Author Archives: Rick Dacri

About Rick Dacri

Rick Dacri is one of those rare individuals who can take difficult employee issues, sort through their complexities, and find solutions for employers that make sense. Dacri brings more than 25 years of experience in senior management, organizational development, and human resources, all in one package. He has consulted to a wide variety of industries, large and small, always brings to the table a practical approach, sound advice, and a sense of humor. Dacri is the president and founder of Dacri & Associates, a consulting firm specializing in helping business owners and managers improve the performance and productivity of their organization and workforce. Much of Rick’s success can be attributed to his ability to work with managers to get to the heart of their problems and provide them practical solutions with simple, straightforward steps for implementation. Rick is a recognized national speaker, speaking at conferences on leadership, organizational change and human resources. He is a prolific writer, authoring the book Uncomplicating Management and over 100 articles for a number of business publications. He is also a regular contributor to several industry associations’ journals and newsletters. He has been an adjunct professor at Clark University, Assumption College and Fitchburg State College, where he has taught courses in management, organizational behavior, and human resource management. Rick serves on a number of boards and has served as President of the Human Resource Association of Southern Maine, as the Massachusetts State Director for the Society for Human Resource Management as well as the President of the Human Resource Association of Central Massachusetts. Rick holds a MBA from Clark University and a Bachelor of Arts, Magna Cum Laude from Assumption College. He lives on the coast of Maine where the sites, sounds and smells of the ocean give him inspiration and strength.

Planning Keeps You On Course

images(Post by Rick Dacri, October 9, 2015)

Not knowing where you want to go makes it a lot easier to get there. Making a plan, setting a direction, allocating time and resources…yikes, this seems hard. After all, simply drifting where the wind takes you requires minimal effort and unfortunately, that’s how some companies operate. But it is a choice…a choice to react or to be proactive and plan.

Planning is an essential element in the successful operation of any business. As you make these strategic plans for your organization, ponder these three questions:

  1. Do I know what tomorrow’s opportunities will look like?
  2. Do I know where I want to take my company and why?
  3. Do I know where I am today and where I want to be tomorrow?

This is heady stuff. But by taking a strategic approach to your business planning, envisioning your future, and developing the procedures and operations to achieve your future, you have put in place the foundation for a successful business. Simply reacting to the latest crisis may keep you busy and feeling productive, but by the end of the day, you will likely find yourself falling behind.

Integrate planning in all aspects of your business. You’ll find by fostering a proactive mindset about the future will result in improved organizational performance, ensuring that you now have the ability to take advantage of emerging situations and opportunities.

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Filed under planning, Strategy, vision

A Manager’s Performance Appraisal: Prepare With Confidence

Feat1_Image(This article was written by Rick Dacri and published in the October issue of Public Management Journal)

Imagine you’re responsible for organizing the family vacation. It’s all planned, and everyone piles into the car ready to go. From the back seat, you hear: “I want to go to Disney.” “No, I want to go to the beach.” “No, we always do what you want, let’s go camping.”

Your partner gently leans over and says: “I want to go for a romantic vacation, without the kids, and by the way, we should fly, not drive.” And now, if things couldn’t be worse, you know they will all judge you, and the quality of their vacation will be based on your decision.

Crazy? Is this scenario all that unrealistic? In fact, for many, this resembles the life of a local government manager. As one city administrator defined it, “multiple conflicting priorities,” topped off with a performance appraisal.


As a manager, your job is to carry out the wishes of the governing board. But if you cannot find agreement on where you are going, who is driving, and who is in charge, you are on the road to dysfunctional government and a strained relationship with elected officials.

An evaluation of the manager—a process hated by most and ignored by others—should be an opportunity to both develop a manager’s knowledge and move a community forward.

If we are able to step back from the report-card aspect of most appraisal processes and realize that a performance appraisal is simply a tool used by elected officials to ensure that community goals are being met, then one can appreciate the power of this tool.

So why doesn’t that happen? Continue reading

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Filed under city manager, coaching, Employee Relations, government, human resources, ICMA, municipality, performance, performance appraisal, performance management, town manager

FLSA: Record Keeping Requirements

Unknown(Post by Rick Dacri, October 1, 2015)

The U.S. Department of Labor is stepping up its enforcement of misclassifying workers as exempt and failing to maintain records on non-exempt workers. This post outlines the record keeping requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA as noted in the DOL’s Fact Sheet #21.

