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.

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Overtime Eligibility to Double: Prepare for Changes

images(Post by Rick Dacri, August 24, 2015)

The Department of Labor’s (U.S. DOL) proposed change to overtime eligibility is likely to force all employers to review and make changes to their compensation plans prior to the expected 2016 implementation.

Under the proposed rule, the salary threshold under which employees would be nonexempt—required to receive overtime pay (regular hourly rate x 1.5 for all hours worked beyond 40 hours per week), would be $970, or $50,440 per year for a full-time worker, more than doubling the salary threshold from the current level of $23,660. Afterward, the salary-level threshold would be updated annually based either on the percentile or inflation.

Earning above the $50,440 annual ($970 per week) salary level does not automatically classify an employee as exempt from mandatory overtime pay, as the duties test still comes into play.

This is a significant change to the law and all employers should review their plans now, before the likely 2016 implementation period. Don’t wait, as changes will be complex and contain plenty of pitfalls.

To avoid problems with existing exempt workers currently being paid less than the new threshold, your options include:

  1. Reclassify affected workers as nonexempt, or
  2. Increase the employees’ salaries to at least $50,440, or
  3. Reduce the hours of these workers, or
  4. Pay a lower hourly rate so that, when multiplied by time-and-one-half, weekly compensation remains unchanged

None of these steps are ideal and are likely to result in employee relation issues and increased payroll costs. To make matters worse, the DOL has stepped up enforcement of the law, doling out significant fines, attorney fees and back pay for violations.

Some other problematic areas for employers that should immediately be addressed include:

  • Misclassifying employers as exempt, when they should be non-exempt when the duties test is applied
  • Misclassifying individuals as independent contractors when they are bona-fide employees
  • Failing to pay for “off the clock” work, including non-exempt employees working, unpaid, during breaks; bringing work home; being required to respond to emails, calls and texts, etc.

To avoid problems and lawsuits:

  • Audit your compensation program and pay practices for compliance
  • Review the classification of all exempt workers, particularly those being paid under $50,440
  • Review the classification of all independent contractors
  • Put in place a safe harbor policy, which states that if an employee feels he/she has been incorrectly paid, to bring it to your attention for review.

Develop a plan now that can be rolled out in 2016 when (and if) the law changes. Call me if you need help.

Leave a comment

Filed under Compensation, Compliance

Workplace Trends & How Employers Must Respond

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 11.23.43 AMThree critical trends are emerging in today’s workplace: 1) the traditional full-time, 40 hour worker is being replaced by part-timers, Independent Contractors and gig-workers; 2) the ability to attract and retain workers is going to require different strategies and those employed in the past; and 3) workforce loyalty has a new look.

Rick Dacri & David Ciullo discuss these trends and how employers should respond in this Mind Your Own Business TV interview with Debi Davis.

To view the interview, click Workforce Trends.

Post by Rick Dacri, August 18, 2015.

Leave a comment

Filed under Economy, Leadership

11 Tips to Dampen the Flames in a Crisis

5(This article by Rick Dacri was published in the Maine Town City County Management Association July 2015 Newsletter)

If it can go wrong, it will. While some municipal managers may prefer to take the tact that a crisis will never occur on their watch, the more seasoned professionals understand that unfortunately, Murphy’s Law trumps. It is never IF a crisis occurs, but more likely, WHEN will the crisis happen. Readiness must include anticipation, preparation, mitigation and communication. Not having a crisis intervention plan is like driving 80MPH in the dark without headlights and not knowing there’s a hairpin curve up ahead. The likelihood of a safe arrival is quickly diminishing.

So what should you do to prepare? Here are 11 tips:

