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Memorandum

To: Asi Clen, Deputy Chief of Planning & Operations CC: Jay Willie, Director of Maintenance & Transportation From: Danisha Benjamin, Accountant Date: February 11, 2012 Subject: Request for Permission to Research Employee Parking Lot Construction

Introduction

The purpose of this memo is to request permission to pursue research on the opportunity of constructing a secured parking lot for employees of the Department of Human Services (DHS). With over 1,000 employees and over 300 clients daily, the Department of Human Services is one of the busiest organizations located on Hospital Street, St. Thomas. Besides Human Services, Bergs Home, a housing community known for criminal activities and Bethlehem Shelter, a temporary housing for the needy, are located in this area. At the rear of the building, directly across from Bergs Homes and next to Bethlehem Shelter, is a newly cleared area that has become the permanent parking for employees.

Issue

Without predetermined parking spaces, an average of 100 cars can fit in this area. Due to the lack of security, anyone can park in an available space. Often, clients, visitors of Bergs Homes, and volunteers of Bethlehem Shelter occupy this parking area. Consequently, parking for DHS employees is affected. In addition, during 2011, a string of robberies occurred in this rear parking lot. On different occasions, three employees were robbed at gunpoint. Other than robberies, there was one homicide last year that resulted in three employees’ cars being damaged. Seeking safety, employees refuse to park in the rear parking area. Many employees park along the road side and often receive police summons for blocking sidewalk access or returned to damaged cars. Others park in parking designated for senior staff or the department’s vehicle and are asked to move by parking lot security. This issue affects employees’ attendance, safety, work ethics and their loyalty to DHS.

Options and Results

Several options available are to ease the parking challenge. These options will improve the negative attitude that many employees have towards DHS and will increase the company‘s productivity. One available option is to reconstruct the old parking lot located two blocks away from the main office. This lot was last used in 2003, before Olive Jarvis Elementary school relocated. It is equipped with a security booth and offers parking for about 240 cars. In walking distance to the office, employees will feel safer walking from the front towards the main entrance, rather than walking in the direction of Bergs Home.

Another solution is to expand the rear parking, pave the area, align the parking spaces, install cameras on the poles and construct a security gate and booth. Even though it is located in a bad area, with security, employees will feel safer to move to and from their cars. Since this parking is closer to the building, there will improvement in employees’ attendance records.

Even if the department considers assigning a fee to park, that idea can be negotiated among employees.

Research Approach

To begin my research, I have generated a survey to be completed by all employees. If permitted, this survey can be attached to the next pay stubs. I have also generated information from the Office of the Governor in regards to permit information on expanding the rear parking lot. Additionally, I have contacted Jefferson & Moore, owners of the public parking lot on Waterfront Street. They provided information about how they acquired and maintained their fee-based parking lot since 1978. Listed in this packet are the pros and cons of having such an investment and the advantages and disadvantages for both owners and customers.

Conclusion

As an employee of the Department of Human Services, I experience the hardship and discomfort of finding parking. In addition, my car was among the cars that got damaged in the Bergs Home shooting. Once I am given the okay to proceed with my research, I would guarantee an approach that satisfies both DHS and its employees.

This memo is just a synopsis of all the important and beneficial information that I have acquired about this project. I am hoping that we can schedule a meeting to discuss this matter further. With permission to conduct this research, I can provide information that includes the disadvantages, advantages and financial analysis of an employee parking. If there are any questions, I can be contacted at extension 4140 or at dbenja@dhs.gov.vi Thank you for your time and I hope to hear of a scheduled meeting time soon.

A Secured Employee Parking Lot for Employees of the Department of Human Services

Prepared for
Asi Clen
Deputy of Planning & Operations

Danisha Benjamin
Accountant

February 15, 2012

Table of Contents

Executive Summary……………………………............................................................................... 5

Background Information……………………………...................................................................... 6

The Problem………………………………....................................................................................... 6

Research & Planning………………………………......................................................................... 7

Benefits………………………………............................................................................................... 8

Recommendations & Conclusion………………………………..................................................... 9

Reference……………………………….......................................................................................... 10

Executive Summary

In the pages to follow, my proposal will discuss pertinent information about constructing a secured parking lot for employees of the Department of Human Services. This information will not only include benefits of the parking lot for both DHS and its employees, but also information from sources like, employees and the local newspaper. The information will portray the importance of this project and how beneficial it will be for all parties involved.

With over 1,000 employees, parking has always been an issue at DHS. A cleared area at the rear of the main building acts as employee parking, but due to the criminal activities in the surrounding areas, it poses safety issues for employees. Consequently, employees' attendance, loyalty and productivity are being affected. Constructing a parking lot, equipped with security, will be very beneficial; employees will be able to find easy, safe parking and our company can continue to provide excellent service to the Virgin Islands community.

