NMSU homepage EH&S (home)

Meeting Summary

Communicable Disease Preparedness Committee
Previous Meeting

May 13, 2008

Next Meeting

(Note April meeting was canceled)

Meeting Summary

Members Present: Anne Hubbell, Katrina Doolittle, Tammy Anthony, Teresa Burgin, John Balog, Manuela Quezada-Aragon, Angela Arvizo, Lorin Gobble, Mike O’Larey, Nancy Baptiste, Rene Yoder, Mary Jaspers, Darrell Smith, Billy Dictson

Members Absent: Michael Abernethy, Teresa Brobeck, Maureen Howard, Leigh DeRoos, Stephanie Roybal, Susan Grotevant, Carmen Gonzales, David Pearce, Joe Palmer, Karl Hill, Esperanza Villanueva Joyce, Stephen Lopez ,Teresa Brobeck, Benjamin Diven, Ruben Torrez, Julie Weber, Hugo Vilchis , Jeff. Witte

New Members: There were no new members identified during this meeting.

The meeting began at 3:07 PM.

1.      K. Doolittle called for comments and discussion on HR policy drafts electronically distributed in March.   

Disaster Preparedness and State of Emergency Personnel Policy

  1. D. Smith commented that jurisdictional boundaries are addressed in joint assistance agreements in force between NMSU, the City of Las Cruces, and Don Ana County and the overall emergency response would be coordinated according to these agreements.

  2. K. Doolittle commented electronically and in meeting that as supervisors identify job titles in their respective operations that are designated as “essential” and “alternate essential”, the names of persons designated as such are listed on the Departmental Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP).  The plan should be updated when personnel changes occur and Katrina recommended this be the method of communicating “essential” designations to personnel.  She reminded the committee that the revised NMSU Emergency Preparedness Policy requires each academic and support function to establish and maintain a COOP.  The committee understands that the essential personnel designation may vary based on the nature and projected duration of a particular emergency situation.  K. Doolittle stated her opinion that there is no role for the CDPC committee in the approval of personnel designations as essential, alternate and standby but that the VPs and Deans are invested with the authority to designate positions in their business unit or college. 

  3. The committee agreed that the policy should distinguish between graduate assistants, post doctoral fellows, and if the positions are exempt or non-exempt for payroll purposes.  T. Burgin commented on the need to ensure the policy treats exempt and non-exempt personnel in an equitable and consistent manner.  (She then provided written policy comments to R. Yoder.)  She also commented on the need to train to the emergency procedures.  R. Yoder commented that training would be a local responsibility at the department or office-level.  K. Doolittle suggested an on-line training format accessible to all employees.  R. Yoder commented that the annual evaluation would be a good time to track completion of training.  A. Hubbell suggested a workshop format to train academic department leadership (Deans, Faculty, and Department Heads) to work through details for their respective operations.  R. Yoder repeated the need for all groups to plan and that each plan must be department specific.

  4. K. Doolittle stated the need to communicate inter-dependency among schools, colleges, and departments are responsibility of the Deans and Vice Presidents at NMSU.  She further stated a need to establish a standard of compensation for personnel participating in an emergency response capacity above and beyond their regular duties.  R. Yoder suggested a differential, or stipend or some other unique term be adopted to define this compensation.  She further suggested establishing a procedure whereby telecommuting plans be authorized on a fast-track process by the Provost office or Sr. Vice President, as appropriate in order to ensure a timely implementation that will minimize disruption to normal university operations.

2.      Telecommuting Policy : K. Doolittle stated that EH&S does not survey or inspect the home work environment for regulatory safety compliance.  R. Yoder noted the need to incorporate a rather rapid turn-around on requests to activate the work at home policy provisions to ensure uninterrupted operations.

3.      Social Distancing Guideline: There were no comments offered for discussion on this guideline.

4.      Update on mass notification system: currently personnel must “opt-in” to receive emergency messages on their personal or NMSU-issued device.  K. Doolittle suggested that essential personnel are required to “opt-in” to receive emergency messages.  R. Yoder noted that additional expense from a mandated emergency service would need to be reimbursed.

5.      Tabletop and Exercise on an Animal Disease outbreak at NMSU.  B. Dictson stated that an as yet unspecified foreign animal disease outbreak and response scenario is tentatively scheduled for August 26 from 9:00AM to 2:00PM.  The tabletop will be conducted in the morning and the exercise will move outdoors in the afternoon to test the responders.  He said to goal is to communicate to those involved how “messy things may get” in the event of a real outbreak.  When asked by K. Doolittle, B. Dictson stated that the Central Administration Response Team (CART) should be involved in the exercise and that first responders will have a major role in the proceedings.  He mentioned that roadblocks may be established to demonstrate the process for halting the movement of persons, products and animals in the event of a real outbreak.  He also stated that a summary of observations will be distributed to university leadership.  The potential for chaos and confusion was noted since the proposed exercise date coincides with the start of the fall semester.  B. Dictson said the exercise can be postponed to later in the fall, after the state Agricultural Fairs.  A. Hubbell said that an early semester date would be preferable in order to ensure faculty participation.

6.      Old Business: K. Doolittle commented that no new COOPs were submitted since the last meeting.  She noted that the Business and Finance Office, OVPRGSIP, University Communications, and Office of the Provost have yet to submit a plan.  She also stated that a letter describing the planning progress will be sent to the President in the fall. 

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday June10, 2008 at 3:00PM in the EH&S training facility.

The meeting adjourned at 4:16 PM