Focus Macomb Newsletter
Macomb Matters November 2020 Issue 72
- Message from Mark
- Employee Focus
- Employee Accolades
- New Hires/Retirees
- Department Spotlight
- Tree planted in honor of the late Zach Morisette
- A Q/A with the new Macomb County Public Defender, Thomas Tomko
- For Your Benefit: A Message from Andy McKinnon on the Dignity Campaign
- Perks at Work
- Reminder: Daily COVID-19 self screening questionnaire now in effect
- Providing support by keeping it casual
- Help the Health Department by making your voice heard!
- MMYH Ambassadors
- Paw Print
- Recipe Corner
- Event Calendar
- Blog Log
- News Nook
Message from Mark
As we enter the eighth month of the pandemic, I want to once again thank each of you for all you have done to maintain county services to the best of your ability. It has been an incredible battle and is one I know we all hope will end soon. As we continue to navigate these unsettled times, I want to encourage each of you to treat each other, and those constituents with which you interact, with dignity and respect. Our HRLR will be focusing on this theme in the coming weeks. Please watch this special video from Andrew McKinnon for more on this important theme.
Meanwhile, I hope you’ll all join me in celebrating the fact that Macomb County's response to the 2020 census topped the nation for counties with more than 500,000 people. We ARE #1! Special thanks to Ernest Cawvey of Macomb Community Action and the marketing team from Planning & Economic Development for making sure that Macomb County residents were counted. Learn more in this video.
In closing, tomorrow is Election Day. I hope you all go out and exercise your right to vote.
Thank you. Take good care of yourself and others. Together, we will get through this.
Sean McCarthy is the technical services manager for Macomb County Communications and Emergency Management. He has been with the county since June 1990, but his career in radio and technology began quite earlier, when he developed an interest in electronics in high school.
“I learned I could make ‘adaptors’ and outfit them in television sets to allow a very early version of premium content,” he said. “I also knew there were people that made equipment that allowed them to talk around the world, amateur radio, which I became involved in. Both of these interests had me signed up for electronics in high school where the teacher informed me of an aptitude I should develop. I guess the rest is history as they say.”
McCarthy went on to study electrical engineering technology at Lawrence Technological University and then worked in the radio electronics field specializing in two-way radio for commercial ventures. He transitioned to the public safety realm when he joined what was then the Radio Department for Macomb County.
“I manage Macomb County Technical Services,” he said. “My specific job is to design new systems, consult on projects and verify that my staff has the appropriate tools and knowledge to maintain our systems. I assist with repairs and projects as required. And I maintain communications with our neighbors to ensure communications are done in a mutually beneficial way.”
Notably, McCarthy maintains the largest portion of the statewide public safety radio system, known as the Michigan Public Safety Communication System, or simply MPSCS. Other major responsibilities include:
- The oversight of 15 tower sites, each with 18 radio channels, two of the largest and most modern dispatch centers in the state and roughly 4,000 radio subscriber units on that system.
- The design and implementation of fire station alerting systems throughout the county.
- The maintenance of electronics equipment inside of the police and fire apparatus for most Macomb County agencies.
- The maintenance and repair of electronics systems in the Macomb County Jail, the Juvenile Justice Center, the courts and various police and fire departments throughout the county.
All of this work and experience recently led to McCarthy’s appointment by Governor Whitmer to the Public Safety Communications Interoperability Board.
“I believe my background, and specifically, my role here at Macomb County, gives me an extremely pertinent set of skills and concerns for this appointment,” he said. “I have already worked with our neighbors, Detroit and Oakland County in particular, on some of the very interoperability concerns this board is designed to address.”
McCarthy’s appointment will run through April 2024.
“I am honored with not only the Governor's appointment, but the show of confidence the Executive's Office has supporting me,” he said. “I have often told people I have not regretted a single day with the career path I have chosen. To directly serve the public, through police and fire services, is as rewarding a career as one could hope for. It very much is a bonus that radio has become one of my hobbies as well. I hold the highest level Amateur Radio license, Extra Class.”
