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Killexams : Healthcare Technician candidate - BingNews Search results Killexams : Healthcare Technician candidate - BingNews Killexams : Agreement reached over Hanford site contractor’s alleged hiring discrimination No result found, try new keyword!The Richland-based company will pay a total of $157,621 to Hispanic workers it allegedly refused to hire as health physics technician trainees throughout 2019. Fri, 09 Dec 2022 01:00:00 -0600 text/html Killexams : Hanford contractor accused of Latino hiring discrimination. Applicants to get back wages

The tank farm contractor at the Hanford nuclear reservation has agreed to pay back wages and interest to Hispanic job applicants to settle allegations of hiring discrimination.

Washington River Protection Solutions will pay $157,000 in total to 161 Hispanic applicants who applied for jobs as health physics technician trainees in 2019.

Applicants for the training program in 2019 were given a a candidate aptitude test that Latino applicants failed at a higher rate than non-Hispanic applicants.

It also will make job offers to those who are eligible, said the U.S. Department of Labor in an announcement of what it called an early resolution agreement with the Hanford contractor.

WRPS also must revise and monitor its selection process, personnel practices and hiring policies for work at the Hanford site adjoining Richland, part of the Tri-Cities in Eastern Washington.

“Federal contractors are obliged to provide all applicants with equal employment opportunities to make certain all workers have a fair shot at getting and keeping good paying jobs,” said Jane Suhr, Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs regional director.

Jobs at Hanford are highly sought after because of their good pay and benefits.

Department of Energy projects, which include both Hanford and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, account for about 11.3% of jobs in Benton and Franklin counties. But they pay about 23.4% of all wages in the two counties, according to the Tri-City Development Council (TRIDEC).

WRPS, owned by Amentum and Atkins, has admitted no liability. The test with results that raised concerns is no longer used.

Environmental cleanup is underway at the 580-square-mile Hanford nuclear reservation. The underground radioactive waste storage tanks and the vitrification plant are in the center of the site.

“WRPS has a long history of hiring a qualified and diverse workforce,” the contractor said in a statement.

While WRPS does not agree with Department of Labor concerns, “This was an opportunity to work collaboratively with the agency to close out a very old audit,” it said.

The voluntary agreement “will help further our goal of being a model employer and federal contractor,” it said.

WRPS has 90 days to train all employees involved in recruiting and selecting applicants for the training program in question on appropriate standards.

That will include neutral application of qualifications and criteria used at each step of the hiring process and procedures used to document decisions.

WRPS has agreed to monitor selection rates for the training program and provide information to the Department of Labor on the number of people who apply and who are hired by ethnicity.

Progress reports must be provided through 2023.

Federal contractors are prohibited from discriminating in employment based on race, sex, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin.

From 2008 to 2021, WRPS received more than $7 billion in federal contracts and continues as the tank farm contractor under contract extensions.

The contractor is responsible for 56 million gallons of radioactive and hazardous chemical waste left from the past production of plutonium at the Hanford site.

Its work includes retrieving waste from underground leak-prone tanks to transfer to newer tanks and pretreating some of the waste to allow it to be turned into a stable glass form for disposal as soon as the end of 2023.

More information on the settlement agreement is available at

Thu, 08 Dec 2022 18:04:00 -0600 en-US text/html
Killexams : Turkiye to employ 27,000 contract-based health personnel

By News Center

The Turkish official Resmi Gazete newspaper carries a presidential decree on hiring 27,000 contract-based health personnel in 2023 to properly carry out health services.

With the decision published in the Resmi Gazete following the signing by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the number of personnel to be employed as contracted health personnel in 2023 is determined.

The decision states that in order to provide health services effectively and efficiently in places and service branches where it is difficult to find qualified candidates, a total of 27,000 contracted health personnel will be employed in 2023.

Accordingly, 23,585 specialist doctors, 3,224 physicians, 146 midwives, 38 health officers, 3 nurses, 1 dietitian, 1 dentist, 1 psychologist, and one health technician will be employed on a contract basis, effective as of January 1, 2023.


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Wed, 07 Dec 2022 21:34:00 -0600 en text/html
Killexams : Wards 5 and 7 will have contested races in 2023 election; filing closes today cannot provide a good user experience to your browser. To use this site and continue to benefit from our journalism and site features, please upgrade to the latest version of Chrome, Edge, Firefox or Safari.

Sun, 27 Nov 2022 19:05:00 -0600 en-US text/html
Killexams : Three challenge Edmond Mayor Darrell Davis, two Edmond council races on April ballot

(Update: This article and its headline were updated at 1:45 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, to reflect that Ed Moore withdrew his candidacy for Edmond mayor.)

