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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Save the Date…

Come out to the POWERING YOUR WELLNESS THROUGH HEALTH employee wellness fair on Wednesday, May 15 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Administration Building Courtyard.

A vibrant workforce exists when employees are healthy. The everyday choices you make can help you live healthier, happier and more fulfilling lives – both at work and at home. Through our Power Henrico wellness initiative, the County is holding an employee wellness fair to provide you with information, tools and resources to help improve your health and well-being.

In addition to a variety of vendors covering health and fitness, financial planning, active aging, cancer prevention and blood pressure screenings, the wellness fair provides attendees with fun fitness activities including tips and tricks for implementing a healthier lifestyle:

  • Participate in the Courtyard Loop Scavenger Hunt for a chance to win prizes:
    • Have your blood pressure checked by Employee Health Services
    • Schedule an appointment with a Primary Care Physician
    • Learn more about saving for your retirement
    • Challenge your co-workers to a game of corn hole
    • Put on your dancing shoes for a mini Zumba workout

Please see the POWERING YOUR WELLNESS THROUGH HEALTH flyer for more information or contact the Fitness and Wellness Division of Human Resources at 501-7556.

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Recycling on the Job

Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products. The waste we generate in the workplace has a huge impact on our community and the environment.  First, it is best to reduce the amount of waste we generate and then reuse items as much as possible.  The next best step is to recycle materials to extend the life of those resources and reduce the amount of waste we send to our landfills.

We often have the best intentions when it comes to recycling and that is the first step.  Contrary to popular belief, it is not best to “just throw it in there and let them sort it out.” Not only is there a substantial cost to sorting out non-recyclable material, sometimes it cannot be done and everything in the load becomes trash. If you want to do your part regarding recycling, it is important to know what is and is not allowed as well as to properly clean out any food containers prior to recycling them. If this seems daunting, don’t worry, we are here to help! Below you will find information on what you can and cannot recycle, how recycling works in county facilities managed by General Services and how we can help with bulk recycling.

What can I recycle?

Before you recycle anything make sure that it meets the following parameters:  Is completely clean of all food particles? Is it dry?  If you answer “no” to either of these questions then it is trash.


  • Beverage Bottles (Replace plastic cap, after rinsing!)
  • Clear Take-out Containers (NO Styrofoam)
  • Plastic tubs (such as clean yogurt or sour cream tubs)


  • Any office paper (without food contamination), including paper with tape or staples
  • Newspaper
  • Envelopes (including those with clear plastic windows)
  • Junk Mail/Brochures/Magazines
  • Cartons such as milk, juice, or soup cartons, rinsed and with cap replaced


  • Aluminum beverage cans
  • Food Cans

*Metal jar lids not accepted


  • Flattened cardboard boxes
  • File Folders
  • Poster Board
  • Frozen food boxes


  • Bottles and Jars (the lids are NOT accepted)

What cannot be recycled?

These items are not accepted in county recycling containers: plastic bags (these can be recycled at retail or grocery stores); cords, wires, chains, hoses, and other “tanglers”; hazardous material containers; Styrofoam containers; and any item with food on it.

Where can I recycle?

Recycling Paper Products

All acceptable paper products can be placed in the small blue personal cans located at desks and in conference rooms, as well as in the larger blue toters located in office areas.  General Services staff empty the blue toters once a week (Wednesday or Thursday).  If you notice your blue toter is full please feel free to contact us at [email protected] and we can schedule additional pick-ups.

Cardboard Recycling

Please make sure all boxes are broken down as much as possible.  Small cardboard items can be placed in the blue toters or the large mixed cans.  If you have large boxes or a large amount, contact General Services at [email protected] with your location and the amount of cardboard that you have.  Make sure that your recycling is clearly identified and separated from anything that you wish to keep.

Metal/Glass/Plastic  Recycling

Make sure that everything is cleaned of any food and dried.  Metal/glass/plastic can be disposed of in the large mixed recycling cans located around County facilities in corridors and common areas.  Please make sure that items are individually placed in the container and not inside another bag of any sort.  Please do not recycle metal, glass, or plastic in the office area paper bins and toters.

Bulk Recycling

If you have or anticipate having a large amount of recycling please contact General Services at [email protected].  Additional cans or pickups can be arranged with proper notice.

Please note that the collection information is applicable to General Services managed facilities. For facilities not managed by General Services, please contact your facility coordinator for the process in your building.