  1. Accept the fact that a crisis will occur sometime: Playing ostrich is not crisis planning. Prepare for what could go wrong.
  2. Anticipate what could happen: Plant closings, major fire, drug bust, or economic calamity. All require a response. While you can never anticipate everything (think Zumba), know how you would respond in a crisis and develop contingencies.
  3. Decide who will speak: Whether it’s the town manager or the mayor, or the police or fire chief, know who will be the face and voice of the community. Remember, the first rule of crisis management is knowing who is in charge. Have a spokesperson ready.
  4. Know your audience: Understand that you have many stakeholders who want to know what is going on and they want answers fast. Your stakeholders include residents, employees, elected officials, media, regulators and more. Ignore them at your peril.
  5. Understand your strategy and message: Know what has to be said and say it. Don’t wing it. Gather the facts. Get your message out quickly and be honest and transparent. At the same time, there will be times when circumstances will prevent you from telling all.
  6. Prepare for the media; Understand they have a job to do and they are not your enemy—or your friend. Be straight with them. Have a clearly identified spokesperson ready. Get your message out before they formulate another one. Put out a clearly written statement. Obviously, if you have created a positive relationship with the media before the crisis, your job now will be a bit easier.
  7. Utilize social media: People get their information, good and bad, through social media. Residents, the press and employees quickly turn to twitter, Facebook and your website for instant information. Educate your stakeholders in advance that this is how you get immediate and reliable communication.
  8. Talk to your employees: be clear about your message. Remember, residents and the press will likely seek out employees to get the “inside scoop.” Make sure employees know what to say.
  9. Don’t ignore emotion: You’re not a robot. Depending on the issue, empathy, sympathy, remorse and even anger is appropriate. If the town made a mistake, apologize. If the community was harmed, a smile will not be the best expression to show.
  10. Have a presence: Show that you’re in charge; that you’re on top of the situation. Be truthful and in control. If you don’t have an answer to a question, let them know you’ll get it for them. And then do it quickly. Never be wishy-washy or reticent.
  11. Communicate well: Frequent, timely and with clarity—that’s how you must communicate. In a crisis, people demand information. Without it they’ll fill in the blanks, often with misinformation. Remain out front.

Crises will always occur. How you handle them will either dampen or fan the flames. Preparation will minimize the potential chaos and will often generate you good will during a difficult period.

Other posts you may like:

  1. Municipalities: Top 10 Tips to Ensure the Board & Manager Maintain a Strong & Effective Relationship
  2. Succession Planning in Municipalities Assure Steady Flow of Talent
  3. Managing Your Career: 9 Musts for Continuous Success

Leave a comment

Filed under city, communications, crisis management, ICMA, media relations, municipalities, social medai, town

Executive Director Position Open, Northeast Public Power Association

help-wantedThe Northeast Public Power Association (NEPPA), which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is seeking candidates for the position of Executive Director. Reporting to the Board of Directors, we are looking for a dynamic, forward thinking leader with demonstrated record of successful business, utility or association management. NEPPA, located in Littleton, MA, is a private, non-profit association representing over 70 consumer owned utilities in New England. NEPPA provides a variety of services to its members including education and training, legislative advocacy, publications, and member representation and communication to its members on the activities of ISO-New England.
NEPPA prefers candidates with 10 years senior management experience in business, utilities, or association management, ideally in public power. The successful candidate will have demonstrated financial, management, project management and legislative experience; and the ability to work effectively and with transparency with its board of directors, members, employees and elected officials. The right candidate should possess a Bachelors degree.

This is a unique and exciting opportunity for the career minded manager, who thinks strategically, works collaboratively, listens attentively, and who can make tough decisions. NEPPA is facing some unique challenges over the next five years: a need to upgrade its training to meet the ever changing requirements of our industry and to provide the highest safety standards for our members; continuous outreach to our members ensure their satisfaction; and advocacy and education on issues, legislation and regulations affecting our members and industry. NEPPA desires an Executive Director who can hit the ground running, lead a vibrant team of employees, in concert with the Board and to provide fresh leadership to this highly recognized association.
NEPPA’s offices and new training facility is located in Littleton, MA. Littleton is a bedroom community west of Boston. It has an excellent school system and is close to nationally recognized medical facilities and has easy access to major sports teams, theatre and the arts, and outdoor activities including beaches and skiing.
NEPPA offers an attractive salary and comprehensive benefit package along with the opportunity to grow your career. To learn more about this position, call Rick Dacri, Dacri & Associates Executive Search, at 207-229-5954 or rick@dacri.com.

To apply, email your resume, cover letter and salary history, in confidence, by August 3, 2015:

Rick Dacri
Dacri & Associates, LLC
Executive Search
207-229-5954
rick@dacri.com

NEPPA is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Leave a comment

Filed under careers, executive recruitment

Massachusetts: Final Earned Sick Time Regulations

2000px-Flag_of_Massachusetts(Post written by attorneys from Fisher & Phillips, June 23, 2015)

On June 19, 2015, the Massachusetts Attorney General published the final regulations concerning the new Earned Sick Time (“EST”) law that will go into effect on July 1, 2015. These final regulations differ somewhat from the draft regulations submitted in April and provide clarification and additional detail to aid with implementation.

The Basics
Under the EST law, all employees in Massachusetts must be allowed to accrue and use up to 40 hours of EST in a calendar year, subject to certain conditions set forth in the law and the regulations. Under the previously announced “safe harbor” provision, companies that utilized a policy under which certain employees received at least 30 hours of paid time off as of May 1, 2015 will be deemed compliant relative to those employees and any other employees to whom the policy is extended on a proportional basis. Additionally, starting July 1, all use of time, whether under the law itself or under the safe harbor provision, must be job protected and is subject to the law’s anti-interference and anti-retaliation provisions. A summary of the law can be found here.