Outside of radio, McCarthy spends his down time running, biking and being an “internet junkie.” All of this is helping him prepare for eventual retirement.
“I’m trying to stay healthy so I can travel great distances by bicycle (bike-packing) in a few years,” he said. “I could see myself doing some RV-ing as well. My wife and I have two grandbabies outside of Houston. We hope to make that trip a bit more frequently than I do while working.”
Congratulations to Courtney Flynn, public relations manager for the Board of Commissioners office, on her completion of the Women’s Municipal Leadership Program, which is a five-part training initiative that gives aspiring women community leaders an opportunity to advance their skills and leadership abilities on the path to becoming strong local government managers. According to Courtney: “It was an honor to have been selected as a participant in the Michigan Municipal League's Women's Leadership Program. This opportunity afforded me the chance to further develop my skills in local government management and to develop a strong, diverse network of successful and driven women in the same field. In Michigan, and throughout the country, government infrastructure needs more women in leadership positions. I am fortunate to work in a forward-thinking atmosphere where female leadership is respected, professional development is encouraged and my skills are appreciated and utilized. Through the MML Women's Leadership Program, I gained additional skills in fiscal oversight, and negotiations. I learned operational strategies to streamline and improve local government. I am excited to continue working with the Board of Commissioners to help the county evolve and look forward to the impact this program will make across local government units in Michigan.” Courtney’s accomplishment was echoed by Patti Dibb, who said: “The Board Chair, commissioners and her staff colleagues are really excited and proud of Courtney. She's humble, she's a go-getter, devoted to public service, has a BA and an MPA, and wants to help advance the county as a whole.” Congratulations Courtney!
Career Planner Roy Taylor from Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works! was awarded a “Shining Star” Award by the Michigan Works! Association. Luann Dunsford, chief executive officer of the Michigan Works! Association said: “Roy’s co-workers describe him as the guy who makes work not feel like work. He continually promotes a fun and exciting energy with every project in which he is involved.” John Bierbusse, executive director of Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works! echoed those comments, saying: “Roy is among the first to help those who are the hardest to serve in the community. (He) is a dependable person to go to when certain tasks require attention, situations suddenly change, or a new idea is needed. With limitations on in-person meetings due to the pandemic, Roy was recently involved in the creation and recording of a Trade Adjustment Assistance orientation video and continually searches for best methods to offer service remotely.” Roy said he is honored to receive this award. “What an incredible position that came my way (career planner), as it has allowed me to meet, work with and for people from every path in their unique and incredible lives.” Taylor added: “I am so glad to be a part of the MCSETA Agency!” Congratulations Roy!
Congratulations to Court Administrator Julie Bovenschen, who received the 2020 Rising Star award from the Michigan Court Administrators Association. Julie has navigated the court through some large projects, including the multi-year, multi-million dollar campus renovation. She was also involved in the expansion of the court’s e-filing and SmartBench projects. While in office, she has welcomed new and additional members to the Bench. She was also presented with some unexpected challenges. Julie was a guiding force for the County Clerk’s office after a federal court removed Karen Spranger from her post as County Clerk. The most recent challenge involves the public health emergency, and maneuvering the courts to fulfill their constitutional duties while maintaining the safety of all who utilize the court system. When asked to comment on the award, Julie thanked Chief Judge Biernat and gave credit to the people around her: “I have an amazing administrative team who are experts in their areas and provide excellent guidance to the courts. The courts also have an incredible staff that supports our mission and goals. Over the past few months it has become even more apparent just how incredible this group of people are, the creativity and flexibility that they have shown to keep the courts operational is unimaginable.” Chief Judge Biernat expressed his appreciation for Julie and her team, stating: “Julie is a truly exceptional administrator. This award is a small recognition of the contributions she has made to our court system, and I look forward to many more years working with Julie. . . . And it would be great if some of those years are a little bit more boring!” Congratulations Julie!
