Thursday, May 7, 2020

Ask your County Supervisors about Chuck Huckelberry's premature call to return to work

On May 4th, 2020 the Pima County Administrator, Chuck Huckelberry, emailed a memo to county employees, demanding they return to work. You can find the “Return to Work Guidelines” memo here:

It appears the Pima County Supervisors were not consulted prior to the memo distribution to employees (the memo is actually addressed to Supervisors). It does not appear the "Business and Employee Health and Wellness Task Force," set-up by Huckelberry to map out a safe reopening of businesses, was consulted or notified prior to the memo's release. The memo is dated May 4 and the Task Force didn’t have an official meeting until today. You can check out the members of the Health and Wellness Task Force here:

The membership certainly reflects a Who’s Who of local business interests, but for a “health and wellness” group it seems strange there are no frontline healthcare workers, health scientists, epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists, occupational health experts, teachers, or directly impacted community-members.

We are concerned Administrator Huckelberry has acted unilaterally and prematurely, and that his recommendations put county employees at increased risk. Pima County is the ninth largest employer in Tucson, with over 6,000 employees. The memo ignores important realities for county employees who are parents or caregivers; without school, summer camps, day-cares and other resources available, the administrator is forcing employees to choose between their children and loved-ones and returning to work. It is alarming to see these restrictive and punitive policies outlined in a memo that shows no concern for the difficult circumstances county employees and their families are facing.

Find which Supervisor District you live in here:

Ally Miller,, (520) 724-2738
Ramon Valadez, Chair ,(520) 724-8126
Sharon Bronson,, (520) 724-8051
Steve Christy,, (520) 724-8094
Betty Villegas,, (520) 724-8126.

To help ensure our county employees' health and welfare is protected, we encourage you to contact your County Supervisors with the questions below.

1. Did the Supervisors review and provide input into a draft of this memo? What alternative proposals were considered? Who is advising the Administrator on return to work strategies? What health professionals and infectious disease experts are included in the advisory task forces? What community members and workers are included? Why would Huckelberry require a return to work when the Business & Employee Health & Wellness Task Force hasn’t even had their first meeting?

2. What health data is being considered?
Why isn’t a phased and flexible approach the main strategy? The memo is contradictory in saying departments may use a phased in approach, but then saying all tele-work employees must return to work, at the in-person workspace, immediately.

3. Were the benefits of tele-work to employees, the county, and the community discussed and considered? Many employees can effectively work from home and by decreasing the in-person workforce they contribute to the safety of other employees whose jobs require their physical presence.

4. Other major employers are continuing to require tele-work for employees who are able to do so. Why has Huckelberry decided differently?

5. Why is Huckelberry requiring employees to reveal private personal medical information about themselves or their family in order to continue to tele-work? Why are county employees being required to seek out healthcare (to get a physician note) when physical distancing guidelines are still recommended?

Image: Titled “Has Chuck Huckelberry Gone Rogue?”
Photo of Chuck Huckelberry by Rick Wiley Arizona Daily Star with a list of the Pima County “Business & Employee Health & Wellness” task force members that includes all the Chambers of Commerce, members of the Chambers of Commerce, Downtown Business Alliance, etc.

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