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Employee Communication Archive

Periodically OPP Associate Vice President Bill Sitzabee or another member of the senior leadership team will send out an email regarding policies, protocols, or to follow-up on a question or issue that has arisen. While these messages will continue to be shared via email, in News & Views, and in person, all messages will also be shared here for continued reference.

Delays in Utility Projects Populating in Online GIS System - March 11, 2019

It is the responsibility of the OPP Enterprise GIS team to maintain an up-to-date utilities map. However, if they are unaware of changes, updates may be missed or delayed.  Contractually, it is the responsibility of the contractor or architect/engineer of record to supply both the as-built and/or record drawings of any project updates to OPP.

Prior to the e-Builder implementation, there was not a standard process or place for receiving these documents, or a clear determination of who should receive a final copy of the updated records. As a result, it takes an extended period for the utilities changes to be populated in the online GIS system.

With the implementation of e-Builder, a standardized close-out process has been developed for all future Penn State facilities projects. Additionally, the Enterprise GIS team has been included in the review of the close-out process and is copied on any updated utilities documentation for projects that started after January 2019.

e-Builder is an owner-centric project management information system that is a one stop shop for all project team members to perform their daily tasks, as well as provide record documents to down-stream users such as Enterprise GIS. In addition, e-Builder can provide notifications to users for items requiring review or attention.

Moving forward, the Enterprise GIS team will be made aware of any utilities updates available and can make the appropriate changes to the GIS content in a timely fashion. It remains the responsibility of the contractor or architect/engineer of record to supply both the as-built and record drawings in a timely manner, and it is the responsibility of the Penn State project leader to ensure this occurs.

This has been identified as an e-Builder training topic for team members. Users (contractors, architects, engineers, project leaders) now have a venue to ask any questions of the provided process or system.

Physical Plant Facilities Game Day Reminder - Aug. 30, 2018

If you’re planning to attend games as a fan with family and friends, or are scheduled to work, it’s important to remember the following to help ensure a safe game day experience for all.

  • OPP facilities will be secured with entry via swipe access only.
    • Any guests entering the OPP facility should be accompanied by an OPP employee.
    • The OPP employee is responsible for the whereabouts of their guests while in the facility.
    • Alcohol is not permitted at any time.
  • Doors should not be blocked open for any reason.
  • All vehicles and equipment should be secured when not in use.

Thank you for understanding and for your attention to this issue.

Cell Phone Swaps - June 26, 2018

Due to some questions regarding technicians receiving a new cell phone when they change positions within OPP, we looked into the practice and wanted to provide the reasoning for why we do this.

The current policy, which requires a phone stay with a position when an individual changes jobs within OPP, was reviewed by team members from Buildings & Grounds, Administrative & Financial Services and ITS to determine if a change in process was needed. After weighing the pros and cons of the current policy versus changing it, it was determined that the practice of issuing a new phone should remain in place as-is. Key takeaways from this conclusion include:

  • Customer service is a huge component of our work. For example, if a customer needs to contact an Area 4 technician, they are always able to use the same phone number to contact an Area 4 technician regardless of whether the individual in that position has changed.
  • Device type is determined by position. A position needing a phone only for the purpose of contacting others requires only a flip phone, while a position needing access to Maximo requires a smart phone with internet access.
  • Supervisors and administrative staff have specific numbers assigned to their area for ease of service.
  • Cell phones can be thought of much like a tool. Just like a tool you are issued, a cell phone stays with the position and not the person when there is a job change.
  • Phones are assigned to positions allowing for the device to be billed out based on purchase and usage. Transferring devices can have a domino effect impacting multiple systems, processes and people across units.

Transferring contacts is one of the key challenges for employees when receiving a new phone. To address this challenge moving forward, the Payroll/Telecom office will transfer contacts from phone-to-phone using a Cellebrite device obtained from AT&T. This will make the process of getting a new phone much easier.

If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding the cellular phone swap policy, please reach out to the Payroll/Telecom office at opppt@psu.edu.

