Answers to Questions Asked and Submitted at the
BexarMet Employee Meeting at SAWS
Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011
The following questions were asked or submitted by BexarMet employees. They were answered by senior SAWS staff, including:
- Robert Puente, President/CEO
- Steve Clouse, Chief Operating Officer
- Kelley Neumann, Senior Vice President, Strategic Resources
- Doug Evanson, Chief Financial Officer
- Stacey Isenberg, Vice President, Customer Service
- Vice President, Human Resources
Please note, the integration of BexarMet will require knowledgeable, motivated, and experienced staff from BexarMet. While no one's job is ever guaranteed at SAWS or BexarMet, we will need BexarMet employees to help during the integration process and beyond.
Questions Asked in Person by BexarMet Employees
Will SAWS keep BexarMet employees who are protected ($50,000 or less) for only two years?
SAWS has no intention to lay off employees at the end of two years. All employees should focus on performing the duties of their job to the best of their ability.
When do the "two years" start? What about layoffs?
- They start upon DOJ approval. However, don't even think about that.
- All employees should focus on performing the duties of their job to the best of their ability.
Will you help the over $50K group?
Our goal is to work with this group and see how they fit at SAWS. We need to know what they do and how they do it.
What's your intention with Engineering and Inspections
We need you!
What's going to happen to the employees who were recently furloughed?
Furloughed employees are encouraged to apply for vacant SAWS and BexarMet positions. If we have openings, we are going to hire the best, most qualified people possible.
If a position comes up with SAWS, are we allowed to apply? Would we be considered?
Absolutely! You are encouraged to apply for posted positions. If we have openings, we are going to hire the best, most qualified people possible.
If you apply for a SAWS job, will you go on SAWS benefits? Will there be a waiting period?
Yes, if you are selected to fill a SAWS position you will receive SAWS benefits. We don't yet know if there will be a waiting period.
BexarMet has the best benefits (no cost for the employees); what about SAWS?
- We anticipate no immediate change in BexarMet health care coverage or employee contribution towards premiums.
- When BexarMet employees are integrated into SAWS they will be transitioned to SAWS benefits and cost share.
Will SAWS honor years of service from BexarMet; Vacation/Sick accrual?
- We will do what we can, but don't know enough right now to make a decision.
- There are different rules for Pension, Vacation sick leave and other benefits and all cannot be answered together with a single answer. We will have to evaluate each benefit individually and provide an answer.
We were just recently able to start using sick time for family. Will we still be able to do that?
Yes, BexarMet's policies continue to apply until the integration is complete.
How soon will we see a change in our pay?
- We will have to consider the BexarMet budget. Once we can get that information, we can figure out BexarMet finances.
- The sooner we can integrate, the sooner you can be moved to the SAWS pay scale.
Will we need to complete a new employment application?
No. There will be data we will need to collect from you, but we do not intend for current BexarMet employees to have to "reapply" for their jobs.
We've heard that people who used to work at SAWS wouldn't be hired back.
If you were terminated, or resigned or retired in lieu of being terminated, you will not be hired back.
When the merger happens, will there be cross-training?
Yes. We want you to learn as much as you can, and we want to learn about BexarMet. SAWS has an excellent training program for all levels of employees.
Will BexarMet be a special project and what will be the expectations of the special project?
- The law governing the integration specifies BexarMet is to be run as a "Special Project" until integration is complete.
- SAWS' goal is to integrate as soon as possible, and we believe there are certain functions that can be integrated quickly.
What would be the top 5 integration priorities?
People, people, people, people, people. If we work together, we can make this integration smooth and successful.
Has there been any discussion about the facility at Malone and the Southcross Service Center?
- There are things that we would like to change like the chlorine storage; there are safer places to keep it than Malone. (We were later notified that BexarMet no longer stores chlorine at Malone.)
- Once we begin integration planning, we can determine the best distribution of work crews.
- While there are some immediate improvements to be made; SAWS does not want to "move in and take over." For example, we would like to change the locks on facilities, but we will give you the keys.
- No decisions have been made about the Southcross location. Service Centers will be evaluated during the integration process.
Will we be going to Malone every day, or will we report to other areas where we're assigned (Northeast for instance)?
We need to learn about BexarMet to determine what makes the best sense. We will make the most use of natural opportunities.
What is the plan for the Southside Water Plant?
We've heard it's a wonderful facility, and we intend to visit it in the near future.
Can we start using SAWS contracts?
We are evaluating the answer to this question.
Questions Submitted in Writing by BexarMet Employees
Will our work hours remain the same? Example; Remittance Department 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (alternating) and 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. or later depending on payment updating and billing department. This shift does not alternate. Do you offer extended training for employees regardless of position?
SAWS will make every effort to provide training opportunities for all employees.
BexarMet has a location (sub-station) on the Northwest area right off Marbach Rd. Do you have any plans on re-opening the station for the customers? The Northwest area is growing and has a large development.
We will have to review this issue before formulating a decision.
Set a time to visit BexarMet.
Select SAWS staff members are currently visiting BexarMet, and this activity is expected to increase. We look forward to visiting and learning more about BexarMet.
Can someone who was just placed over a department because of the recent RIF give herself a promotion?
We will have to review this issue before formulating a decision.
People who are on FMLA and working, how will their transitions take place?
We anticipate no immediate change and we will fully comply with FMLA regulations.
I have ideas about our flushing program to be able to assist in whatever way possible. Is it better to apply to SAWS right now or when the merger happens, just rollover with company?
This is an individual decision. As position postings come up at SAWS, each individual will need to decide whether it is best to apply for that position.
What about the employees that are not protected by the $50,000 limit and are not management? If there are layoffs will there be notice periods or compensation packages?
Our goal is to work with this group and see how they fit at SAWS. We need to know what they do and how they do it. All employees should focus on performing the duties of their job to the best of their ability.