County Manager Column from Jan. 12, 2021

Guest column: Taking care through a tumultuous time

This week, I'm pleased to welcome Director of Policy & Planning Elizabeth Tolzmann as guest author. When she was serving as Acting County Manager last week, Elizabeth and Chair Carter shared a version of this message with county leaders. I'm glad to share it here. - Ryan  

Following last week’s tragic events in our nation’s capital and the aftermath, regardless of background or beliefs, our employees and community here in Ramsey County are shaken, as are residents across our country. You may still be feeling fear, shock, hurt, disbelief, numbness, anger, sadness, despair and loss of sense of security and thoughts about the future — or all the above and more. As those who serve as public representatives of government, the current instability affects each of us in its own way as we are simultaneously called to continue serving and providing stability for all those throughout our community in myriad ways now almost a year into this pandemic.

We are and will continue working with public safety agencies and our other partners to keep our local community safe, protected and vigilant. We have an enduring hope and optimism that we will come through this dark time better — as we have innumerable times in our history. But we also recognize that we and our community will continue to struggle from the impact of these events now and throughout many days and months ahead. Acknowledging that we all have unique ways in which we cope, it is a good time to revisit our values and to extend grace, patience, awareness, empathy and thoughtfulness to others (and yourself) as we’re working through a period of unprecedented crises. As Ramsey County employees, we are here to support one another. Please also remember that we have resources through our 24/7 employee assistance program (EAP) where you can connect confidentially with a professional counselor by calling 1-866-326-7194 or texting 919-324-5523.

This week, our Diversity Inclusion and Organizational Development (DIOD) team in Human Resources is hosting virtual sessions of "Take a Little Coffee Break: Coping & Connecting During Challenging Times - Centering Ramsey County Values". These sessions provide a space for those who wish to share thoughts, experiences and learnings or just listen alongside other employees during this historic and challenging time.

As Chair Carter said last week: Even as our hearts ache, our vision of a vibrant community where all are valued and thrive is not shattered. Especially during these incredulous times, Ramsey County leaders and team members are committed to uplifting and supporting each other — so we can steadfastly serve and deliver for our children, families, businesses and organizations. With and alongside our communities, we will be the change we want to see in the world.

As an organization, we are here to support all of our employees, uphold our values, and stand by our Ramsey County vision and mission. The impact, sentiments and repercussions from last week’s events and this past year require us to constantly check our own emotional and mental well-being as well as that of others. We will continue to be resilient, unified and resolved in restoring hope and faith in our future while working with a sense of urgency and service to our community now more than ever.