Over $400,000 of Measure A will be used to help City of Turlock employees take care of their mental well-being after council members approved a contract on Tuesday.
In a 4-1 vote against Deputy Mayor Pam Franco, the city council approved a service agreement between the city and Florida-based company Performance on Purpose during its first meeting of the new year. Responding to a call for proposals prepared at the request of the council, Performance on Purpose is asking for $417,994 to implement a voluntary mental wellbeing program for city employees.
According to the company’s website, Performance on Purpose’s mission is to “equip leaders and their teams with the tools to reach their highest potential by providing science-based behavior change solutions to improve well-being and performance.”
“People understand that mental health is a business-critical conversation that needs to be had, and that people cannot do their jobs unless they are supported by the resources they need,” said Lauren Hodges, co-founder of Performance on Purpose , to the Council. “And that often has to come from the workplace.”
Two other companies also responded to the bid with cost estimates of $293,235 and $197,700 for the mental wellbeing program, but Performance on Purpose was rejected by City employees for its “strong strategy” and use of “the latest science and research to… human performance” recommended. according to the staff report.
Through the program, city tours and staff have the opportunity to participate in a variety of offerings, including live, in-person retreats (guided only), biometric screenings, performance coaching, and a variety of virtual programs on topics such as nutrition, stress management, and meditation, to name a few to name.
The nearly $420,000 bill will be funded with money from Measure A, a citywide sales tax approved by Turlock voters in the November 2020 election that is expected to generate $11 million in annual revenue.
Eight areas were listed in the Measure A Order – “Protecting Turlock’s long-term financial stability, maintaining and restoring public safety services, prompt emergency and medical assistance to 911, fire safety, repairing roads and potholes, supporting local businesses, Addressing challenges of homelessness and vagrancy and protecting Turlock’s ability to respond to emergencies and natural disasters.”
The program was originally intended to be funded by COVID relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, but Council Member Andrew Nosrati requested use of Measure A funds instead as the council continues to explore the best ways to use relief funds. In addition, business owners and community members called to express their dissatisfaction with the use of ARPA funds for the program.
“I’m not judging this presentation; It sounds like it could be a good thing,” said Lori Smith, owner of Main Street Antiques. “…But from what I’ve read, it looks to me like this could probably be about 300 people, and so much of it is voluntary…You have no way of knowing how many people it actually is will use… Can we use it? $400,000 so the public can benefit a little more?”
Councilor Nicole Larson expressed hesitation in approving such an agreement without a city manager selected, after which Mayor Amy Bublak assured her that one would be selected in two to four weeks. The original point has also been changed to say that the program will not begin until the new city manager is in place and the new leader will be the one who will work with Performance on Purpose to implement it.
“My values are that as leaders we have a responsibility to ensure our employees are physically and mentally healthy and capable of providing the best service to our constituents,” Bublak said. “…We sit in a time where we are losing a lot of people who no longer want to work because of the things that have happened in COVID… This is our way of showing them our appreciation. ”