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Vol. 7 – No. 5
March 9, 2007

NOTES FROM THE ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR  

The 2-Year Rule: Feedback from the DASNR Human Resources office indicates one of the policies they frequently receive questions about is the “two-year” rule. The rule or policy statement says the following:

 Minimum Time Required for County Staff Transfer.  Approval of the transfer between counties will be granted only after the staff member has served at least two years in the current position.  Exception may be made when it is clearly shown that the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service would benefit more by an early transfer.

 

At least two questions seem to follow from this policy.  One question is, “What is the purpose of this policy?” and the second question is, “What constitutes a ‘benefit’ to OCES?” 

            Let me start with the question of what is the purpose of the policy. The purpose as I interpret it is basically to protect the county hiring the individual. Given that it takes a person a substantial amount of time to fully transition into a new position, especially if it is the first job in his/her career, it is generally not desirable nor is it equitable for the system to have employees move in less than two years. Doing so “wastes” the job specific experience being built. To put it another way, the county office and DASNR are making an investment in a new employee. They realize that during their first few months on the job an individual’s productivity and ability to function independently will be low. Typically, productivity will begin to rise during the first year and continue to rise for some time. But if the individual is not retained into the second and third year, the county office and DASNR will not be able to reap the benefits of the training and growth achieved early on.

            One could also argue that allowing an individual to move frequently, say every year, is not in the interest of the individual either since it will tend to build a record of short-term projects, low productivity and no real identifiable program ownership.

            Having said the above, what would cause the administration to conclude that it is to the “benefit” of the OCES for the individual to move? Some would say that making this case would be a hard sell.  I might agree, but then I also tend to think for every hard and fast rule there is bound to be an exception, and hence, I favor policy that permits careful consideration of unique individual situations. The first point I should make is that the policy reads “exceptions” should be for the benefit of OCES, as opposed to the individual. In my interpretation this is not to say that benefiting and individual does not help the system. It does if it leads to a more productive employee, but that increase in productivity must clearly offset the loss encountered by not capitalizing on the site-specific experience the person has. The argument by an individual that I would be a lot more productive in another county begs an obvious question that the individual may not want to answer – “Why can’t you be (or aren’t you) equally productive where you are now and who or what causes this to be the case?” All of this is another way of saying it will be an administrator, i.e. myself and the CEDs and/or District Directors involved, who will subjectively decide if a given case/request for and exception is for the benefit of the OCES.  

            What is an example where a move in less than two years would benefit OCES? For lack of a better example I will refer to one that might have been contemplated several years back when we were in a budget crunch. I say contemplated because I don’t think we reached a point where such an action was needed or might have made sense. If a county reached a point where it had no educators left and we had no funds to hire more educators, then for the good of the system it might make sense to move an educator from a county with more that one educator. Selecting a recent hire (i.e. one hired before the budget crunch hit) or an experienced educator who had recently moved, could be argued to be the best thing for the system if the individual was willing to move. The rationale being that moving a person who recently started in their current location would result in the smallest loss to the system because that person would not have a lot of experience invested in their current position. This would also be consistent with honoring seniority. Or consider the case of a person with say 10 years of experience who had moved perhaps twice during his career and who had just moved again. At that point the CED position opened up in a county in which he had previously worked and the other educator(s) in the county were not ready to step into a CED position. This individual could very well be the best qualified person for the position and it would be to OCES’s benefit to let him/her apply for the vacant CED job if he/she chose to do so.  

Tourism Department Providing Centennial Posters: You should receive within the next two or three weeks a 100th Anniversary Oklahoma Centennial poster from the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. It is a very attractive poster and gives us an opportunity to help celebrate the 100th birthday of Oklahoma. I would encourage you to display it in your office or some other place in your building as space permits.

                                                                                                                             Jim Trapp

 CURRENT EVENTS

ANNOUNCEMENTS

PODS Moving to New Domain: Be aware that Oklahoma State University’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources has lost the rights to the “osuextra.com” domain name. However, the Division still owns the rights to the purchased “osuextra.org” domain name, which runs through January 2008. These domain names were/are associated with the Division’s Print-On-Demand System (PODS) for Extension Fact Sheets, circulars, and similar publications.