If you have questions about recycling at home, please call CVWMA at 340-0900 or Keep Henrico Beautiful at 501-7277.

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Family Plan- Best Value in Region

Henrico County takes pride in offering a variety of attractive, affordable benefit plans and options to our employees. From offering four healthcare plan options to three dental coverage options and now additional voluntary benefits, we are committed to providing you and your family with high quality benefit options while giving you the best value possible.

Henrico County proudly offers employees best in class value when compared to our neighboring counties. For the first time in many years, our family plan is now the least expensive in the region. Our most popular family plan total cost is $1,927.18 per month. Of that cost, the County pays $1,271.36 and the employee only pays $655.82 per month. While most employers would easily push more of the cost to employees, our employees are paying less than 35% of the total cost in their premiums.   We work diligently to ensure our employees are getting the most value out of the plans we offer without overpriced premiums and heavy out-of-pocket expenses.  The following is a comparison of family plan costs in our region: 

In addition to our core benefits, Henrico County encourages, supports, and provides employees with an assortment of resources to lead a healthier and happier life. These resources include on-site gym facilities and discounted community gym opportunities, group exercise classes, individualized health counseling, tuition reimbursement, financial wellness opportunities and professional and personal development learning opportunities. We continuously strive to give employees an array of valuable, practical options to attain and manage their overall health and well-being. Check out Power Henrico for a one-stop goldmine of information on these services and more!

We appreciate and thank YOU for all your hard work, commitment, and dedication to enhancing the quality of life for all our residents!

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Get into a Wellness State of Mind

The way you think about your health and wellness plays a role in the action you take toward living a healthier lifestyle. If you prioritize your health, you’ll develop a “wellness state of mind.” You’ll think first about making the healthiest choices when it comes to food and physical activity.

Before you begin to make changes to your lifestyle, knowing where you are in your journey toward total health and wellness is important. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Why do I want to make changes now? What is my goal?
  2. How ready am I to make this change? If you can, quantify your readiness by rating yourself on a scale from 1 (not ready at all) to 5 (very ready).
  3. Am I willing to try new, healthier foods?
  4. Do I want to get more active or change my physical activity?
  5. Do I understand that change is a gradual process that takes time, patience and daily action?

Your answers will tell you if you’re ready to change your lifestyle and create lasting changes. If so, you’re in the right state of mind to power forward. Your new wellness mindset will help you become more focused on and conscious of your choices.

Embracing a healthy way of living for permanent, lasting changes is vital for creating improved health and wellness. Adding beneficial foods, creating new behaviors and fostering a sense of responsibility to improve the quality of your life. Keep the following three principles in mind for achieving behavior change that can lead to renewed energy, balance and healthy body weight.

  1. Balance your diet with foods from all food groups (vegetables, fruits, whole grains, plant and animal sources of lean protein, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products) to sustain health, energy and well-being.
  2. Get active every day with enjoyable movement. A few examples include walking, jogging, running, biking, hiking, swimming, stair climbing, dance, Pilates, yoga, or tai chi.
  3. Make your mental health a priority by fostering a positive attitude. Your mind plays a large role in your health and your relationship to what and how you eat and drink.

In April and continuing into May, employees can participant in the County’s Annual Wellness Screening in return for a $100 financial incentive. More information is available on the Power Henrico website with access to the on-line appointment scheduler.

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Increasing Happiness and Wellbeing

March is Happiness Month, and March 20th is the International Day of Happiness. Why would a whole month be dedicated to happiness when sometimes it feels like there’s nothing we can do about our levels of happiness? It turns out that we can all take steps to increase our happiness, and doing so profoundly impacts our lives.

When asked what they want most out of life, people put happiness at the top of their lists, and eight out of ten Americans report thinking about their happiness at least once a week. So: are we happy? Fifty-four percent of American adults are moderately well when it comes to their emotional wellbeing, yet not flourishing. Many of us lack enthusiasm for life and are not actively and productively engaged with the world.

So what is happiness and how do we create more of it in our lives?

Happiness is a deep sense of flourishing that goes beyond fleeting pleasurable moments. It refers to “our personal experience of joy, contentment, engagement, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that our life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile,” according to Sonja Lyubomirsky, psychology professor and author of The How of Happiness.

And happiness isn’t just about personal gratification. It leads to success in nearly every domain of our lives, including marriage, health, friendship, community involvement, creativity, our jobs, and our organizations. If we observe genuinely happy people, we find that they do not just sit around being contented. Instead, they make things happen; they pursue new undertakings and seek new achievements; and they have influence over their thoughts and feelings rather than being controlled by them.