Is there someone in your office who deserves a “pat on the back” for an outstanding achievement? If so, please let the Macomb Matters committee know about it! Email Maria.firstname.lastname@example.org with the details.
Click here for a list of New Hires/Retirees
Facilities and Operations is dedicated to keeping county buildings clean and safe
When COVID-19 hit the United States, cleaning and the acquisition of personal protective equipment were top of mind for many. From regularly sanitizing surfaces to wearing face masks, people across the country started making changes to their everyday lives in order to protect themselves and their loved ones.
Changes were happening in the workplace too. And here in Macomb County, that required the support of the dedicated Facilities and Operations Department (F&O), which in addition to their already full plate of responsibilities, took on extra cleaning measures and office safety projects.
“We service all county buildings, so 21 different locations, including the courts up in Romeo and New Baltimore,” said Lynn Arnott-Bryks, director of F&O. “We do regular dusting, mopping, vacuuming, trash removal - but now we have big areas of disinfecting. At minimum, we are doing that two times per day. And now we have fogging machines that just came in. Throughout this entire situation, we have worked closely with the county’s COVID-19 team to ensure we were following state and CDC guidelines.”
Arnott-Bryks oversees a 95-person team, which includes custodians, electricians, carpenters, plumbers, painters, heating and cooling professionals and security personnel (the Gray Coats). Some of these individuals, the custodians in particular, start their work days at 4 a.m., arriving well before other county staff to ensure workspaces are clean. Others work round-the-clock on new projects that will protect the county workforce from germs, including sourcing and building plexiglass barriers. Installing this type of safety equipment is an ongoing effort, as product has been scarce and F&O has a lot of requests for custom assistance.
“The one thing that’s pretty interesting about our department is that we can’t just work straight through on something until it’s done,” Arnott-Bryks said. “We can start a project, then something else comes up that needs our attention, so we have to adjust, prioritize and pause work if necessary. We really are juggling a lot of balls in the air at one time, but we are used to that. And when it comes to creating safe spaces for the county workforce, we want to install solutions that are presentable and durable. So even though we’ve seen some organizations hang up shower curtains between people, we aren’t pursuing that option. We want something that lasts and something that really keeps people safe.”
Managing all of these pieces is complex, but Arnott-Bryks has a dedicated team behind her making sure everything gets done.
“We really have dedicated workers and they are doing a great job,” she said. “We don’t get a lot of absenteeism. These people show up and I am so grateful for that. And together, it feels like we are really helping, especially right now. Which makes our roles pretty rewarding.”
In the next few months, the F&O plate will be quite full - with projects like an addition to the Medical Examiner’s office, the replacement of the seawall at the Marine Division boathouse, the installation of a new walk-in freezer for the Macomb Food Program and other ongoing COVID-19-related work. All of this means the F&O team will be busy, and in some instances, stretched thin.
“I would like to ask that people be more understanding,” Arnott-Bryks said. “We have a limited number of workers and we deal with illness and time off too. So this winter, when we’re shoveling sidewalks, and the trash can in your office is still full, maybe we just haven’t gotten there yet. I’d say that a little kindness goes a long way.”
The Macomb Matters team would like to thank the Facilities and Operations Department for their tireless efforts over the last few months.
Tree planted in honor of the late Zach Morisette
On Monday, September 21, 2020, Zach Morisette, a Macomb County Department of Roads worker, was struck and killed while working on a construction site on I-94. This was a terrible tragedy and we are deeply saddened by the loss of this young man.
To honor Zach’s memory, Jimmy Nagy, an MCDR co-worker, took up a collection to have a memorial tree planted at the Clinton Township Arboretum. Due to the generosity of his fellow employees, Nagy was able to have a beautiful Red Maple installed with a personalized plaque. The tree and the plaque are pictured here.
