Letters: local government faces staff crisis

first_img Previous Article Next Article Letters: local government faces staff crisisOn 5 Feb 2002 in Personnel Today Our front page exclusive on councils’ recruitment and retention crisis hasstruck a chord with HR professionals in that sector. Tellingly, manyrespondents wished to remain anonymous so they could fully vent theirfrustrations surrounding the issueWhat a cavalier attitude to staff A starting point for councils tackling their skills crisis (News, 15January) would be to learn how to treat people who apply for jobs. I applied for a relatively senior HR role within Education Leeds beforeChristmas and have yet to receive acknowledgement of progress. Staff there didnot even think to let applicants know when interviews were being held, so wecould at least guess if we had been selected or not. It is a shame a large employer like Leeds City Council doesn’t seem able toget the basics of good employment practice right. Maybe this is another reasonwhy local government employees are leaving and moving to employers in other sectors.David Albone Corporate services manager, The Ridings Housing Association Adapt or lose the skilled workers Although local authorities occupy a central role in the local community,little is done to market employment opportunities in the sector beyondadvertising in the local press and providing a job counter in reception. Local authorities need to be more imaginative, commercial and sell theirbrand in the same way as other big businesses they are in competition with fora skilled and committed workforce. Historically, local government has had ‘a job for life’ image, but youngerworkers’ expectations are changing. More needs to be done to look at the wayswork can be tailored to fit around people’s choice of lifestyle. If there is to be a vibrant workforce major reinvestment is needed now toenable local authorities to reintroduce qualification-based trainingprogrammes. It will be the best way to ensure a future supply of skilled andexpert workers in hard-to-fill specialist areas. Pauline Maynard Human resource manager, Croydon Council Pay and benefits do not compare Local government cannot attract staff as it is not paying the going rate,particularly for professionals. While a new job evaluation scheme is being introduced in April which aims toharmonise pay and conditions, feedback during consultation has been poor.Fifteen per cent of staff are set to lose out in terms of salary. I fear peoplewill vote with their feet. We need to look outside local authorities for an example of what benefitpackages are available in the private sector. If local government is going to meet its commitments to customers, it needsto bring itself up to speed with how to motivate modern workforces. Name and organisation withheld Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Home Fruit Orchards

first_imgHaving a great home fruit orchard is getting easier all the time. University of Georgia scientists say new varieties make even south Georgia home gardeners able to grow peaches, nectarines, pears, plums and even apples.The U.S. Department of Agriculture designates two hardiness zones (8a and 8b) — areas with similar climates — south of a line running through Columbus, Macon and Augusta.Breeders produce varieties that are hardy in specific zones. Many varieties have thrived for years above Zone 8. And experts say the number of fruit trees below that Columbus-to-Augusta line is growing.”Wherever you live, if you can’t provide timely care for your fruit plants, select more forgiving plants that require little care,” said Gerard Krewer, a horticulturist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.Choosing the variety to plant requires more than knowing its hardiness. Consider pollination, fruit production and how much care the tree requires, too, Krewer said.Be sure you know if the variety can self-pollinate or needs cross-pollination to produce fruit. This differs for varieties of even the same type of fruit. Most apples and plums require cross-pollination. Pears vary by fruit variety, and peaches are self-pollinating.Once you’ve carefully selected varieties that will produce well where you live, then select a place to plant them.The specific planting site can make the difference between baskets of fruit and just another shade tree. Sunlight, and plenty of it, is the key.Pick a site where the tree will be in the sun at least half the day. Morning sun is best because it dries the dew quickly. The less time the tree is wet, the less likely disease will damage it.Then soil-test that site for the pH.Plow or spade the soil thoroughly to prepare it for planting. Mix in any required lime as you prepare the soil. Dig a hole large enough so the roots won’t be cramped or bent from their natural position.Never fertilize a fruit tree during planting.When you buy your fruit trees, look for undamaged trunks and good root systems. Krewer said a small tree with a good root system is better than a large tree with few roots.”You get what you pay for when you buy fruit trees,” Krewer said. “Bargain plants may not be healthy or well-adapted to your area.”Once you’ve prepared, selected and planted your trees, keep the area around them weed-free. Weeds take water and nutrients away from the young trees, threatening their survival.Don’t use mowers or weed trimmers near the trunks. Open wounds in the bark provide pathways for disease-causing organisms.Pruning and training fruit trees into their typical shapes take time, but the rewards are great. Without proper pruning, the trees can’t support the weight of the fruit they produce.Peach and plum trees respond well when pruned to an “open center” shape that looks like an umbrella blown inside out. Apple trees do best in the “central leader” system, with one strong center trunk and branches that radiate out.Fruit trees are susceptible to many insects and diseases that can decrease fruit production or damage the tree.”You have to plan and carry out a rigid pesticide spray schedule to really control insects and diseases in home apple, peach and plum orchards,” Krewer said.Pears require less attention. Krewer suggests Oriental persimmons and hybrid pears as good choices for low-spray orchards.Your county extension agent can tell you more about growing fruits in a home orchard. The UGA Extension website has links to publications with information on just about any other gardening, farming or home topic.last_img read more

