, and we eagerly await the return of normal economic times with a full resumption of our regular work schedule. Sincerely, (Division Director)

4. Voice mail All voice mail greetings should be changed by close of business on Wednesday, November 25.

Most individual DHS staff:
“Hello, this is Jane Doe with the Department of Human Services. Please listen carefully about some upcoming office closures. Our office will be closed on Thursday, November 26 th for Thanksgiving. On Friday, November 27th, our office will be closed due to state budget cuts and all of our staff will be away on unpaid furlough. Please leave a message after the beep and I will return your call when the office reopens for normal operations on Monday, November 30th.”

General offices, programs, receptionists:
Thank you for calling (name of office). Please listen carefully about some upcoming office closures. Our office will be closed on Thursday, November 26th, for Thanksgiving. On Friday, November 27th, our office will be closed due to state budget cuts. We will re-open Monday, November 30th, and will respond to your voice mail at that time. Please leave a message after the beep.”

CAF and/or SPD offices
“You have reached the (name of office) with the Department of Human Services. Please listen carefully about some upcoming office closures. Our office will be closed on Thursday, November 26th, for Thanksgiving. On Friday, November 27th, our office will be closed due to state budget cuts. If someone is being hurt or is in danger right now, hang up and call 9-1-1 immediately. “We will re-open Monday, November 30th, and will respond to your voice mail at that time. “Please leave a message after the beep.”

Individuals in child welfare and other protective services
“Hello, this is (name of individual) with (name of office). I will be out of the office on Thursday, November 26 for the Thanksgiving holiday. Due to state budget cuts, I will also be out of the office on mandatory unpaid furlough on Friday, November 27th. I will return to the office on Monday, November 30th and I will respond to your voice mail at that time. “If someone is being hurt or is in danger right now, call 9-1-1 immediately. “Please leave your message after the beep.”

5. Email Auto Reply All email “out of office” or auto reply should be changed by close of business on Wednesday, November 25, 2009

From individual:
I will be out of the office on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday. I will also be out on Friday because budget cuts have caused most state offices to close and staff are taking a mandatory unpaid furlough day. We will re-open on Monday, November 30th, 2009 and I will respond to your e-mail then.

For buildings, offices, programs
We will be closed on Thursday, November 26, for the Thanksgiving holiday. Additionally, budget cuts have forced the Department of Human Services to close for the day on November 27, 2009. Employees are taking mandatory unpaid furloughs on that day. We will re-open on Monday, November 30th, and will respond to your e-mail at that time.

6. Handout for Clients Attached are the “closed” posters reduced to four per page. You can duplicate them and use as handouts to remind clients of the closure. Sample:

Thursday, Nov. 26 for Thanksgiving and Friday, November 27, 2009 …due to state budget cuts We will reopen Monday Nov. 30, 2009


				
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