With the candidate filing period concluding this evening, Edmond’s 2023 election landscape is set. Incumbent Edmond Mayor Darrell Davis drew three challengers in his bid for reelection, but one withdrew before the end of the week. That leaves Rich Hess, the owner of an employee benefits consulting agency called Trilogy Alliance, and Brian Shellem, the president of Advanced Automotive Equipment, as the remaining opponents to Davis.

Meanwhile, businessman Tom Robins will face Ashley Bradley, a senior engineering technician at Gulfport Energy Corporation, for Edmond’s open Ward 1 City Council seat.

In the City Council Ward 2 race, longtime Edmond Planning Commission Chairman Barry Moore will compete against Judy Rau, who worked 19 years for the City of Oklahoma City.

For Edmond Public Schools, Dr. Jerry Childs is seeking the EPS District 3 seat, which has been held by incumbent Jamie Underwood since 2001. Underwood also filed for reelection.

Because the race for mayor will consist of three candidates, there will be a Feb. 14 primary election. Under Edmond’s electoral rules, however, even if one candidate earns a majority of the primary vote, the top two vote earners will compete in a runoff election on April 4 no matter what.

Because the open Ward 1 and Ward 2 City Council races and the EPS District 3 seat all drew only two candidates, each of those elections will be on the April 4 general election ballot. Edmond residents from all wards are allowed to vote in the municipality’s general elections.

Three challenge Darrell Davis for mayor

Darrell Davis elected Edmond mayor
Darrell Davis speaks during an Edmond mayoral debate Wednesday, March 24, 2021, at the University of Central Oklahoma. (Michael Duncan)

Davis, 63, was first elected mayor in May 2021 when he received about 62 percent of the city’s vote against homebuilder Nathan Walters. Prior to being elected mayor, Davis served nearly 10 years as Edmond’s Ward 3 councilman. He was first appointed to the Edmond City Council in November 2011 and was re-elected to four-year terms in May 2013 and May 2017.

In addition to owning Trilogy Alliance, Rich Hess, 54, also serves as a board member on the Force 50 Foundation, which aims to develop a communication and coordination plan linking all resources assisting Oklahoma veterans. Hess is also the vice president of Healthcare Highways.

Rich Hess is a candidate for the Edmond mayoral seat.

Aside from Brian Shellem’s LinkedIn, he does not appear to maintain an online presence. Shellem, 48, was one of six parents who filed a lawsuit against Edmond Public Schools in September 2021 that sought and obtained a temporary injunction to prevent EPS from enforcing COVID-19 quarantining protocols.

Ed Moore, 78, filed to challenge Davis, but he withdrew his candidacy Friday, Dec. 9. Moore is an advisor on the board of the Edmond Neighborhood Alliance and an avid attendee of Edmond city meetings. During an EPS board meeting in April, Moore spoke during public comment on “raising teenagers and how that has changed.” During his allotted time, Ed Moore denounced communism and stated that “secular religion has snaked their way into schools, churches, government and corporate America.” Moore also recited lyrics from John Lennon’s song Imagine and played The Coasters’ song Yakety Yak from his phone.

Tom Robins and Ashley Bradley vie for Ward 1

In the Ward 1 race, Tom Robins, 42, is the founder and president of Solid Foundation Consulting and Oklahoma Innovation and Technology. Prior to founding Solid Foundation Consulting in 2018, Robins served as Oklahoma’s deputy secretary of energy from 2016 to 2018. He also worked as the manager of government affairs for Chesapeake Energy from April 2011 to October 2015.

Prior to working at Gulfport Energy Corporation, Ashley Bradley, 38, worked as an engineering technician from November 2014 to December 2018. She also worked numerous different positions at HighMount Exploration and Production, according to her LinkedIn.

Barry Moore v. Judy Rau in Ward 2

Barry Moore has been a member of the Edmond Planning Commission since June 2005, serving much of that time as chairman of the body. Moore’s professional career has revolved around the Oklahoma State Capitol. After working for the State Senate, Moore became a lobbyist and consultant for rural telecommunications companies in 1988.

Rau worked for Oklahoma City from 1996 to 2015, serving as a 911 dispatcher, a receptionist and administrative assistant for the chief of police. She also worked in the public safety project office following the passage of MAPS, among other positions. Rau also previously worked as the human resource manager for Titan Construction and as a flight attendant for United Airlines.

On her Facebook campaign account, Rau’s bio proclaims: “Keep east Edmond rural!”