The good news is that advances in the field of happiness studies are now solid and rigorous enough to translate into specific recommendations for people. Enjoying a real increase in our happiness levels is attainable!

The science of happiness suggests that what we DO and how we THINK affects our happiness despite the effects of our genetic makeup and the circumstances in which we find ourselves. If an unhappy person wants to experience enthusiasm, contentment, peace, and joy, that person can make it happen by engaging in specific techniques that have a powerful influence on happiness.

Just some of these techniques include:

  • Counting blessings and expressing gratitude
  • Avoiding overthinking and social comparison
  • Practicing acts of kindness
  • Developing strong, nurturing relationships
  • Committing to significant, meaningful goals
  • Learning to forgive and letting go of anger and resentment
  • Taking care of our bodies by engaging in physical activity and meditation

For more about these techniques and others, check out this link to the International Day of Happiness where you can receive resources and tips for increasing your happiness (you need to sign up with your name, email, and location – it takes less than a minute).

Power Henrico is all about taking charge of our health and well-being, and happiness is a key part of doing just that. If this is a topic you’re interested in exploring more deeply, be sure to check out the new Training Catalog on July 1 and sign up for the class, “Happiness: Proactive Steps to Improving Your Well-being,” as well as several others that support our resilience and well-being.

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Charting His Own Course

Starting in July of 2018, Eric Leabough took on the new role of Henrico County’s very first Housing Specialist and has not looked back. Leabough is no stranger to the County as he worked for Henrico 14 years ago. However, after leaving to work for the State, he is back with a passion to lead strategic efforts in addressing challenges presented by the aging housing stock in Henrico. “There is no box, lets be different and innovative,” said Leabough. His desire to affect change is evident, and his experience and background has allowed him to hit the ground running.

In a little over six months Eric has represented the County in a multitude of ways. From being a policy adviser to the County Manager surrounding affordable housing and revitalization, to representing the County on regional housing efforts, his position allows him the opportunity to facilitate interdepartmental communication as well as external partnerships. He is currently focused on recognizing the needs of our more mature areas as well as making sure we have diverse and mixed income communities to represent all of Henrico. Ensuring that owners of these mature properties have the tools they need to continue to make investments in their property so that they do not become poor living conditions for themselves or future citizens of the County is a key effort for Eric. “Giving people hope that quality housing opportunities exist is what I want to see,” said Leabough. One way has been through leveraging the tools that have already been put in place by legislative efforts. Through outreach and education Eric is already making positive strides in the Henrico community.

Not only does Eric focus on the larger picture, but on a daily basis he fields calls from citizens with landlord and tenant issues or he helps direct people to organizations who can advocate for them at any stage of the housing process. One thing Eric would like to be is a resource for anyone, employees and citizens alike, who have questions related to housing. “I may not have all the answers, but with the support of a great team, we can find the answers for you,” said Leabough.

The course ahead of Eric might look long and challenging, but if his first six months as the new Housing Specialist is any indication of what’s to come, Henrico County is in good hands.  

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Tax Time = Financial Planning Time

It’s tax time. It’s not everyone’s favorite time of year, but a tax refund is a good time to create and implement some financial strategies:

  • Review your paycheck tax withholding. A large refund may indicate that you have too much withholding while having to pay the government may indicate that you need to adjust your withholding’s.
  • Review and adjust your retirement savings amount. Increasing your retirement savings by 1% can increase your retirement income.

  • Pay down high-interest debt. If you pay off a credit card bill that was charging you an 18% interest rate, it’s like earning 18% on your money. It’s never a bad idea to minimize credit card debt whenever possible.
  • Increase your Lifetime Income Score (LIS) with one easy step.
    • Review your VRS projected monthly income (go the VRS website to access your account)
    • Login in to your Empower 457 Deferred Compensation Plan
      • Take note of your LIS (green circle) 
    • Under “Other Assets”, add an Account
    • Select “Monthly Income During Retirement”, add VRS (as source) and your monthly amount
    • Save
    • Now, look at how your LIS changed. o Send an email to Anne Strine with your name, last 4 digits of your SSN and note that says “I increased my LIS!”. Each week in March, we’ll draw the name of someone who increased their LIS and they’ll be awarded a gift card. Spread the word.

Bonus: If at the end of March, we’ve had more than 500 employees increase their LIS, we’ll draw 10 more name from the pot.

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