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Commission recap 6-22-2021: Security upped as campsites filled to the brim

Grant PUD has increased its security patrols this season to keep visitors safe, as bookings for Grant PUD campsites have reached capacity or near capacity through October, Security Manager Fallon Long told commissioners.

Campsites are already fully reserved through October on weekends, Long said, and are currently at about 85% reserved on weekdays.

The combined effort of Grant PUD's own security personnel, contracted security company Star Protection Agency and the Grant County Sheriff's Office will help keep visitors safe and recreation areas orderly, Long said.

Vandalism and "suspicious activity" — a broad category that can include unlawful campfires, abandoned vehicles and people loitering — were among the largest categories of incidents reported from March through May of this year on Grant PUD recreation sites and other properties, she said.

A security risk assessment by an independent security consultant is expected to be complete later this month with recommendations for improvement and a contingency and mitigation plan. The assessment included on-site visits to Grant PUD recreation sites, substations, buildings and visitors centers.

The assessment is part of an ongoing effort to improve security throughout Grant PUD facilities through expanded surveillance, better ingress-egress procedures and awareness.

Hear the full discussion at 1:24:05 on the commission audio. View the presentation on pages 30-43 of the presentation materials

Commissioners also:

— Heard from Senior Manager of Operational Excellence Daniel Blazquez on efforts to make Grant PUD a more efficient organization with better customer service and employee satisfaction by combining three key areas:

  • Corrective Action to identify problems and propose resolutions
  • Continuous Improvement for better systems and processes
  • Human Performance Improvement to align employee performance with objectives and reduce errors.

The department is working on a host of projects, including a combined system for reporting safety and other incidents, so they can be assigned, analyzed and resolved. The new system will improve efficiency by replacing four, separate reporting systems currently in use.

Hear the full discussion at 2:52:10 on the commission audio. View the presentation on pages 66-81 of the presentation materials

— Received an update on Grant PUD's Safety and Health Improvement Plan, a roadmap to improve policies and practices for better health and safety of employees, contractors and visitors. Senior Manager of Industrial Safety Craig Bressan discussed progress on the utility's audiometric testing for those exposed to excessive noise and fit tests for those needing respiratory protection.

Bressan told commissioners that 2021 participation results of employees in both programs is at a 10-year high for the district. He said the emphasis to increase percentage of employees participating in both programs came after a review of an internal audit of how to better implement these safety protocols and that the department now has a program in place for the future.

The group is also transitioning craft employees involved in the COVID-19 antigen testing program to FDA approved home test kits. The at home test kits are now commercially available and have the same accuracy while being more cost effective than the initial testing kits used as part of the utility's COVID-19 antigen testing program. Antigen testing has been occurring among Grant PUD's craft workers since the beginning of the pandemic to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

See the full report on pages 17-28 of staff presentations and hear the discussion beginning at 1:00:05 of the commission audio.

— Heard from Senior Manager of Leadership and Organizational Development, Thomas Stredwick as he highlighted progress on the department's existing initiatives and discussed key projects to come in the remainder of 2021. The following were highlighted as part of Tuesday's discussion:

  • Bross Holland, Fleet Technician III, shared information about the utility's Commitment to the Code of Excellence. The Code of Excellence is a set of behavioral expectations for all employees and is derived from IBEW's Code of Excellence.
  • A wide range of training and learning opportunities that employees can utilize
  • Updates to the employee performance development tools that will further align the work of individuals with the needs of the organization.

See the full report on pages 44-65 of staff presentations and hear the discussion beginning at 1:39:40 of the commission audio.

— Unanimously approved the sale of surplus property to Chelan County Fire District No. 9 also known as Lake Wenatchee Fire and Rescue. Grant PUD originally acquired the 2.66 acres of land in 2006 to meet protection, enhancement and mitigation requirements of the Nason Creek and White River spring Chinook programs. With the construction of the Nason Creek Acclimation Facility on a different parcel of land, it has been determined Grant PUD meets its requirement for these spring Chinook program and the property is recommended for surplus. Read more on pages 9-22 of the commission packet.

— Unanimously approved a new 3-year contract with the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. The $3.5 million contract will allow for continued service of Fish and Wildlife to provide the operations and maintenance of the Priest Rapids Hatchery for the district's fall Chinook hatchery mitigation program. The contract will run through June 30, 2024. Read more on pages 9-22 of the commission packet.

— In a 4-1 vote, commissioners approved the purchase of 88.06 acres of property in Quincy. The $5.7 million purchase of the land will be used to house the future construction of the Monument Hill Switchyard, which is a key component of the Quincy Transmission Expansion Project. The Transmission Expansion Project will help serve the current and forecasted load growth within the Quincy area. The dissenting vote came from Commissioner Walker. Read more on pages 101-116 of the commission packet.