Jamie Underwood v. Dr. Jerry Childs in EPS District 3

Underwood, 64, is seeking reelection to her EPS District 3 seat for the fifth time. She was first appointed to the seat in April 2001, after Kathy Panas, the previous District 3 board member, who is now Edmond’s director of finance, moved out of the district. Since her appointment to the board, Underwood has won elections to five-year terms in 2003, 2008, 2013 and 2018.

Childs is a doctor of osteopathic medicine. For 30 years, Childs practiced emergency medicine in emergency rooms around the state. Childs then worked as the medical director of the Oklahoma County Jail for five years. Before retiring in January, Childs worked as a regional medical director for county jails across the country.

Oklahoma County clerk post draws a crowd

Oklahoma County has the highest population of any county in the state. (Screenshot)

There is no shortage of candidates who want to run the Oklahoma County Clerk’s Office and collect its $122,000 salary and benefits in the process. The county clerk is responsible for maintaining records of a county, as well as setting agendas and recording the minutes and votes of county meetings.

Eight people — five Democrats and three Republicans — have filed to run in the special election to replace David Hooten, who resigned in June amid sexual harassment and other allegations from staff at the clerk’s office. At the time, Hooten made several bizarre claims that were captured in a recording while he was describing a proposed team-building exercise that would involve alcohol.

“Just so you all know, I’ve been genetically altered so I don’t get drunk no matter what,” Hooten said in the recording. “They gave me a chemical that changes your brain, because I travel in Europe, and so it actually won’t have an effect on me. But hopefully it has an effect on you all.”

Sean Cummings, Tiffany Ellis, Tom Guild, B.C. Phillips and Derrick Scobey have filed for the Democratic nomination.

Cummings, 59, currently serves as a member of The Village City Council while also operating an OKC-based bar and restaurant. He has advocated for criminal justice issues within the county.

Ellis, 42, works in communications for The Mettise Group in Oklahoma City.

Scobey, 55, is a pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. He is also a member of the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority, which oversees operations of the county jail.

Guild, 68, is making his eighth run for public office since 2010. Most recently Guild, who is a former law professor, ran for county treasurer earlier this year.

Phillips, 37, is making his first run for public office. He currently serves as the communications director for CASA in Oklahoma City. He has also served as Ward 6’s game and fish commissioner since 2019.

Republicans Gloria Banister, Jonathan Clour and Maressa Treat have filed to run for the Republican nomination for county clerk.

Banister, 52, owns an organic produce farm and I-44 Speedway in Oklahoma City. She ran unsuccessfully for House District 87 earlier this year.

Clour, 31, currently serves as the deputy Oklahoma County clerk. He is a minister who ran for the Oklahoma House of Representatives District 43 in 2014, losing in a runoff.

Treat, 40, is the director of development for GR Pro, a public affairs and strategic communication firm that sometimes does work for dark money political expenditure efforts in Oklahoma. Treat, who formerly worked for U.S. Sen. James Lankford, is married to Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat (R-OKC).

(Correction: This article was updated at 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, to correct reference to Edmond electoral rules.)

Wed, 07 Dec 2022 12:41:00 -0600 Joe Tomlinson en-US text/html
Killexams : Veterinarian and vet technician shortages felt industry-wide

INDIANAPOLIS — Like many industries, veterinarian clinics are having a hard time hiring qualified candidates. On top of that, they are also seeing an increase in demand for their services since more people than ever are choosing to add a furry friend to their family.

"We have definitely seen an increase in both current clients with new pets and we've had a lot of new clients and a lot of them have said it's been hard to find a vet to get them in,” Dr. Christopher Robinette the Head Vet at Geist Pet Wellness Clinic said.

That increase in demand comes at a time when the industry is seeing a shortage of both vet techs and veterinarians themselves.

"We are not immune it's across the board we are struggling to find applicants because of just the way the job market is right now," Robinette said.

According to a study by Mars Veterinary Healt, nearly 41,000 additional veterinarians will be needed to meet pet care needs by 2030.

Dr. Jim Wiseman the assistant dean for clinical education at Purdue Universities College of Veterinary Medicine says to fill that need he says the industry will likely need to utilize the training of support staff at vet clinics.

"Utilizing and strategizing their efforts will help in the need for helping veterinarians see more patients and therefore be more efficient in our day-to-day work and that will address some of this work fall shortage," Wiseman said.

But pay for veterinarian techs and nurses is also an area those in the industry say needs to be addressed.

"Certainly, on the veterinarian nursing or technician side pay has not caught up to where it needs to be today," Wiseman said.

However, veterinarians like Dr. Robinette say that looking at ways to make becoming a veterinarian more affordable could be another solution to the shortage.

