Simplifying Workforce Management Complexity

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Kansas City Strikes Salary Deal With Firefighter Union [Video]

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Aug 25, 2016 3:15:55 PM

Maintaining a full-service fire department on a tight budget can be difficult. One of the greatest challenges that municipal governments face is negotiating wage deals with labor unions.

If not kept under control, wages can overwhelm budgets. In Kansas City, Missouri, the city council just voted to approve a four-year wage deal that will give firefighters and ambulance workers annual raises of 2.6 percent. This is higher than what was initially budgeted in the city's five-year plan, and could be difficult to finance.

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Topics: Budget, Overtime, Firefighters

Federal, State Prisons Lack Adequate Staff Ratios

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Aug 18, 2016 9:38:00 AM

Some prisons are laying off staff members after states cut their budgets.


A lack of adequately trained staff members in correctional facilities harms performance in multiple areas. Personnel limits make it difficult for existing staff members to maintain order among inmates. The chance of escape increases, which poses a danger to surrounding communities. Finally, staffing issues can leave guards more vulnerable to physical assaults by aggravated inmates.

This is becoming a problem in all levels of government. For instance, last year the Washington Post reported that the federal inmate-to-staff ratio stood at 4.4:1, a number that many officials in the U.S. Bureau of Prisons considered to be too high.

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Topics: Corrections, Workforce Management Software

Public Sector Must Prepare For New FLSA Overtime Rule

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Aug 10, 2016 6:12:31 PM

The new overtime rule will require public departments to improve their scheduling management.


In the public sector, overtime can be a big expense, especially if enough isn't done to keep it under control. We've written before on this blog about how spiraling overtime costs are responsible for bloated municipal budgets, threatening service levels and leading to unwanted tax increases.

Could things get worse? If cities and towns do not rethink their current scheduling processes it certainly could. Inefficient scheduling can lead to unnecessary shifts, which can add up in short order. And soon, many municipalities will face a new test: At the end of this year, state and local governments will find that millions more employees will qualify for overtime.

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Topics: Overtime, Workforce Management Software

Boston EMS Sees Higher Call Volumes [Video]

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Aug 5, 2016 4:17:54 PM

When EMS agencies can't meet their staffing and funding needs, lives are at stake. In Boston, the city government responded to a surge of emergency calls by proposing more funding for emergency medical personnel. But officials still aren't sure why call volumes are increasing, or if demand will ever level off.

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Are Correctional Officers Prepared to Guard Inmates? [Video]

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Jul 26, 2016 2:09:37 PM

City and county jails hold thousands of inmates and occupy an important role in the criminal justice system. But while policymakers focus on improving the management of state prisons, recent audits suggest that jails suffer from serious problems that are not being addressed.

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Topics: Corrections, Staffing

Seattle Overtime Audit Shows Lack of Spending Control

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Jul 21, 2016 5:58:50 PM

A recent audit showed how the Seattle Police Department is struggling to keep control of overtime spending.


There are a number of reasons why a municipal department may experience escalating overtime costs. 

Sometimes, it's because the department is facing an unexpected spike of work and needs all hands on deck. Other times, it may be the result of a shortage of full-time employees. 

But there can be cases in which excessive department overtime is simply the result of ineffective scheduling processes. A recent audit of the Seattle Police Department suggests that it is one of those times. If it does not address this problem, the city could find it difficult to continue to provide residents with the levels of public safety services that they have come to expect.

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Topics: Scheduling, Overtime, Police

Electronic subpoena management saves time and cost [VIDEO]

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Jul 13, 2016 1:38:01 PM


In the courtroom, trials can stretch on for days. They can last even longer if law enforcement officers do not arrive at the appointed times. Orion's' CourtNotify web-based software has been closing these types of gaps for years now by automating the court notification process and tracking officer's court attendance.

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Topics: Courts, Subpoena Management

Overtime Costs – Key Factor in Budget Deficits

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Jul 12, 2016 12:01:27 PM

Excessive overtime pay could be widening your city's budget deficit.


If your city or town is facing a widening budget deficit, the culprit could be excessive overtime pay. Even in times of economic growth and rising tax revenue, many municipalities struggle to keep a lid on compensation levels while still adhering to labor laws and union rules, and providing acceptable levels of public services.

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Topics: Overtime

Report: DFW Airport Lacks Adequate Police Staffing Levels [Video]

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Jul 7, 2016 3:36:48 PM

As the threat of global terrorism grows, security experts believe that a strong police presence is necessary to deter attacks, especially in areas where large numbers of people gather. But some potential targets may not be getting the protection they need.

For instance, staffing levels at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport are insufficient, according to an internal police report. The airport, which is among the world's largest and serves more than 60 million passengers each year, has fewer officers patrolling its terminals than other major U.S. airports.

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Topics: Police, Staffing

Small Cities Plan for Regional Dispatch Center [Video]

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Jun 28, 2016 1:32:29 PM

When small, adjacent cities each run their own emergency dispatch centers, it can be difficult to coordinate public safety on a regional level. It's also expensive.

But in the metro Boston area, some cities are teaming up to consolidate their emergency response centers. For the past several years, the cities of Somerville, Medford and Melrose have been working on a plan to create one regional dispatch center that will serve them all. The agreement is almost ready to be finalized.

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Topics: Dispatch Centers

About Orion Communications

Orion Communications is a certified women-owned business enterprise headquartered in Dallas, Texas that has been specializing in workforce management software since 1998. As Public Sector workforce management and data interface experts, Orion is a unique provider of dynamically intelligence workforce management software. Orion serves agencies with complex requirements and improves workforce productivity using its web based AgencyWeb® system and consultative management services.

For more information, please contact Jackie Belasky at 214-361-1203, #2413 or jbelasky@orioncom.com.