December 31, 2009
In October, our agency launched the “You Save the Day” campaign. The initiative is an effort to empower employees to identify opportunities where intervention by our agency can help a business become licensed or, alternatively, help a business that is in danger of losing its license, keep its doors open. In this Bottom Line, I will share how more than 200 jobs were recently saved, thanks to the quick action of our employees.
In the “Save the Day” scenario, every division has a procedure under which, any employee, from the Customer Contact Center to the Office of the Secretary, is authorized to break the chain of command and either rectify the situation or bring the situation to the attention of someone who can fix it.
So far, we have had employees assist real estate brokers in getting their licenses straightened out to avoid laying off associates, employees assist casinos in opening their doors on time, and employees help restaurants and hotels in operation—all saving or creating jobs for Floridians.
The latest story is about two people who work in our Division of Regulation, Luis Solis and Jerry Wilson. Our agency is in charge of licensing and regulating farm labor contractors. We ensure that state and federal laws regarding working conditions for agricultural workers are enforced, and also that contractors who provide agricultural labor are licensed appropriately.
On the last day of November, a representative from Richard McKenzie & Sons, Inc. told our employee, Luis Solis, that he was unable to renew his Federal Farm Labor Contractor license in spite of many attempts to do so. Without a current, active federal license, the department could not issue Richard McKenzie a state license. Mr. McKenzie’s current license was due to expire the very next day on December 1st. Without a current, valid license, Richard McKenzie & Sons, Inc. would be out of business.
Luis Solis immediately identified the seriousness of this issue and personally called our deputy secretary for assistance. When informed of this matter, Director Jerry Wilson aggressively began working the issue. After many phone calls to the Department of Labor’s Atlanta Office and demonstrating a truly collaborative effort with DBPR’s Central Intake Unit farm labor processors, Jerry was able to successfully resolve this issue.
At the time the department became aware of the issue, Richard McKenzie & Sons, Inc. had nine farm labor crews comprised of 15 to 30 agricultural workers per crew and an office staff of 12. Without a valid state license to show to their Growers, this company would not have been able to legally conduct business in Florida. Potentially more than 200 people could have lost their jobs.
Through Luis Solis’ quick recognition of the importance of the situation and ability to go outside of his chain of command and Jerry Wilson’s tenacious problem solving, the Division of Regulation truly “Saved the Day” for this company and their employees.
As we find other employees who have taken immediate action to assist a Florida business, I will continue to share the stories with you. This cultural shift we’ve made at DBPR has already had the intended effect of helping Florida’s businesses.
On another note, soon we will be launching the 2010 “Why Not?” Spring Break Video Contest. It’s a contest where 14- to 20-year-olds are asked to submit 30-second videos on why they choose not to drink alcohol underage during spring break. We are currently seeking sponsors for prizes for the winners. If you are interested, please e-mail WhyNot@dbpr.state.fl.us.
In closing, I wish you a safe and happy New Year.
UPCOMING BOARD MEETINGS
There are no meetings next week.
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