A Look at the Henrico Way in Action

“I was on the way home. My friend left me a voicemail: ’your house is on fire.’” Henrico County resident Walter Flanagan recounted the events of December 4, 2018, when he learned that his house suffered extensive damage due to a kitchen fire.

Flanagan, who lives on a fixed income and does not have home insurance, decided to stay in a tent on his property that night, despite the snowy weather.  The following morning, Fire Battalion Chief Henry Rosenbaum noticed Flanagan and spoke to him about his situation. Shortly thereafter, Rosenbaum contacted County Building Inspector John Butler, who acted right away to help Flanagan. Butler’s efforts quickly escalated into a community partnership between Henrico County, local churches, volunteers, and local businesses, all of whom assisted Flanagan in securing temporary housing during the holidays while his home was repaired – at no cost to him!

Butler recalls that his first goal was getting Flanagan out of the tent. “I contacted a couple of local churches and got him into a hotel; that was the first step in getting him out of the weather,” said Butler. Once he accomplished that goal, he held a meeting with the agencies involved in the project to see how they could support Flanagan.

Flanagan smiles as he recounts his story of the remarkable acts of kindness from Butler, local businesses, and the Henrico community.  Although a friend initially advised Flanagan to avoid talking to building inspectors, Butler quickly gained Flanagan’s trust by going above and beyond to assist him during his time of need. “Right away … he talked about what they could do to … help me. He just stepped up and started doing things for me. A bunch of other people jumped in … John was right there the whole time” said Flanagan.

Butler says he understands he can’t help everyone, but if people are willing to be helped, he wants to try his best to do what he can. Trying his best sometimes means finding creative ways to help others. As Butler explains, “People think about building inspectors in a very stereotypical way…but we have to be creative problem-solvers”, which he did after realizing Flanagan was on a fixed income with no homeowner’s insurance. Butler’s ability to creatively problem-solve even inspired his family to volunteer outside of work hours to help Flanagan. His coworkers also pitched in to help by cleaning Flanagan’s home and getting rid of belongings that Flanagan no longer needed. 

Butler’s actions fostered a friendship between the two and inspired an entire community to serve. However, Butler’s willingness to go above and beyond to assist Flanagan is not unusual for him. As he explains, “the Walter Flanagans of the world … we don’t want to be the exception in Henrico County … we want them to be the norm.”  Butler believes that there are a lot of people out there willing to help residents like Walter Flanagan, and feels it is essential to network and find the right people who are willing to help.

The outpouring of support from the Henrico community has moved Flanagan to give back. He now wants to donate his time to serve others saying, “For every bit of help that I got, I want to do the same thing for somebody else.” Flanagan never looks at his situation as overwhelming, and never feels like giving up. He says that his situation has given him a new perspective about people in need.

Butler’s actions are an outstanding example of “The Henrico Way.” During a Board of Supervisors meeting, County Manager John Vithoulkas beamed with pride as he shared the story during Manager’s Comments.  In his words, “[This example] Illustrates the amazing heart that this county’s government and our community have.” You can feel that sense of pride and gratitude when talking to Butler and Flanagan about the events of December 4 and all that followed. “I think that we are all very fortunate to work where we do … and live where we do …when the opportunity (presents itself) we have to seize the opportunity to do the right thing for our fellow citizens,” says Butler. For Flanagan, “the thing that I recognize in John and a lot of these people … [is that] it’s not the job that they are doing. It’s just them personally being involved … it’s a way of living.” And that’s exactly what the Henrico Way is all about: being personally invested in making a difference whenever possible for the residents we serve.

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IT Launches New Training Site

The Department of Information Technology (IT) has just released a new training and adoption site for all employees on various IT products. The goal of the site is to provide resources for employees with which they can engage and for employees to learn more about the products offered to them that can help improve the way their teams work.

Initially, the site will offer training resources for Office 365 and Cisco products. More training information will be added as it becomes available. Office 365 is a platform utilized by Henrico County for team collaboration and Cisco’s communication tools allow users to call, instant message, or meet with both small and large groups. Both are currently available to employees.

For example, if you want to learn more about the new productivity tool, Microsoft Teams, you can visit our Teams Product Page for more information. There you will find an interactive demo, training videos, and a direct link to the application for you to get started.

The following products are currently covered on the training site:

Office 365:  Outlook (Emails, calendars, tasks); Word (word processing); Excel (spreadsheets, calculations, graphs); PowerPoint (presentations); OneDrive (personal file storage); SharePoint (team file storage, collaborative space, sites and pages to display and communicate information to a larger audience); OneNote (digital notebook); teams (persistent chat and host meetings); Planner (project management-lite tool)

Cisco:  WebEx (online conferencing; audio, video, and screen sharing capabilities); Jabber (instant message and connects to phone system to make and receive calls)

As IT continues to develop the site, training and support will expand to more products used at the County. If you have any questions, please email [email protected].

Now, get training and check out the IT Training Site today!

Please note: Non-general government employees (Schools and Library employees) will need to request access in order to be able to view the site. If try and access the site and get the message “You do not have access” please click the “Request Access” button and IT will grant you permissions to view the site.

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Custodial Services

The Henrico County Custodial Services Section of the Buildings and Grounds Team in the Department of General Services is responsible for keeping the buildings clean, keeping bathrooms stocked, collecting recycling materials, changing light bulbs, keeping walkways clear of litter and debris and helping with room and area setups for special events and activities. These services are performed by a combination of County staff and contract employees depending on the building and time of day. The following chart shows a breakdown of how facilities managed by the Department of General Services are staffed for custodial services:

Employees working at the Western Government Complex (Administration, Administration Annex, Human Services, Purchasing, Risk Management and the Recreation and Parks Main Office) might have noticed some new faces and uniforms around offices and buildings. On April 1, the County welcomed Associated Building Maintenance as the new night cleaning contractor. We are excited about several changes to our scope of services and are working with Associated to get those changes implemented throughout our buildings.

As an employee in the General Services managed facility, you should expect daily in your office/work space:  all floors visibly clean and free of debris; exposed vertical and horizontal surfaces free of dust and debris; all trash collected and trash cans and liners clean; and any interior glass clean and streak free. There are some common issues or concerns that are reported.  These include some surfaces not being dusted at night.  Only exposed areas will be dusted, so if you have paper, equipment or personal items on a surface, they will not be moved to dust. Electronic equipment will not be dusted, including computer monitors, screens and towers. If you decorate your office seasonally, please keep in mind that those decorations may impact the ability to dust. Removing items from a shelf or desk (or moving them to one side) is a sign to cleaning staff that those areas need to be dusted.

If you lock your office at night and would still like to have it cleaned, please contact the Custodial Services Section at [email protected] and they will arrange to have County staff clean your office during the day at a time convenient for you.

There are also additional on-call services available by contacting [email protected].  These include:  deep cleaning empty offices; carpet and furniture extraction and stain cleaning; light bulb replacement; requests for tables (Administration Building only); additional trash or recycling collections; emergency clean-up of unexpected messes.  There are a few ways you can help:  please report spills immediately; please empty all beverages before disposing of them in waste bins; please don’t use water fountains to empty or clean food and non-water drink containers and please pick up staples and paperclips when they fall on the floor (once they have been walked into the carpet they become extremely difficult to remove).

We want you to feel that your area is truly clean every day when you come to work.  If there are any missed services please submit your issue as soon as it occurs to [email protected] or contact the Custodial Maintenance Superintendent at [email protected].

*Please note that all described services are available in General Services managed facilities. For all other locations please contact your facility manager.

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