By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor
Office of Public and Employee Communications

CDCR’s Office of Business Services (OBS) recently used an all-staff meeting to boost morale, recognize hard work and build a stronger team. Some employees were honored for devoting 25 years of service to the state.

Before the meeting, staff was greeted with coffee, breakfast pastries and fruit provided by OBS managers. They also had some time to mingle with each other before the meeting started. To keep the meeting area lively, it was decorated with vases and flowers. There was also candy spread around the tables, in case someone needed a quick pick-me-up.

“I wanted to let you know the things you do for the office do not go unnoticed. Thank you for your hard work, positive attitude, insight, and amazing effort. You’re a necessary piece to this puzzle and I appreciate your dedication and service,” said OBS Associate Director Arlene Sakazaki.

Robert “Bobby” Downs, Branch Chief of Business Management and Procurement Branch, said he was impressed by staff and how they remained focused while leadership positions were being filled.

“(There have been fewer) than a handful of customer complaints in the five months I have been in this position,” Branch Chief Downs said. “Customer Service is our number one mandate and our most valuable skill to utilize. It’s the foundation of administration services. Please continue to be thorough, provide prompt responses and always be willing to explore any and all options to accommodate the customer.”

Debbie Smith, Branch Chief of the Contracts Management Branch (CMB), said the team was top-notch.

“I would like to thank CMB managers and staff for successfully working together as a team to get through another fiscal year-end. It is nice to have a great team that can be counted on during crunch time,” she said. “Your hard work and efforts are greatly appreciated.”

OBS Deputy Director Devin Fong said the office’s work is important to the department as a whole.

“Understand the significance of your work. Visit the programs we service and witness the positive effects your work has on CDCR staff, inmates, inmate families, and our communities. Without our amazing staff and their contributions, we would not have accomplished and effectuated the change within CDCR. Your contributions matter to CDCR,” he said. “Your hard work will surely take us to the highest level of success. Thank you, for all that you have done.”

Recognized for 25 years of state service

Toshi Cordova.

Toshi Cordova, Associate Governmental Program Analyst (AGPA), OBS

Cordova started with CDCR in July 1987 at Folsom State Prison as an office technician. In 1989, she attended the R.A. McGee Correctional Training Center and went to Folsom State Prison as a correctional officer. She left in 1993,  but reinstated in 1995. In 1999, she promoted to a staff services analyst. Not even a year later, she promoted to an AGPA . Throughout her career, she has also been a training officer and staff services manager I.  She is currently managing the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.

OBS betsy rodriguez

Betsy Rodriguez, AGPA, OBS

Rodriguez started her career with the state in 1988 as an office assistant. Over the course of 10 years, Betsy worked as an office assistant and dental assistant within CDCR. In 1998, Rodriguez promoted to a program technician, which allowed her advancement to an office services supervisor I in 1999, management services technician in 2000 and staff services analyst in 2001. Currently, she is an AGPA with the Contracts Management Branch with OBS.

OBS Shelley dato

Shelley Dato, Staff Services Manager (SSM) I, OBS

In 1986, Dato was a stenographer. Shortly after, she continued her career with Caltrans in 1987 as a word processing technician. After almost 20 years with Caltrans and promoting to an associate Caltrans administrator, she accepted an AGPA position with CDCR’s Office of Peace Officer Selection in 2006. Within CDCR, she has had many titles but most recently an SSM I with CDCR, OBS, Institutions Services Contract Unit and Master Contracts Unit.

Building a better team

Secretary Scott Kernan and Undersecretary Kenneth Pogue were guest speakers at the event.

Secretary Kernan acknowledged the services OBS provides to CDCR, saying procurement and fleet couldn’t move forward without their efforts.

According to Secretary Kernan, corrections is continuing to evolve, not just lock-up. He said OBS services are becoming more important now than ever due to services, contracts and goods for institutions and inmates, with OBS playing a big part in the “rehabilitation” of CDCR.

Undersecretary Pogue spoke about his knowledge of contracts, knowing the importance of having a cohesive team that can get the job done. His goal for FY 16/17 was to continue to support departments in order to be successful and utilize staff and resources accordingly.

OBS Deputy Director Fong said the meeting and recognition event was important for many reasons.

“Recognizing the accomplishments and achievements of our staff is a critical component of maintaining our effectiveness in CDCR. Staff in OBS have been challenged with satisfying the highest priorities in CDCR and have done so with such a high degree of professionalism, I felt it was important to take the time as a team to celebrate, provide recognition, and have fun,” he said. “Our staff meeting, being a team building activity, will further prepare our organization to be nimble and responsive to the demands of CDCR.”

He said the overall goal for the coming year is simply to improve.

“My goals for OBS are to be better in FY 16/17. Be a better employer – be an employer of choice and have staff view their work as interesting, meaningful, and fun work. Do things better – develop our programs with a top down approach and a continuous improvement mind-set,” he said. “We can accomplish amazing things when we work as a team and utilize the talents of our staff.”

What is OBS?

The OBS provides overall administration of the CDCR non-information technology (non-IT) contract and procurement activities , property and records management programs, fleet management, headquarters’ mail center, reprographics, and correspondence control operations; Small Business (SB), Microbusiness (MB) and Disabled Veterans Business Enterprise (DVBE) activities, and material master data.  OBS ensures that departmental agreements are executed in compliance with State laws and regulations.  OBS is comprised of the Business Management and Procurement Branch (BMPB) and the Contracts Management Branch (CMB).  Pursuant to Public Contract Code (PCC) § 10351, the OBS Deputy Director serves as the CDCR Procurement and Contracts Officer (PCO) on behalf of the Agency Secretary.

In fiscal year 2015/16, OBS processed over 905 non-IT contracts and amendments for approximately $1.5 billion and almost 2,200 procurements for approximately $31.6 million. CDCR has again exceeded the minimum required DVBE and SB/MB participation at 4.85 and 34.22 percent, respectively.