n months 26-28 of the pandemic we received new guidance on workforce reconstitution from VDOT Commissioner Brich, who noted in March: "Beginning on Monday, Apr. 4, we will increase our workplace presence and go to Stage 3, Part 2, meaning office staff must work in the office two (2) days a week. This will allow employees time to reacclimate to the office environment and gradually reoccupy workspaces. One of the long-term goals for the VDOT of Tomorrow is to provide office staff the flexibility to telework about half of their work time, 2-3 days per week. Therefore, it is our current intent to fully transition to the VDOT of Tomorrow staffing on Tuesday, Sept. 6, following the Labor Day weekend."
Staffing changes quickly followed, with Becky Ernest, Barb Neyman and Gil Kenner increasing in-house hours to 2 days a week. The significance of this policy change is that all of the aforementioned library staffers found themselves working "in person" together for the first time in 26 months in late May. Once an almost daily occurrence, this marked the first time that had happened since March 12, 2020. Library staffer Ken Winter remains a full-time telework employee based in Texas.
In May policy changes were initiated at the state level when Virginia Chief of Staff Jeff Geottman announced all VDOT employees would need to re-apply for telework at 1-day, 2-day or full-time levels. Approvals for applications were expected by July 5th, but delays extended that timeframe. Additional details will be provided in next quarter's report.
Organizational changes continued at VTRC, where there library is housed. On April 13th Commissioner Brich announced that VDOT's Office of Strategic Innovation (OSI) would be merged into the Virginia Transportation Research Council. While Library staffers have been working with OSI on a number of projects (noted last quarter), it is not clear how that integration will affect VTRC or the VDOT Research Library, but it may create new opportunities for collaboration.
Commissioner Brich announced that Cathy McGhee was appointed VDOT Chief Deputy Commissioner. Cathy had worked at VTRC since 1993, and since 2016 had served in a dual role as the Director of VTRC and Director of the Office of Transportation Research and Innovation at VDOT. Shortly after the announcement, McGhee named VTRC Deputy Director Mike Fitch as Acting Director of VTRC and it was announced that all library staff would report directly to Dr. Fitch. This is the highest level the library has reported to since it was established.
Finally, after working toward it since 2019 the library formally established a Library Advisory Group, which is spotlighted in this report along with a presentation the library did to VDOT's EDGE Associates.