Win-Win Program Offers Cash Rewards to Staff

Staff receiving their awards

Clockwise from top: Water Quality Monitoring Program employees, George DeGroot and David Sua receive their suggestion awards from their managers.

This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the District’s Employee Suggestion Program, which began with a goal of awarding employees who save taxpayer dollars and increase efficiency.

To date, more than $1.8 million of taxpayer money has been saved by employee suggestions. “This is truly a win-win situation for both employees and the District,” said Audra Owens-Powell, human resources manager. “It is a way to financially reward staff for their ability to improve efficiency, reduce expenditures and improve productivity.”

Eligible employees receive an award of up to 10 percent of the first year’s savings, or a maximum of $2,000, for their successful suggestions. As of December 2010, a combined total of more than $44,000 has been awarded to 42 employees as a part of this program.

Three recent suggestions have combined to save the District more than $56,000.

David Sua

David Sua, District surface water manager, developed the environmental resource permit (ERP) calculator computer program on his own personal time.

The ERP calculator program allows users to enter their own data online, compute the type of ERP application that is specific to their project and receive direct Internet access to the applicable Florida Administrative Codes. It will also assist them in locating fee schedules and will give all users direct access to the ERP application forms to fill out at the time of application.

Sua’s program was put into the ERP online system in October 2010 and saved the District approximately $5,950. He received a $595 Meritorious Service Award in appreciation for his cost-saving program.

Bob Brady, Tim Crosby, Stacy Joyner, Joel Durkee, Rik Mathias, Josh Kraft, Kendale Antoine

An Employee Suggestion Program form was received from Jason Hust, field technician supervisor, Water Quality Monitoring Program (WQMP) Section, on behalf of his employees listed above.

The WQMP uses meters to measure field conditions at groundwater and surface water monitoring sites on a daily basis. The accuracy of data collected depends on the appropriate calibration and maintenance of these meters. The District previously sent the meters to the manufacturer for repair, but now the WQMP staff has obtained the technical skills to perform these tasks in-house. In addition, the WQMP employees are making repairs to groundwater sampling pumps and water level monitoring equipment when possible to save downtime and repair costs.

As a result, the District has realized a substantial decrease in the cost of meter repairs. Cost reductions are due to reduced downtime and lower equipment repair costs. A breakdown of cost savings for FY2009 totaled $16,094. A $1,609 Meritorious Service Award was evenly divided among the employees.

George DeGroot

George DeGroot, District senior well driller, improved the efficiency of the Geohydrologic Data Section’s wire-line operations by reducing the time required to clear obstructions when coring through fractured rock formations. DeGroot did this by developing a process and tools that allow removal of obstructions from the core rods. This has been termed the Rock Bailer.

The Rock Bailer method uses the wire-line cable on the drill rig to remove the core rod obstruction in place, thereby negating the need to remove and reinstall the entire drill string, saving hours of drill rig and staff time.

As a result, the District realized a substantial decrease in the cost of core drilling equipment and salary. A breakdown of cost savings for FY2009 totaled $34,448.63. George received a $2,000 Meritorious Service Award in appreciation of his cost-saving suggestion.

Employees may get additional information on the Employee Suggestion Program by contacting Owens-Powell in the Human Resources Department at ext. 4713.