All employers should regularly review the classification of all their exempt employees and secondly, audit the records of their nonexempt employees.

What Records Are Required: Every covered employer must keep certain records for each non-exempt worker. The Act requires no particular form for the records, but does require that the records include certain identifying information about the employee and data about the hours worked and the wages earned. The law requires this information to be accurate. The following is a listing of the basic records that an employer must maintain:

  1. Employee’s full name and social security number.
  2. Address, including zip code.
  3. Birth date, if younger than 19.
  4. Sex and occupation.
  5. Time and day of week when employee’s workweek begins.
  6. Hours worked each day.
  7. Total hours worked each workweek.
  8. Basis on which employee’s wages are paid (e.g., “$9 per hour”, “$440 a week”, “piecework”)
  9. Regular hourly pay rate.
  10. Total daily or weekly straight-time earnings.
  11. Total overtime earnings for the workweek.
  12. All additions to or deductions from the employee’s wages.
  13. Total wages paid each pay period.
  14. Date of payment and the pay period covered by the payment.

How Long Should Records Be Retained: Each employer shall preserve for at least three years payroll records, collective bargaining agreements, sales and purchase records. Records on which wage computations are based should be retained for two years, i.e., time cards and piece work tickets, wage rate tables, work and time schedules, and records of additions to or deductions from wages. These records must be open for inspection by the Division’s representatives, who may ask the employer to make extensions, computations, or transcriptions. The records may be kept at the place of employment or in a central records office.

What About Timekeeping: Employers may use any timekeeping method they choose. For example, they may use a time clock, have a timekeeper keep track of employee’s work hours, or tell their workers to write their own times on the records. Any timekeeping plan is acceptable as long as it is complete and accurate.

If you need help determining whether you have properly classified your employees, give me a call.

Other Posts you Might Like:

  1. Pay Procedures: How To Avoid Wage and Hour Problems
  2. Overtime Eligibility To Double: Prepare For Change
  3. Misclassification of Independent Contractors in IRS Crosshairs

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Filed under Compliance, Department of Labor, DOL, exempt, exempt nonexempt, FLSA, human resources, misclassification, nonexempt, record keeping

Sexual Harassment Outside of the Workplace

(Post by Rick Dacri, September 25, 2015)

UnknownThe issue of sexual harassment just won’t go away. Most employers work hard to make sure that they develop a workplace culture of respect, where issues of harassment are not tolerated. But it is hard enough to constantly monitor behaviors in the workplace. Do you also have to scrutinize your employees actions outside? This is a question I frequently get from clients and unfortunately, the answers is often “maybe.”

The law may apply to harassment that occurs between co-workers that takes place outside the workplace. When the conduct complained of occurs outside of the workplace, consider the following factors in assessing whether the conduct constitutes sexual harassment:

  1. Whether the event at which the conduct occurred is linked to the workplace in any way, such as at an employer-sponsored function;
  2. Whether the conduct occurred during work hours;
  3. The severity of the alleged outside-of-work conduct;
  4. The work relationship of the complainant and alleged harasser, which includes whether the alleged harasser is a supervisor and whether the alleged harasser and complainant come into contact with one another on the job;
  5. Whether the conduct adversely affected the terms and conditions of the complainant’s employment or impacted the complainant’s work environment.

If you become aware of a situation or if a complaint is presented, take it seriously. Listen to the complainant. Evaluate the situation. Contact the Dacri HR HelpLine or your attorney to determine your next steps. Just because the actions took place outside of work, does not mean the harassment did not occur. And remember, if it is determined to be harassment or not, the impact of the situation is sure to bleed into your workplace, impacting your employees, productivity and employee relations.

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6 Sexual Harassment Warning Signs

Unknown-1(Post by Rick Dacri, September 24, 2015)

When discussing sexual harassment, I am frequently asked what to watch for to determine whether harassment might be occurring in their workplace. It is a problem for managers, who are rightfully concerned about it, but can’t be everywhere all the time.

