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Ecology commitment to the state enterprise

A team from the Department of Ecology so impressed the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) with its sharing of “lessons learned” from a major technology project that the OCIO bestowed its top award for their actions.

The OCIO provides oversight and advice on major state technology projects as well as serving as a hub for sharing best practices among state agencies. The OCIO Recognition Coin is the OCIO’s highest award, given to individuals whose work exceeds normal expectations and leadership at the “superstar” level. 

Four members of Ecology’s eTime project team received the OCIO Coin during an agency-wide meeting in mid-December at Ecology headquarters building in Lacey. The eTime system replaces the time and leave management system in use by Ecology since 1988. The new system all but eliminates labor-intensive manual data entry to reduce errors. It also improved the employee interface and transformed the agency’s ability to interact with the state’s master payroll processing system and syncs state and federal reporting requirements for different types of leave.  

Lisa Darnell, Sheila Meyer, Cassandra Smith and Steve Heath each earned the OCIO Coin for their “outstanding contribution and dedication to sharing lessons learned with other agencies.” In addition to those four, seven more Ecology employees earned a certificate of recognition from the OCIO for their work on eTime. They included Kevin Barbee, Erik Fairchild, Leann Ryser, Sandi Stewart, Sirn Tran, Polly Zehm and Ecology Director Maia Bellon, who served as executive sponsor for the project.  

“Lisa and team have been incredible partners not only in the Ecology implementation of WorkForce Software (eTime), but also assisting other agencies in their journey to determine the feasibility of implementing their own version of eTime,” said Nicole Dobson, who manages the technical teams associated with keeping the state’s payroll system running. “Ecology provided a number of demonstrations of the eTime solution, answered agencies questions on lessons learned, provided advice, and shared the Ecology documentation to reduce work on the agencies.  They demonstrated true teamwork and partnership.”

The Department of Corrections was among the beneficiaries of the Ecology team’s information sharing.

Tom Georg with DOC said the agency has been struggling for years with time capture in the payroll process.

“Lisa is well aware of our continuing problems and kept us abreast of the progress and the ultimate implementation of the eTime solution at Ecology,” Georg said.

At the end of summer when the OCIO reviewed over 100 technology decision package requests from agencies, several were seeking funding to advance time tracking systems of their own.  In their reviews, Ecology’s work was cited numerous times and it was apparent that they had met with multiple agencies to share their lessons learned.

”Knowledge and lessons learned are most useful when shared. When an agency freely shares lessons learned, it provides future projects with valuable information that improves their planning and likelihood of success. It was a pleasure to recognize the Ecology eTime team for taking the initiative to share both their failures and successes with other agencies. When agencies share, the state wins.” said Sue Langen, Acting Deputy Director OCIO.