Exclusive: DC 911 has lowest Covid-19 vaccination percentage of any city agency

Interim director's email to staff also highlights violation of workplace rules impacting 911 center's perfomance

Cleo Subido from OUC website

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Previously: DC 911 director’s blunt email highlights critical staffing & performance problems

In a Friday email, the interim director of DC 911 pointed out that less than 35 percent of the staff has been vaccinated for Covid-19. Cleo Subido says that’s the lowest percentage of any District of Columbia agency. Subido reminded Office of Unified Communications (OUC) workers that she will be monitoring to make sure those who aren’t vaccinated remained masked while on duty. That’s just one of several workplace issues Subido covered in a long and blunt message to her staff.

As previously reported, the email also notified staff that mandatory overtime was starting. This is due to only half the employees being available to work at any given time, leaving the 911 center below minimum staffing (that story here). For those who are coming to work, Subido was very clear about her expectations.

Subido described employees who feel they don’t have to follow rules meant for everyone. Among those rules, sitting at the specific work station for the job they’re assigned and not leaving the building prior to their shift ending. Subido shared the impression one new employee had about working at OUC: “I have never seen so many people so interested in not working and just using their day to visit or spread gossip.”

Subido also pointed out that she had to learn from me of a recent incident where a radio channel wasn’t answered for four-minutes. She made it clear notification must be made internally when problems and mistakes occur.

What I get from reading this lengthy email is that Cleo Subido is putting the interests of the public above those working at DC 911. It’s long overdue. The Office of the DC Auditor is in the process of taking a look at OUC’s persistent performance issues. If those investigators want to know what’s behind the long-standing problems of radios not being answered, delayed calls and calls sent to the wrong address, Subido’s email may be a good start.

Here are the excerpts:

Vaccination or mask

I want to let you know that I will receive a confidential copy of all vaccinated personnel so that I – and only me – will be aware of who should still be wearing a mask and who can go without one. Remember, if you have not been fully vaccinated you must wear a mask at all times indoors. Also, the OUC has the worst numbers in all the district agencies in terms of percentage of staff that’s been vaccinated. Please make sure you reach out for science information and not social media information – if you get your vaccines you get a day off and $51.00 if you do it in DC. Less than 35% of our employees have reported being vaccinated. If you’ve been vaccinated you are still of course permitted to wear a mask. We are following all of the CDC guidelines and will continue to do so.

Assigned seating

Dispatchers, I am ordering permanent signs for the consoles indicating the position – 1D, CW, 2D, Channel 1, 11 etc. Starting Wednesday, July 21st we will sit at the console we are assigned. If you have an issue with that, take it to your union. I am done. That’s where you will sit. If you refuse to move you will be written up and placed on administrative leave pending investigation. If you are insubordinate, you will be written up. I am not sure when it became ok to ignore directives but I promise you, I won’t tolerate it.

You can’t leave work early

There should be NOBODY leaving the building before 0615 am or 0615 pm. I am not sure how many times I have to say that but if I need to, we can go to a scanning system.

Special deals

Many of you have historical relationships that are causing you to use poor judgement. This is that last time I will talk about this in a group setting, any favoritism will be dealt with individually. You and I will treat each other professionally – USE YOUR CHAIN OF COMMAND TO REPORT THINGS, SEEK HELP, NOTIFY ETC. If you don’t know your chain of command, ask a supervisor to help you. For example, my Chain of Command consists of the Deputy Mayor, the City Administrator and the Mayor – in that order. That’s what chain of command means. No matter how much I’d love to have us working on a beach in Hawaii for 2 hours a day getting paid for 12, I can’t do it. WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO THIS DISTRICT AND IT’S PEOPLE. Forget the past discretions you’ve been allowed to have slip by – Those days are over. We are committed to following the rules and being transparent about it. Anything that gets in the way of us improving performance, treating each other with respect, providing our responders and constituents with the care they deserve, or meeting the objectives of our mission – I will handle without delay.

If you screw up, fess up

We had another situation where a radio channel was not answered for 4 min. yet I did not get a call about it – AGAIN, Mr. Statter was kind enough to inform me of what is happening in my own center. If this occurs again, any person that was aware of the incident and did not ensure I was immediately notified will be written up – I have asked for months – very kindly – and still, it’s not happening. This is a directive, if you do not follow it, you will be written up. Supervisors, inform staff of this often – I will not accept any less an I expect full cooperation. As you can see, my vision is clear. This agency and our mission is important and we will do what we need to do to take care of our District. We will be transparent, we will hold ourselves and each other accountable

Sorting out who wants to work at OUC

The employees of this agency need to remember why we are here….we are 911 and 311. We are here to serve the District and make money for our families right? Let’s just focus on that.

A new person, she’s not new to the District but new to our agency said – “I have never seen so many people so interested in not working and just using their day to visit or spread gossip.” That was embarrassing. I want us all to be successful – each one of us. When things turn around, and we sort out who wants to work here and who doesn’t, maybe we can start looking at more development opportunities so that people can advance and get the necessary skills to do something other than the job they have right now. I am looking forward to that time

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