Craig Shue, associate professor in the Computer Science Department and the Cybersecurity Program at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, discusses cybersecurity during his keynote address at the MIIA Annual Business Meeting Luncheon in Boston on Jan. 25. Also during the luncheon, eight communities received awards for their work in the areas of risk management and wellness.

In recognition of their dedication and commitment to risk management and employee wellness, eight MIIA member communities received special recognition during the annual MIIA luncheon on Jan. 25.

Risk Management Awards
This year’s award recipients were recognized for their commitment to risk management and safety throughout their communities – efforts that control costs, enhance employee safety, and reduce insurance claims. MIIA recognized the following communities:

Belmont: The town of Belmont has demonstrated a consistent and proactive focus on risk management, and departments work together to identify key loss areas and develop forward-thinking preventive safety programs. This past year, facility staff performed survey inspections of town buildings to protect valuable infrastructure from water-related losses during periods of extreme weather conditions. In the upcoming year, they will pilot a new integrated sensor monitoring technology designed to prevent and mitigate costs resulting from cold weather-related pipe breaks and water leaks.

Cohasset: The Cohasset Facilities Department has taken a comprehensive approach to reducing property exposure and losses by conducting assessments of their buildings’ systems, equipment and assets, and has upgraded its software tracking system. The benefits of this new software system include reduced stress, less wear and tear on mechanical systems, and cost savings. The results, in turn, can prevent property claims and reduce energy bills.

Duxbury: The town of Duxbury maintains a well-established and active Risk Management Safety Committee that continually finds new ways to improve safety through in-person trainings and webinars. An example of the town’s proactive approach is that, after attending a recent MIIA seminar, the town implemented additional changes in its workflow to improve its processes. This resulted in the town sending job descriptions with pre-employment physicals to streamline the process in which an injured employee comes in to pick up his or her indemnity checks.

Foxborough: Due to the concerted efforts of Barbara Kelly, who chairs the quarterly Safety Committee meetings, the town of Foxborough annually achieves the maximum eligibility for MIIA Rewards. This level of commitment is demonstrated throughout the town and has led to the implementation of best practices such as return-to-work programs in workers’ compensation, a proactive approach to continuous employee training, and ongoing identification and responses to new and emerging liability exposures.

Wellness Awards
MIIA presented four awards in recognition of achievements in improving employee health and promoting a culture of wellness in the workplace.

Walpole – Excellence in Wellness: The town of Walpole has built a comprehensive wellness program and uses feedback from department heads to run specialized programs such as specialized nutrition counseling for the police department and CPR and snowplow driver training for the Public Works Department. The town also ran an eight-week MOVE program to help employees with arthritis or other joint and mobility issues. Town Manager Jim Johnson encourages staff to attend events, and the wellness committee, chaired by Melissa Ranieri, actively promotes programs and resources to co-workers.

Foxborough – Most Progress in Wellness: Over the last year, the town of Foxborough’s Wellness Committee has grown to 14 members, with a wide representation across town departments, and the School Department now includes a wellness-related topic in its teacher professional development days. Special recognition goes to the following staff members for participating in wellness initiatives and engaging employees: Town Manager Bill Keegan, Assistant Town Manager Michael Johns, Community Information Specialist Christina Metcalf (chair of the Wellness Committee), special education teacher Ann Farrell, and Assistant Treasurer/Collector Veronica Harvey.

Mansfield – Best Newcomer: Since July 2019, the town of Mansfield has built a strong wellness program that is committed to making programs accessible, including holding on-site programs twice a day when possible. The town offers a wide variety of programs that meet the needs and interests of employees in all departments. The health literacy program, Quizzify, has had more than 200 users, and nearly 40 employees have participated in one or more of the monthly self-directed wellness challenges. Much of the town’s growth can be attributed to the enthusiastic support of Town Manager Kevin Dumas and the Wellness Committee, particularly Human Resources Specialist Tara Scopa and Facilities Office Assistant Patti Hallgreen.

Amherst – Most Innovation in Wellness: The town of Amherst has built a robust and successful wellness program in a very short time. The town now has a wellness intranet, accessible to all employees, that showcases health and wellness programs, self-directed challenges, links to employee assistance programs, and other helpful resources. The intranet and other initiatives can be attributed to the support of Town Manager Paul Bockelman and the leadership efforts of wellness ambassadors Joanne Misiaszek, human resources manager, and Brianna Sunryd, communications manager.

Written by Stephen Batchelder, MIIA Risk Management Director, and Wendy Gammons, MIIA Wellness Manager.