A Q/A with the new Macomb County Public Defender, Thomas Tomko
Q: Your appointment as Public Defender was recently announced. How many people work in the office?
A: The Public Defender’s Office includes myself, two staff attorneys (Adrian Cranford and Elisha Oakes) and a senior office assistant (LaTasha Newell).
Q: What is the mission of the Macomb County Office of Public Defender?
A: To operate, supervise and manage a system of providing court appointed counsel for indigent adults charged with crimes in Macomb County, and to competently, effectively and vigorously protect and defend the constitutional rights of our criminal clients.
Q: Why was this office created? And what is your role as Public Defender?
A: In 2013, the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission (MIDC) was created to address needed improvements in the provision of legal defense for indigent criminal defendants. The MIDC set forth standards with which funding units, which provide court appointed counsel for indigent criminal defendants, must comply. As part of compliance with the requirements and improvements to the indigent criminal defense system, Macomb County established the Public Defender’s Office in 2020. The Public Defender’s Office will have attorneys of its own who will represent indigent adult criminal defendants, and will operate the system of appointed roster attorneys. By having a Public Defender Office, the quality of legal representation is sought to be increased and the system will be run with the goal of being more fair.
Q: What work will this office pursue? Has the office already started taking cases?
A: Currently, the Public Defender’s Office will represent defendants in the 42-1 and 42-2 District Courts. As the department expands with additional attorneys, the Public Defender’s office will represent indigent criminal defendants charged with capital offenses.
Q: From your perspective as Public Defender, what is it like starting a new county office from the ground up? What challenges have you faced?
A: I started my position with the Public Defender’s Office just as the COVID-19 crisis was reaching its peak in March 2020. I was immediately responsible for building an office from the ground up, which included hiring staff, establishing an IT infrastructure, implementing learning systems and working with the courts on virtual hearings. Today, we are about six months behind where we might have been if COVID-19 had not occurred. We are moving forward and hope to be fully operational administratively by the end of the year, and at full operation with attorneys taking a share of indigent criminal defense cases by the end of January.
Q: Do you have any goals for the office? Where do you see it five years from now?
A: The goal for the office is to meet its mission statement and to be a leader among Public Defender Offices in the state. We look forward to being a positive resource for Macomb County Roster Attorneys and partnering with them to ensure criminal cases get fair results and to uphold the constitutional rights of our clients. The five-year goal is to have created a Public Defender Office with a strong foundation, built on sound systems, strong moral character and vigorous constitutional defense.
For Your Benefit: A Message from Andy McKinnon on the Dignity Campaign
During these unprecedented and turbulent times, we have had a lot of discussion in our office and with the County Executive on how we pull together and move beyond the current climate and towards a better future for all in Macomb. The one word/idea that kept resonating with us all was Dignity.
I wanted to share a brief video that introduces our Dignity Campaign, and over the next few weeks and months, we will continue to focus on this term and how it impacts our daily interactions. We look forward to working alongside you on this and we appreciate the Executive Office's support and encouragement to make this happen. We truly are a stronger County and Workplace when we are working together.
To watch the Dignity Campaign video, click here.
Perks at Work
Being a parent right now brings a unique set of challenges. Perks at Work now has an entire category focused on resources that can help you and your family succeed, including:
- Free Community Online Academy courses to engage kids during the day, help you care for yourself and have fun with the whole family.
- Employee savings on brands from childcare to workspace upgrades help save money while adjusting to your new normal.
For additional information click here.
Reminder: Daily COVID-19 self screening questionnaire now in effect
Macomb County has launched a daily self-screening questionnaire for employees, vendors and members of the public wishing to enter county facilities. It also lists COVID-19 symptoms and asks respondents to check off what they may or may not be experiencing. The questionnaire must be completed prior to entering a county building.