"Student loan forgiveness is probably the biggest thing,” Robinette said. “Veterinarians come out with as much debt as human medical doctors and we get half or a fraction of the pay. So, you come out and you are a quarter million dollars in debt it takes a big emotional toll. “

According to the expert we talked to from Purdue starting pay has increased for veterinarians however he says the industry does need to work on creating a better work-life balance and providing vet professionals with mental health resources. While the shortage is being felt across the country rural communities are facing the largest shortages.

Copyright 2022 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Tue, 29 Nov 2022 11:19:00 -0600 en text/html
Killexams : Staffing shortage takes toll on CT health care workers: 'I leave work wanting to cry'

Since kindergarten, Sherri Dayton wanted to be a nurse. When she grew up and became one, she figured she'd never do anything else.

Then came COVID-19 and a multi-year health care crisis and a widespread staffing shortage and a rise in mandatory overtime. Dayton watched as co-workers left the field en masse, whether to become traveling nurses or to work in other industries, such as retail. One nurse she knew quit to drive a truck.

For the first time, Dayton began to question her future. Today, she continues to work as a nurse at the Plainfield Emergency Care Center, a division of Backus Hospital, prepping for what could be another winter of devastating viral illness — but has also begun pursuing a master's degree that will let her leave the bedside for another health care job.

"Just seeing where health care has gone, where the profession has gone, it's a broken system right now," said Dayton, who is vice president of health care for AFT Connecticut, a union representing health care workers. "I leave work wanting to cry."

Health care workers, more than those in perhaps any other industry, have had a difficult few years, full of long hours, stressful shifts and workloads beyond any they'd experienced before, resulting inevitably in frustration and burnout. One survey last year found that nearly one in five health care workers nationally had quit their job since the start of the pandemic, and nearly a third of those who stayed had considered quitting.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, meanwhile, shows that the total number of registered nurses nationwide dropped from 2020 to 2021, for the first time in five years.

Connecticut hasn't been immune to these trends. Health care workers interviewed for this story described long and tiring days on under-staffed floors alongside a revolving door of coworkers. They all know people — of all ages and experience levels — who have given up to do something else. 

"People are getting into the profession and saying, 'This is not what I thought it would be,'" said John Brady, a former registered nurse and AFT Connecticut's vice president. "Which doesn't bode well for the future."

'You start to lose hope'

Sonia Brown-Wright, a psychiatric technician, has worked at Hartford HealthCare's Institute of Living in Hartford for more than two decades. In all that time, she says, she has never seen staffing levels as bad as they are currently.

Brown-Wright says there is rarely enough staff on hand to run the floor, leaving those who are working stretched and tired, working extra shifts with few breaks. Low staffing levels can become a safety issue, she said, such as in one instance when a patient tackled a nurse, seriously injuring her leg, and there was no staff on hand to run and get help.

"If you don't have enough staff, someone is going to get hurt," said Brown-Wright, who said she has begun looking for other jobs.

Mandy Richards, chief nursing officer at Hartford HealthCare, acknowledged staffing issues in the system, requiring employees "to be nimble and flexible." Asked about the conditions Brown-Wright described, Richards said Hartford HealthCare values safety highly and has multiple internal channels through which employees can report concerns.

Connecticut's public hospitals, meanwhile, are facing similar, if not worse, staffing troubles. Solnit Children’s Center in Middletown, a state-run psychiatric facility, currently has 97 vacancies, 43 of which are in nursing, according to a spokesperson, and the union there says the building is operating at 48 percent capacity.

Darnell Ford, a children's services worker at Solnit, says the staffing levels take an emotional, psychological and physical toll on workers there.

"When you're asking people to do this in a way that there's no end in sight, you start to lose hope," he said. "And in the business of servicing children and their families, that's something you can't afford to lose."

Among the most frustrating aspects of the staffing shortage, Ford said, is how it affects patients, who then get either inferior treatment or no treatment at all.

This also gnaws at Dayton, who notes research showing that the presence of more nurses improves patient outcomes.

"If a nurse can be in that room every hour, she can Excellerate the outcomes of those patients significantly, prevent infections, prevent bedsores, prevent falls," Dayton said. "And when you're not there and these things happen, you get this moral injury, like 'I know I could have prevented that if only I didn't have 15 other things to do.'"

Marva Thomas-Taylor, a registered nurse at the state-run Connecticut Valley Hospital said nurses there do all they can to ensure patients get exactly the care they always have. But with far fewer of them on the floor than there used to be, that means an increasingly grueling workload.

"The nurse has to stretch themselves to do twice the work to get things done," she said. "Less trips to the bathroom, so you have to hold it as long as you can, and no breaks."