            After discussion with the Division’s Administrative Team, DASNR will be moving its Print-On-Demand System (PODS) to the “okstate.edu” domain in the near future. OSU Agricultural Communications Services is engaged in making the necessary changes to PODS as quickly as possible.What does that mean for you right now?

  • If you print out a hard copy of a publication off PODS, be sure to mark out the “osuextra.com” Internet listing. It will be listed on every fact sheet directly beneath the title and on some circulars, but not many brochures.

  • If you are on campus and type in the “osuextra.com” Internet address, you will be taken to PODS because the OSU network continues to direct you to the PODS site. If you are off campus and type in the “osuextra.com” Internet address, you will be taken to a site not associated with the Division.
  •  The “osuextra.org” address still takes one to PODS from both on-campus and off-campus locales.

             More information will be shared as it becomes available. If you have questions, contact Don Stotts, Agricultural Communications Services, at 405-744-4079.

Condolences to: Gloria Baum, Unit Assistant, 4-H Youth Development, on the death of her father. Raul G. Lucero passed away February 16. The Funeral Mass took place February 20. The Rite of Committal and burial followed at Tortugas Cemetery in Tortugas, New Mexico.

Condolences to:  Tracy Lane, Tulsa County Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, on the death of her mother-in-law. Patricia Lane passed away February 22. Funeral services were held February 26 at Floral Haven in Broken Arrow. 

Condolences to: Rosalyn Weston, Senior Secretary, 4-H Youth Development, on the death of her mother. Rosalie Skelton passed away March 2. Funeral services will take place today, March 9, at 2:00 p.m. at Strode Funeral Home Chapel in Stillwater. Memorials may be made to the 4-H Foundation.

Good News

 COLLEGE CORNER

AWARDS

Royer Recognized: Tom Royer, Extension Entomologist and IPM Coordinator, received the Distinguished Achievement Award in Extension from the Southwestern Branch of the Entomological Society of America. 

Graduate Student Wins Award:  Ee Chin Ng won the Food and Agricultural Product Center’s Research Symposium Best Poster Award for her work on Flavor Attributes of Oklahoma Grown Peanuts. Ee Chin’s research was partially funded by the Oklahoma Peanut Commission. Ee Chin is planning to defend her master’s thesis next month and will also present her research findings at the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting in Chicago in July.

PERSONNEL ACTIONS

Appointments

None to report

Title Changes/Transfers

Casey N. Russell, Extension Educator, Agriculture/4-H Youth Development, and Interim CED, Coal County, effective 3-6-07 (was: Extension Educator, Agriculture/4-H Youth Development)

Separations

Barbara Elkins, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences/4-H Youth Development, and CED, Coal County, effective 3-2-07

Michelle L. Buchanan, Area Pest Management Specialist, Northeast District, effective 3-9-07

Samantha J. (Wagner) Snyder, Extension Educator,  Horticulture/4-H Youth Development, Cleveland County, effective 3-9-07

COMING EVENTS

March 21: In-Service: Basic Extension Teaching Methods (Stillwater)

March 24: Northwest District OHCE Meeting (Alva)

March 24-29: National 4-H Conference (Washington, D.C.)

March 27: Northeast District OHCE Meeting (Stillwater)

March 27-28: 8th Annual Conversations on Community Renewal (Midwest City)

March 31: Enid Area Progressive Agriculture Farm and Home Safety Day (Enid)

April 4: 4-H Day at the Capitol (Oklahoma City)

April 5: In-Service: Developing Effective Community Leaders (Stillwater)

April 11: Family Resiliency/Growing Strong Families Impact Team In-Service (Norman)

April 11-13: OEAFCS Annual Meeting (Oklahoma City)

April 14: Northwest District Meats Contest and Educational Day (Enid)

April 17: Southeast District OHCE Meeting (Madill)

April 18-20: Real Colors Facilitator Training (Oklahoma City)

April 19: National Extension Conference on Volunteerism (Junction City, Kansas)

April 19: Oklahoma Beef Ambassador Talk Contest (Oklahoma City)

April 20: The High School Financial Planning Program In-Service (Stillwater)

April 25: DASNR Legislative Day at the Capitol (Oklahoma City)

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