More than $400,000 in Measure A funding will be used to help Town of Turlock employees take care of their mental well-being after council members approved a contract on Tuesday.
In a 4-1 vote with dissenting Vice Mayor Pam Franco, the City Council authorized the execution of a service agreement between the city and Florida-based company Performance on Purpose at their first meeting of the new Year. Performance on Purpose has responded to a Request for Proposal prepared at the request of Council and is charging $417,994 to implement a voluntary mental wellness program for City employees.
According to the company’s website, Performance on Purpose’s mission is to “empower leaders and their teams to realize their full potential by delivering science-based behavior change solutions to improve the good -being and performance”.
“People understand that mental health is a business-critical conversation that needs to happen, and people can’t do their jobs if they’re not supported with the resources they need,” said Lauren Hodges. , co-founder of Performance on Purpose, to the Board. “And that has to come, often, from the workplace.”
Two other companies also responded to the tender with cost estimates of $293,235 and $197,700 for the mental wellness program, but Performance on Purpose was recommended by City staff through its “robust strategy” and use of “the latest science and research in human performance,” according to the staff report.
Through the program, City leaders and employees will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of offerings such as live in-person retreats (leadership only), biometric screenings, performance coaching, and a variety of virtual programs. covering topics such as nutrition, stress management and meditation, to name a few.
The nearly $420,000 tab will be funded using money from Measure A, which is a citywide sales tax approved by Turlock voters in the November 2020 election and which is expected to generate $11 million in annual revenue.
There were eight areas listed in the Measure A order – “protecting the long-term financial stability of Turlock, maintaining and restoring public safety services, rapid emergency and medical response to 911, fire protection, repair streets and potholes, support local businesses, address the challenges of homelessness and vagrancy, and protect Turlock’s ability to respond to emergencies and natural disasters.
The program was originally to be funded by American Rescue Plan Act COVID relief money, but council member Andrew Nosrati proposed that Measure A money be used instead as the council continues to explore the best ways to use relief funds. Additionally, business owners and community members have called to express their dissatisfaction with the ARPA funds being used for the program.
“I’m not judging this presentation; it looks like it could be a good thing,” said Lori Smith, owner of Main Street Antiques. “…But for me, from what I’ve read, it could probably include around 300 people and a lot of it is voluntary… You have no way of knowing how many people are actually going to use it … Can we use $400,000 in a way that it can benefit the public a little more?”
Council member Nicole Larson expressed reluctance to approve such a deal without a city manager being selected, to which Mayor Amy Bublak assured her that one would be chosen in two to four weeks. The original article has also been amended to say that the program will not begin until the new city manager is appointed, and the new executive will be the one to work with Performance on Purpose to implement it.
“My values are that we, as leaders, have a duty to ensure that our employees are sound in body and mind and able to provide the best service to our constituents,” Bublak said. “…We’re sitting in a time where we’re losing a lot of people who don’t want to work anymore because of the things that happened in COVID…It’s our way of showing them our appreciation.”