Working Together as a Self-Directed Work Team in the Public Sector

On Wednesday of last week, CALMC held one of it’s membership meetings.  At these meetings, there is always a speaker who talks on a topic relevant to the workplace.

At this meeting we had representatives from one of the agencies from the state of Ohio. Office of Budget and Management, and a representative from the union, OCSEA(Ohio Civil Service Employees Association) that represents the largest number of state workers.  These two groups never cease to amaze us.  No matter what they go through with an agency or through politics they always seem to come back and work together.

 There has been so much negativity about public sector employees but the story on Wednesday is a fantastic story of how both sides have been working together to reduce costs to taxpayers by eliminating duplication of service in state agencies.

 Early in the beginning of his administration, Governor Kasich encouraged shared services in state and local government.  This group, as we heard on Wednesday, had started before Governor Kasich was elected and have become a model for state and local governments all over on what can be accomplished.  In fact, they are a self-directed work team.  It is a rarity to have a self-directed work team in the public sector.  They may be the only self-directed work team in public sector.  The speakers said they tried to find other examples and could not find them but other public sector employees have been calling them for assistance.

 The foundation for this self-directed work team has been the relationship between the state of Ohio and OCSEA.  They have developed a relationship where they work very well together.  Both sides help each other.  For example, immediately following  the political backlash on public sector unions following the 2010 elections, OCSEA and the state of Ohio came to an unprecedented agreement during their bargaining negotiations by extending their three year contract that expired in 2012 for another three years that provided no general pay increases for state workers.  There are many other examples, too, but what is more important is how their relationship has evolved to this example.  Does it happen in every agency?  No, because it depends on the people and their commitment and possibly the mission of the agency but it could because of the overall relationship between leaders that set an example by working together.

 CALMC has worked with the State and OCSEA for many years to help them develop that relationship but it’s been their commitment and desire to work together.  As one of the speakers on Wednesday put it, “I’d rather be on the inside than looking in through the outside.”   They are a great group of professional people always recognizing the need to take care of Ohio and its people and are very willing to step “outside the box” to do that.

The shared services group will be the showcase organization for the 2013 Harvard Public Sector Education and Shared Services Summit.  Once again, CALMC says congratulations to OCSEA and the state of Ohio!

About CALMC Blog

Columbus Area Labor-Management Committee is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to involving employers and employees to preserve jobs, resolve workplace issues, and promote labor-management cooperation. Visit our website at
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