Please note - This tool was developed to assist county leaders in keeping facilities safe and secure and in accordance with CDC guidelines and the Governor's Executive Orders. All information gathered through the digital tool is kept confidential. Access the questionnaire here.
Providing support by keeping it casual
The Macomb County Casual Day Charitable Collections Program will continue into 2021 with an added focus on the selected charities. With an increase in the number of county employees working remotely, we are asking each department to embrace a selected charity and serve as a champion for it during its selected month. This means continuing to donate funds in honor of those casual days, whether it be in the office or at home, and also increasing awareness on the missions of selected charities. In some ways, the pandemic has caused our lives to become a little more casual and the Board of Commissioners wants to ensure the charities chosen to be a part of the 2021 program benefit from this.
To be considered as a recipient for Casual Day collections, written requests must be submitted to the Board Office no later than Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. All requests should meet the eligibility criteria listed below and be written on letterhead from a designated official of the charity and must be accompanied by a current 501(c)(3) certificate and solicitation license from the State Attorney General’s Office. Also, the submission letter should include if the organization has received CARES funding.
- Charities requesting consideration for casual day funds must be a registered non-profit 501(c)(3).
- Macomb County government internal programs shall be exempt from the 501(c)(3) requirement.
- Charities do not need to be located in Macomb County, but must serve Macomb County residents.
At the end of the year, collection totals for each charity will be announced at a special Full Board meeting where the charities and department representatives will be invited to share information on each organization and its meaning to each department and the community. We look forward to continuing to help charities that serve Macomb County residents through donations and now an increased effort in spreading awareness of the selected charities, deepening their impact in Macomb County.
For more information on the program click here.
And, while the Board is seeking nominations for the 2021 Casual Day recipients, we continue to collect funds for the remainder of the 2020 charities. For the months of November and December the following charities have been selected:
Friends of Foster Kids
November 6, 13, 20, 25
This Macomb County non-profit works to address and help underserved children in the foster care system in the community. In Macomb County alone, there are about 900 children in foster care each year, many of whom have never experienced the joy of receiving a gift at Christmas. This organization helps provide a “Christmas” for those children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect and placed in temporary housing or shelters. This organization also helps those who have aged out of foster care at age 20 but are still in need of assistance.
December 4, 11, 18, 23
Care House is the only agency in Macomb County that provides a comprehensive and coordinated response to child victims of sexual and physical abuse. The mission of the organization is to prevent and reduce the incidence and trauma of child sexual and physical abuse in Macomb County through collaborative, multidisciplinary and effective family-centered activities.
Help the Health Department by making your voice heard!
Healthy Macomb, a partnership between the Macomb County Health Department (MCHD) and over 20 organizations and agencies in Macomb County, has launched a county-wide survey to hear the needs and priorities of community members. And as a Macomb County employee, that includes you!
Everyone who lives, works and plays in Macomb County is encouraged to complete the survey at https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/5698762/mcchs-mmn. The survey takes 5–10 minutes to complete and is available in English, Spanish and Arabic. By taking the survey, community members throughout Macomb County have the opportunity to tell county organizations how to make Macomb County a healthier place for their families and their communities.
The Macomb County Community Health Survey is part of the 2020 Community Health Assessment (CHA), a process that aims to understand the greater health and well-being of Macomb County. The first CHA in Macomb County was completed in 2016. Healthy Macomb organizations will continue to gather community member input in the coming months, with the goal of completing the CHA in early 2021.
To learn more about Healthy Macomb, the CHA process, or how community member input is used to improve the health and well-being of Macomb County, you can visit cha.macombgov.org. And if you’re able, please share this survey with your friends, family and community.
MMYH Ambassadors - Flu shots offered at the Health Department
Welcome back to the MMYH Ambassadors column! This edition will feature an important service offered by the Macomb County Health Department: Flu vaccinations. Let’s get started.