As a manager, you might not be present when an alleged incident of sexual harassment takes place. But, some warning signs may point to potential problems. Here are a few things you should watch for:

  1. Whispered sexual comments and staring when members of the opposite sex pass by.
  2. People frequently gather and tell sexual jokes, stories, or make innuendos.
  3. Employees are subjected to sexual looks, stares, leering or ogling.
  4. Sexually explicit materials, screen savers, pictures, or calendars are in the workplace.
  5. There is deliberate touching, cornering, back rubs or leaning over individuals.
  6. Employees get addressed in a sexual manner.

Management Principal: Make clear to your employees that harassment by supervisors, co-workers and third parties will not be tolerated and that reporting objectionable behavior will not result in any form or retaliation–even when the harasser is a key person in the organization.

So what should you do to ensure that they have a harassment free workplace? There are five key steps to take:

  1. Send the message loud and clear to all employees (and vendors, customers, and visitors) that harassment of any kind will not be tolerated here. And if it does occur, it will be dealt with swiftly and severely.
  2. Model respectful behavior. Position and power does not mean dominance and disrespect. Productive companies value and respect all their employees, regardless of their position or gender. They foster a culture that can best be described as egalitarian.
  3. Train all managers annually on harassment prevention and investigation procedures. Educate all employees on harassment with a clear message that we won’t tolerate it, but if it occurs we will protect you and we will do something about it.
  4. Have clear policy in place—and make sure that everyone reads it and understands it. There must never be any question in anyone’s mind about the company’s position and everyone must know what will happen if harassment occurs.
  5. Train everyone in interpersonal communications and conflict resolution. Give employees the tools to address problems as they occur—but always provide them with a safety net if they can’t resolve the issue.

    There is no place in the workplace for harassment. Employers and employees need to get that.

If you need assistance developing a sexual harassment prevention program or want training for your managers, call me. I can help.

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New Maine Law Restricts Social Media Access


(Post by Rick Dacri, September 3, 2015)

Beginning October 14, 2015, new legislation in Maine will restricts an employer’s ability to demand information regarding their employee’s or a job applicant’s social media account. The Act applies to both public and private employers, including the state, county and municipalities.

The Act prohibits employers from requiring, coercing or requesting an employee or job applicant to provide their employer with the password or other means of accessing his/her social media accounts.  This applies to any online account or service through which users share, view or create user-generated blogs, videos, instant and text messages, e-mails, and photographs.  The law also prohibits employers from requiring, coercing or requesting an employee or job applicant access to a personal social media account in the presence of the employer. Under the Act, employers are prohibited from discharging, disciplining or otherwise penalizing or threatening to discharge, discipline or otherwise penalize an employee for refusing the employer’s request made in violation of these restrictions.

Dacri Recommendation: 1)Train all your managers, supervisors and recruiters on the new
law. 2)Policies and procedures should be updated.

This update is merely a summary of the key points of the Act. Call me for a more detailed review.

This topic will also be covered in Dacri’s upcoming webinar series, Accelerated Supervisory Development Program for Municipal Managers.

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Filed under communications, Compliance, Employee Relations

New Online Program for Municipalities: Accelerated Supervisory Development

Today I am launching a new training program specifically designed for municipal or county government that want to quickly provide training for a single manager or two. I call it

UnknownRick Dacri’s Uncomplicating Municipal Management

Accelerated Supervisory Development Program.

In five short weeks, beginning September 23rd, your department head, manager or supervisor will:

  • Enhance their skills as a manager
  • Increase their ability to motivate and engage their people to deliver outstanding results
  • Know how to attract, hire and retain exceptional talent
  • Delegate and make better decisions
  • Inspire, coach and mentor their people, creating enthusiasm, clarity and increased effectiveness
  • Listen and communicate better, resulting in open and honest dialogue
  • Confront problem employees, resolve tough issues, including attitude, performance and behavior
  • Provide honest feedback, praise and recognition
  • Understand and operate within the law, without fear of lawsuits

The program includes 5 regularly scheduled, 90-minute, training sessions, one-on-one executive coaching with me, training materials, my book, more, and me.

Interested? Follow this link and read all about it and register. With a starting date of September 23, this program could be the perfect way to end the year!

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