Information received from agencies such as, Property & Procurement and Department of Planning & Natural Resources, will provide effective steps to completing such a project. Having a secured employee parking lot is one of the most cost effective ways of eliminating our current parking issue.
Background Information

Department of Human Services has been one of the first organizations created after the United States purchased the Virgin Islands in 1917. The beneficial services that we offer such as, food stamps, welfare, vocational rehabilitation and child care are provided to thousands of residence. Operating under the ownership of the VI Government, DHS is the third largest division, with close to 2,000 employees. Our main office, in Hospital Grounds, was built in an area that provided residence with easy and safe access to our offices. Over the past 20 years, Hospital Grounds has become one of the most dangerous places to live and work. According to the December 31st edition of the Daily News, “30% of the criminal activities in 2005 that required response from the VI Police Department, occurred in Hospital Grounds or surrounding areas” (Carle, 2005). This affected the number of clients we offer services to and the work ethics of DHS employees. In light of the unsafe environment, employees pleaded for a parking lot close to the main entrance of the building. It was told to us, in a memo sent from Mr. Jay Willie, Director of Maintenance & Transportation that construction for an employee parking lot was beginning in the fall of 2006. After about four months of construction, land was cleared and filled with gravel; this became known as the employee parking lot. With available space for about 100 cars, the lot was located at the rear of the building. The front of the building, closes to the main entrance, was designated for senior staff and the department’s vehicles.

The Problem

In 2009, with crime rate at the highest in the Virgin Islands, the parking lot was one of the many investigated areas, due to its location and lack of security. Besides Bergs Home Community, Bethlehem Shelter, temporary housing for the needy, was opened in the same gated area as the parking lot. Visitors of Bergs Homes and Bethlehem Shelter also occupy the parking lot. In July of 2011, a shooting that claimed the life of a young man of Bergs Homes resulted in three cars being damaged. The $8,500 cost in damage was paid by the government. Additionally, in September 2011, a contracted employee was robbed at gunpoint while returning to work from lunch. The masked robber took money, jewellery and his cell phone. Both of these incidents are still unsolved. Some employees refuse to park in this area because they are scared for their lives. Instead, they occupy street side parking that blocks sidewalks and other entrances. Many would return to their cars damaged by other cars, received a ticket for wrongful parking, or got their cars towed away. Other employees park their cars in the public parking lot on Waterfront Street, paid $5.00 daily and took the ten minute walk to DHS. According to Asi Clen, “It was a depressing to watch hundreds of our employee walk up to our office in the hot early morning sun; we have to do something about this” (personal communication, February 1, 2012). Consequently, employees’ attendances were severely affected. It was visible, from numerous complaints sent to your office that the excellent work ethics of these employees were diminishing.

Research & Planning

Due to the fact that the parking issue has become the common lunchtime topic, we need to find out how many employees are being affected by this problem. Distributing a support sheet will let us know if there are enough supporters to go through with the research. A survey is another excellent tool that will give us more details about employees’ opinions. This can be attached to check stubs, posted on bulletins and sent through e-mails. This preliminary research should result in a Parking Lot Support Team. “Organizations consist of committees performing specific tasks that help the organization accomplish it's overall goals” (Brookins, 2012).

Tasks performed by our committee will include: • Arrange a schedule of meetings. • Organize a list of rules and the goals of the group. • Create a questionnaire to gather more information on the issue. • Assign tasks to members to get the job done. • Acquire information in regards to finance involved in getting the job done. • Publicize the project for outside support.

Jefferson & Moore, owners of the public parking lot that is used by many employees, indicated that the parking lot was the easiest project they have completed. “It took us about six months to complete this lot, equipped with a security and cashier booths. With the monies made, we maintained the lot, paid the cashiers and the security. With proper research, we were able to apply and receive wonderful federal grant!” said Alan Jefferson (personal communication, February 3, 2012).

Benefits

A secured employee parking lot will provide DHS employees with the following benefits: • Guarantees daily parking space. • Provides a safer commute to and from your car. • Decreases the risk of cars damage. • Improve strong work ethics. • Increase loyalty to company.

A secured employee parking lot will provide DHS with the following benefits: • Offers additional tax advantages. • Increases efficiency and effectiveness of our department. • Provides another source of income; if fee is charged. • Lessens criminal activities on company’s premises. • Increases clientele so that programs can meet mandatory monthly quotas.

Information provided by Metro (1993) states: A survey conducted by the Orange County Transit Authority in California asked 50 employers who did not charge their employees for parking their reasons for that policy (employers could respond more than once). Ninety-two percent said they provided free parking because it's considered an employee benefit. Many employers (42 percent) said they never considered the issue. Twenty percent said charging for parking would be too time consuming. Only one employer suggested a union or employee contract as the reason. These finding confirm the prevalent view of parking by employers – free parking is standard practice and largely a non-issue.
Recommendation/ Conclusion

It is evident from the information above that an employee parking lot will benefit both employees and employer. Employee parking lots are another wonderful benefit that employers offer. The stress of not finding parking is a relief to a lot of employees and keeping your employees safe and satisfied is an excellent management tool practiced by employers.

The first step that we need to take in considering this proposal is to acquire information from the questionnaires and surveys. With the proper information, the committee can begin to delegate tasks towards meeting our goals. We have the resources to get this job done; the recently purchased land next to the existing parking area can be used for the expansion of the existing area. The entrance is wide enough to construct a security booth and gate. We have an excellent maintenance crew that is willing to help with the cleaning to prepare the land for construction. With these initial steps in place, we can provide a safer working environment. Like the slogan of our department states, together we can make a difference!
Reference

Brookinds, M. (2012). Benefits of a Committee Charter. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/list_6153976_benefits-committee-charter.html

Carle, Lee (2005, December 31). Record High Numbers. Daily News, pp 3-4.

(Clendinen, Asiah. personal communication. February 1, 2012.)

(Jefferson, Alan. personal communication. February 3, 2012.)

Metro (1993). Managing Employee Parking in a Changing Market. Retrieved from http://ntl.bts.gov/DOCS/sdd.html.

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