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Evolving fraud strategies to battle cybercriminals

first_imgCyber Monday in 2014 saw online spending totals north of $2 billion for the first time ever. This is just one piece of evidence supporting the increased online shopping behaviors of U.S. consumers. Pair that with increasingly sophisticated fraud maneuvers, and payment cybercrime becomes a very hot topic. So hot, in fact, it was one of the major themes of this year’s TMG Executive Summit.The recently released “Threatmatrix Cybercrime Report” takes a closer look at the growing problem of online and mobile payment fraud. The report found device, identity and geographic “spoofing” attacks are now the most frequent forms of attack. If you are unfamiliar with geographic spoofing attacks, it’s a method in which crooks gain unauthorized access to a device and then send messages that appear to be coming from a trusted source.Mobile usage continues to rise, accounting for up to 31 percent of transactions. The study explains how identity theft (much of which stems from last year’s data breaches) and increased mobile transactions have come together to effectively drive up mobile payment fraud. Cybercriminals are increasingly creating new “fake” accounts to make use of these stolen credentials. continue reading » 45SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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Joseph maintains aggression, provides scoring for flat Orange offense in loss

first_img Published on January 17, 2015 at 9:50 pm Contact Jacob: [email protected] | @Jacob_Klinger_ Facebook Twitter Google+ CLEMSON, S.C — Kaleb Joseph has never played so well in the Atlantic Coast Conference.The freshman point guard delivered 12 points, two assists to one turnover and a rebound in 33 minutes of Syracuse’s (13-5, 4-1 ACC) 66-53 loss to Clemson (10-7, 2-3) on Saturday evening at Littlejohn Coliseum.His scoring was a necessity on a night when Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinije were all but silenced. For much of the season, Joseph’s play has been restricted to perimeter passing. Opposing teams give him space to shoot, as he’s only taken 22 3s on the season and made just four of them.But on Saturday night he consistently cut into the lane, creating a flurry of open looks from the elbows and improved as the game went on.“Kaleb does some crazy stuff,” Jim Boeheim said. “That’s just normal for a freshman, but he was more aggressive in the second half, he got in the lane and he got some good shots.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIt’s an offensive output Boeheim said Joseph will have to reproduce. With Chris McCullough out for the season, Syracuse lacks a clear fourth scoring option after Rakeem Christmas, Cooney and Gbinije.Joseph’s 12 points represented 22.6 percent of SU’s scoring against the Tigers. In addition to Saturday’s game being his third-highest scoring performance, it was the largest share of the Orange’s points he’s had this season.The only other time Joseph had more than 20 percent of Syracuse’s points was when his 13 points accounted for 22 percent of SU’s total of 59 in its loss to California on Nov. 20 in the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden.Fellow SU guard Cooney chalked Joseph’s performance up to simply understanding the offense a little better. Joseph left the game with 18:13 left in the first half — after committing a foul on an off-balance Rod Hall. He departed again with 3:39 remaining in the game, but played the final 1:29. Ron Patterson came on for Joseph each time but failed to score, and the freshman point guard returned.And while Joseph improved to 4-of-7 shooting in the second half after going 1-for-6 from the field before halftime, the point guard said he was taking good shots and staying confident the whole time.“They were all good shots, but I can’t stop shooting just because I’m not making good shots,” Joseph said. “… I think in the first half I was aggressive, in the second half I was aggressive, and good things happen.” Commentslast_img read more

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