Key Changes And Distinctions Between The Draft And Final Regulations
EST May Run Concurrently With FMLA
The final regulations state that EST may run concurrently with leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act and other state leave laws. The draft regulations had stated that EST must be “in addition to” FMLA and other state leaves.

Additional “Travel Time” EST Use Added
The law provides four purposes for which sick time may be used: care for a physical or mental illness, injury or medical condition; caring for a close family member with such a condition; attending medical appointments; and addressing the effects of domestic violence. The final regulations add a fifth category: EST may be used for “travel to and from an appointment, a pharmacy, or other location related to the purpose for which time was taken.”

“Same Hourly Rate” Defined
The law states that EST must be paid at “the same hourly rate” as the employee would earn for their work. Given the numerous ways employees can be compensated outside of an “hourly rate,” the final regulations set out more specifically how this “same hourly rate” should be calculated:

  • hourly employees are paid their regular hourly rate; those who earn two or more rates are paid an average “blended rate” based on their previous pay period;
    salaried employees are paid a rate based on the total compensation divided by hours worked in the previous pay period. For exempt salaried employees working 40 hours or more per week, the employer can assume 40 hours rather than using actual hours worked. However, employers cannot make that assumption for exempt salaried employees regularly working less than 40 hours per week or salaried non-exempt employees;
    employees paid on a piece-work or fee-for-service basis must be paid “a reasonable calculation of the wages or fees the employee would have received” for the work if the employee had worked;
    commissioned employees, whether commission-only or base rate plus commission, must be paid the greater of their base wage or the minimum wage; and
    tipped employees must be paid the minimum wage.

Alternative Accrual Schedule
The final regulations provide Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Compliance

DOL Publishes New FMLA Forms

(This post was written by attorney Kai McGintee, Bernstein Shur on 6/10/15)McGintee

With summer right around the corner, the federal Department of Labor hasn’t taken off on vacation quite yet. Rather, the DOL has been hard at work issuing new Family and Medical Leave Act notices and medical certification forms for employers to use. The new DOL forms are good through May 31, 2018:WH-380-E Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health Condition. (Click for Forms)

WH-380-F Certification of Health Care Provider for Family Member’s Serious Health Condition
WH-381 Notice of Eligibility and Rights & Responsibilities
WH-382 Designation Notice
WH-384 Certification of Qualifying Exigency For Military Family Leave
WH-385 Certification for Serious Injury or Illness of Current Servicemember — for Military Family Leave
WH-385-V Certification for Serious Injury or Illness of a Veteran for Military Caregiver Leave

The forms are substantially similar to the DOL’s prior versions. The only notable change is that the DOL added a reference to the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act in its instructions to health care providers on the certification form for an employee’s serious health condition (WH-380-E). Specifically, the DOL added the following: “Do not provide information about genetic tests, as defined in 29 C.F.R. § 1635.3(f), genetic services, as defined in 29 C.F.R. § 1635.3(e), or the manifestation of disease or disorder in the employee’s family members, 29 C.F.R. § 1635.3(b).” Employers who use their own medical certification forms rather than the DOL version should be sure to add this instruction for GINA compliance purposes.
Although the DOL had at one time created a form for employees to use to request FMLA leave, that form is a thing of the past. Because no magic words, let alone a form, are needed to request FMLA leave, the DOL did away with its model request for leave form. Employers should remember that for foreseeable leave, an employee only needs to provide “verbal notice sufficient to make the employer aware that the employee needs FMLA-qualifying leave, and the anticipated timing and duration of the leave.” For unforeseeable leave, an employee only needs to provide “sufficient information for an employer to reasonably determine whether the FMLA may apply to the leave request.”
Once an employee requests leave, the employer’s responsibilities under the FMLA are triggered if it has “knowledge that an employee’s leave may be for an FMLA-qualifying reason.” As a result, when any doubt exists over whether an employee is seeking time off for a reason that could qualify under the FMLA, employers should err on the side of caution. If an employee mentions illness or injury as the reason for an absence, then the absence “may” be FMLA-qualifying and the Notice of Eligibility and Rights & Responsibilities should be provided to the employee. Although Maine has its own version of FMLA, the state has not developed its own forms. Accordingly, Maine employers who wish to utilize the federal forms for Maine FMLA purposes should specifically advise the employee that the federal form is being used for that purpose, and that mere usage does not confer federal FMLA rights. New Hampshire does not have a separate state family medical leave law and therefore follows the federal FMLA.
The DOL FMLA forms are simple, fairly straightforward, and legally compliant. As long as employers use them consistently and correctly, administration of FMLA will be a warm summer breeze!

Leave a comment

Filed under Compliance