In Brief: PitkinAlert system now available in 100 languages |

In Brief: PitkinAlert system now available in 100 languages

Staff Report

PitkinAlert system now available in 100 languages

Citizens and visitors can now receive PitkinAlerts in more than 100 languages with a new Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office translation app operated by ReachWell.

“While we strive to serve all community members equitably, we have struggled to reach our non-English speaking community and people who are hesitant to sign up on a government website to receive emergency alerts,” said Alex Burchetta, Pitkin County undersheriff.

There are three steps:

  1. Download the free ReachWell app on your phone and accept push notifications.
  2. Select your preferred language.
  3. Add Pitkin County Alerts.

“The app is not replacing our current PitkinAlert System,” said Brett Loeb, Pitkin County 9-1-1 Dispatch commander. “It will be used primarily to help make emergency, traffic, and community alerts accessible for non-English speakers living in or visiting our valley.”

Pitkin County has tested ReachWell app, with people from different organizations in the Roaring Fork Valley who speak English as a second language.

Aspen makes promotion in Utility Department

The city of Aspen on Monday announced Justin Forman as the new director of utilities. Forman’s hire comes after Tyler Christoff, the previous director of utilities, was promoted to deputy director of public works.

“Justin’s skill set will provide us vision and momentum as we continue to deliver our essential services to the community,” said Christoff. “My intention is to stay involved to support Justin in this transition but allow him space and time to put his own touches on leadership of this department.”

Forman began his career at the city eight years ago as a civil engineer. For the past several years, he has served as the field operations manager for the Utility Department. He earned his civil engineering degree at the West Virginia University Institute of Technology.

Aspen Valley Hospital receives national award

Aspen Valley Hospital has been named a 2022 Human Experience Guardian of Excellence Award winner as part of Press Ganey’s annual rankings of the top hospitals and health systems in the country.

Press Ganey, an Indiana-based health-care company that administers patient-satisfaction surveys, based the ranking on performance in patient experience.

The distinction puts Aspen Valley Hospital in the top 5% of health-care providers in delivering patient experience in the last year. The Emergency Department achieved the 95th percentile or higher for any of a set of designated survey measures, including “likelihood to recommend,” “overall rating,” and “teamwork,” according to a news release from the hospital.

“We couldn’t be more proud of our physicians and our staff, and their determination to provide the very best care experience for our patients,” said Dave Ressler, the hospital’s chief executive officer, in a statement. “This is an impressive achievement in an era marked by numerous challenges. Our team has responded with overwhelming resilience while continuing to fulfill our mission of delivering extraordinary health care to the members of our community.”

CMC general counsel retires

After serving for more than eight years as Colorado Mountain College’s first in-house general counsel, Richard Gonzales has retired. His last day at the college was Friday, Jan. 13.

The college’s new general counsel is Lucia Padilla, who begins work this month. She most recently served as assistant attorney general in Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser’s office. 

As an integral member of CMC’s senior leadership team since November 2014, Gonzales was based at the college’s central administrative offices in Glenwood Springs, where he oversaw the college’s legal interests throughout all 11 of the college’s campuses and locations. 

In 2017, he received an additional title of senior inclusivity officer, in which he took on an enlarged portfolio of responsibilities that included diversity, inclusivity, and equity. 

CMC officials said Gonzales’ role became particularly relevant when CMC was designated a Hispanic Serving Institution in 2021, meaning that the college’s student population is over 25% Hispanic. In that position, his responsibilities included developing college-wide diversity and inclusion programs, working with recruiting to develop student and employee pipelines, diversity metrics and reporting and returns on investment, and overseeing training and development programs.

Vail prepares to pop pay for employees

The town of Vail is getting ready to roll out a new compensation and benefits program and strategy in February.

“You have all heard from us the challenge of recruitment and retention in today’s very fast-changing environment,” said Krista Miller, the town’s director of human resources, at the Jan. 17 Town Council meeting.

Last year, the town of Vail tapped a consultant team from OneDigital to conduct an independent review and study of its compensation plan with the goal of creating a compensation philosophy that:

  • Elevates its salary midpoints be between the 65th and 75th percentile to align with the Vail brand
  • Is effective in attracting, motivating, and retaining employees
  • Is based on data and annual evaluations of the market
  • Is flexible and can respond to changing employee demographics

As summarized in a memo, the study is “intended to create a multi-year plan to reach compensation levels that are above the average of the market to help us encourage and motivate great performance, promote long service, and when we need to look outside, will attract candidates that fit our culture, and can be great employees.”

The consultants from OneDigital presented their survey results and findings as well as their recommendations at the Tuesday, Jan. 17 Vail Town Council meeting.

The plan was initially going to be rolled out in two phases: the first in 2023 and the second in 2024. However, given the current workforce environment as well as financial savings from 2022, the Town Council gave direction to staff to implement the plan in full during 2023.

The town is planning to implement this budgeted $2.8-million plan starting Feb. 1. The majority of the program’s cost is going to support salary increases, Miller said, adding that 20% of the monies are “allocated to cover related benefit costs.”