The Macomb County Health Department (MCHD) announced last month that it will operate two new drive-through flu immunization sites in Macomb County – in Mount Clemens and in St. Clair Shores. If you haven’t already, please consider getting vaccinated and sharing this resource with your friends, family and network.
“Obtaining an annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help protect you and your family against flu, and reduce the risk of flu illness,” said William Ridella, director and health officer of Macomb County Health Department. “The convergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the flu season makes flu vaccinations absolutely critical to local efforts to help avoid potentially dangerous pressure on our health care system, hospitals and community.”
Flu immunizations will be available in Mount Clemens in the parking lot of the former Macomb County Juvenile Court Building located at 380 North Rose, Mount Clemens, MI 48043. The site will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Appointments are required.
Flu immunizations will also be available in St. Clair Shores in the parking lot of the Macomb County Southeast Family Resource Center located at 25401 Harper Ave., St. Clair Shores, MI 48081. The site will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Appointments are required.
To make an appointment at the Mount Clemens or St. Clair Shores immunization sites, call (586) 469-5372 or (586) 465-8537, Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m
Now - think you’re ready to complete the ambassador quiz? Click here to get started and stay tuned for the next issue, where we’ll cover a new topic.
Pictured: Sgt. Stubby
Greetings from Chief Randazzo!
November 11 marks Veterans Day. We are indebted to our veterans for the freedoms we enjoy, and sometimes maybe even take for granted. The sacrifices made by our service men and women, and their families, are invaluable. They need, and deserve, our gratitude, and support.
I would like to introduce you to Sgt. Stubby, who served in World War I. He trained with the 102nd Infantry Regiment at Yale University. He traveled to France, where he was exposed to mustard gas. He developed a keen sensitivity to the fumes, and because of that, was able to warn his comrades of imminent attacks. One of his jobs was to locate wounded soldiers during patrol. And once, while on patrol, he spotted a German spy. He held the spy at bay until reinforcements arrived, which is actually what earned him the rank of sergeant. Sgt. Stubby participated in 17 battles, and survived a series of wounds. Upon his return to the States, he became a national icon. Sgt. Stubby, a pit bull mix, received awards until his death in 1926.
Dogs often wander into the lives of soldiers, and change their lives forever, both on and off the battlefield. There is ample evidence that many veterans, upon leaving service, need assistance to overcome the challenges of reintegrating to civilian life. Many veterans benefit from having a furry partner to cross that divide with them. Macomb County Animal Control supports veterans by partnering with Pets for Patriots. You can read about some of the ways Pets for Patriots supports both veterans and animals through their adoption services by clicking here.
Take care and stay safe.
Roasted Garlic Cauliflower
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 head cauliflower, separated into florets
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
Mix the garlic and olive oil in a large sealable plastic bag. Add the cauliflower and shake to mix. Grease a large baking dish and place the content of the plastic bag in the baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Bake at 450 degrees F. for 15 minutes, then toss in the pan. Bake an additional 10 minutes and then sprinkle the parmesan cheese on the top. Broil for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.
- Makes 6 servings. Nutritional Value per serving:
- Calories 118
- Fat: 8.2 grams
- Sodium: 111 milligrams
- Carbohydrates: 8.6 grams
- Protein: 5 grams
The Macomb Matters Committee would like to thank the hard-working staff at MSU Extension for their recipe contributions. For more information about the programs MSU Extension offers, please visit https://msue.macombgov.org/MSUE-Home.
Recipe Credit: Oakland County MSU Extension
New! Be sure to check out the new calendar feature on InsideMacomb, our intranet homepage.
Make Macomb Your Home also maintains a comprehensive calendar of community events. Be sure to check it when you are looking for ways to enjoy Macomb with friends and family:
Macomb County COVID-19 Testing
Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays; 9 am - 3 pm
80 Rose Street, Mount Clemens, MI 48043 (Drive-thru site)
No appointment is necessary.
The test is free, no prescription is needed and you do not need to have symptoms.
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