Thank you for your understanding and attention to this issue.

Colleague Consideration – June 15, 2018

In the last several weeks, there have been a number of hit-and-run incidents in the Orange Lots outside the Physical Plant Building. While the parking lots and spaces are small and full on a daily basis, it's important to pay close attention while driving to avoid collisions with other vehicles.

In the event that an accident does happen, which they sometimes do, please be considerate of your fellow colleagues and take responsibility for your actions by alerting the vehicle owner to the incident. Vehicles are an investment, repairs can often be expensive, and insurance is carried to help with situations like these.

Thank you for your respect and consideration of your fellow employees.

Outdoor Clothing – May 2, 2018

Due to some confusion regarding the issuance of outdoor clothing for some of our positions here in OPP, I wanted to provide some clarification regarding the Outdoor Clothing policy we have in place.

A large number of positions in OPP, ranging from landscapers to masons to custodial workers and more, are required to perform some or all aspects of their jobs outside regardless of the weather. In order for employees to perform their jobs more effectively in a variety of weather conditions, locations, and environments, and to provide consistent guidelines for determining what positions receive outdoor clothing, the Outdoor Clothing policy was created. The policy establishes three criteria for determining what positions may be issued clothing: 

  • Employees who spend a significant amount of days outdoors for at least 2 consecutive hours each day. (Ex. a groundskeeper who handles mowing, leaf collection, and snow removal.)
  • Employees who spend a significant amount of time outdoors for a period of the year (seasonally). (Ex. A custodian who shovels snow in the winter)
  • Employees who perform work outdoors where this is a risk of cuts and abrasions from the conditions in which they work. (Ex. A roofer who performs work on rough surfaces)

There is currently a supervisor-created list detailing what positions currently receive outdoor clothing, the type, and whether it is a shared pool of clothing or individual issuance. It is important to note the list can be updated should the need arise. Sometimes job requirements change and positions that previously spent little time outside may now require more time outdoors. When this is the case, supervisors should request a change to the list through their manager and director. In addition, some positions may require specialize clothing, such as high visibility gear. Requests for this type or any other type of clothing is subject to the same guidelines and criteria for issuance.

The Outdoor Clothing policy, which has been in place for 3 years as written, is available on Box, should you wish to review it. It further details guidelines for outdoor clothing issuance and its use. Please note PPE is separate from outdoor clothing. Outdoor clothing is not considered PPE.

Parking & Safety Reminder for OPP Vehicles – March 5, 2018

On Jan. 31, 2018, a notice was sent out requesting OPP vehicles be parked in designated OPP vehicle parking spaces in the Orange lots outside the Physical Plant Building. When those spaces are full, OPP vehicles are to be parked in the lot behind the building. This request is to help provide adequate parking for all OPP employees regardless of shift.

In an effort to also ensure the safety of OPP employees, when parking OPP vehicles in the back lot please refrain from blocking access to the snow removal platforms near the water tower (see photo below). With the likelihood of additional winter weather this season, OPP employees must have access to the platforms for safe removal of snow from the tops of their vehicles.

As always, thank you for your cooperation and for taking your fellow employees into consideration.

Park Ave Traffic Signal – March 5, 2018

In a recent OPP Safety meeting, a suggestion was made to change the duration of the of the green light for those exiting Stadium West between 3:30-3:45 p.m. to allow more time for vehicles to exit the lot. With the number of employees departing at that time, the duration of the light provides some challenges for both vehicles and pedestrians.

Park Avenue is a PennDOT road and the traffic signal is owned and operated by College Township. The intersection was last reviewed and redesigned less than two years ago in November 2016. The result of the review was a timing adjustment allowing pedestrians a head start at crossing Park Avenue while signals for all traffic directions remain red. This adjustment allows for increased pedestrian safety while balancing efficient traffic flow on Park Avenue. As a result of the previous review, PennDOT believe the system has been optimized, but future reviews to find an optimal solution to the issue are being considered.

Thank you for your understanding. Should there be future updates, we will share them as soon as possible.