Health care workers often describe themselves as conscientious and mission-driven, having entered a difficult field out of a desire to help people. When COVID-19 hit, few complained about the long hours and dangerous conditions.

But as the pandemic has progressed and conditions have often gotten worse instead of better, some have struggled to maintain the same tireless pace. Now, as experts fear overlapping waves of COVID, flu and RSV, they're braced for another long and difficult winter but fearful of what that might cost.

"It'll drive people to want to step up and do more, but it will also wear them out quicker," Brady said. "They'll do it, but they'll do it until they break."

'It's only going to get worse'

To Ford, the Solnit employee, it sometimes seems that those in charge don't understand how dire the health care staffing crisis truly is.

"It's disheartening, it's frustrating that a lot of the people who make these decisions don't see what the direct care workers see, don't feel and go through what our nurses, doctors and clinicians go through," he said.

Amid a national shortage of workers across numerous industries, it hasn't been easy for the state or for private health systems to find the staff the need. Still, Ford said he'd like to see a more aggressive hiring push that would allow Solnit to open the units that are currently closed, perhaps by offering higher wages or more flexible schedules.

According to the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, which operates Solnit, the department has offered jobs to 33 nursing candidates since July 1 but only seven have accepted a position at the facilitiy. In a statement, DCF commissioner Vannessa Dorantes said safety for patients and employees "remains the priority in all our efforts" and that the department has "focused on targeted recruitment efforts," particularly in nursing.

Similarly, Richards said Hartford HealthCare has stepped up its hiring and retention efforts, bumping salaries, offering student debt assistance and creating a peer-support program through which nurses can provide each other emotional support.

Officials at Yale New Haven Health, Connecticut's other largest health system, did not grant an interview about staffing levels.

In a recent national report, AFT offered a variety of ways to ease the staffing crisis, from bolstering recruitment efforts to strengthening workplace protections to offering programs to support workers' mental health. Brady said he would particularly like to see greater input from workers in staffing plans, as well as state-mandated nurse-to-patient ratios and the elimination of mandatory overtime, which he describes as "a short-term solution that makes a long-term problem worse."

Dayton also keyed in on mandatory overtime, arguing that forcing employees to do more work only drives them out of the industry.

"Mandatory overtime is killing the morale in Connecticut," Dayton said. "The hospitals that mandate in Connecticut, they have a really tough time keeping people, and they're cutting off their nose to spite their face."

For now, Dayton says the situation in her department continues to deteriorate as difficult working conditions drive away nurses — further worsening the situation for the workers (and patients) who remain. Hiring, she says, is like "filling a bucket that has holes in the bottom."

The situation will likely only get worse moving forward, Dayton said. Whether or not she is still around to see it.

Sat, 03 Dec 2022 02:59:00 -0600 en-US text/html
Killexams : Too big of a job: Why Maricopa County’s ballot printers failed on Election Day

As Maricopa County investigates what exactly caused machines to reject thousands of voters’ ballots on Election Day, a Votebeat analysis of technical evidence found that local officials may have pushed the county’s ballot printers past their limits.

The thickness of the ballot paper the county used, the need to print on both sides, and the high volume of in-person voting are all likely to have contributed to poor print quality on ballots, according to Votebeat’s review of printer specifications, turnout data, and interviews with eight ballot-printing and election technology experts.

“It was a cascade of events, and once the first domino fell, they were setting the dominos back up while rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic,” said Genya Coulter, a senior election analyst and director of stakeholder relations for election technology and security nonprofit OSET Institute.

The poor print quality caused machines to then reject thousands of ballots across the county, forcing voters to instead place their ballots in a secure box to be tallied later. Two technical experts closely familiar with the county’s equipment, who did not want to be named because they didn’t want to get ahead of the county’s public statements, said that the paper thickness was likely a major factor in why the toner — the powder laser and LED printers use to make images on paper — did not properly adhere to both sides of the paper.

The county used thicker ballot paper than the printer supports when printing on both sides of the page, according to the user manual for the OKI B432dn LED printers. Paper weight of up to 80 pounds is supported, but the county’s ballots were printed on 100-pound paper.

“To perform high-quality printing, be sure to use the supported paper types that satisfy requirements, such as material, weight, or paper surface finishing,” the manual specifies.

The printers’ fusers, which melt the toner onto the paper, could have also degraded by the time Election Day arrived, said Coulter, who along with working for OSET, has advised and trained election workers on technology problems.

One month after the midterm election, Maricopa County election officials have yet to provide a full account of the problem. A detailed explanation could help address claims circulating from GOP leaders, including from Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, that the problems were somehow intentional and aimed at disenfranchising Republican voters. Analysis by numerous media outlets has found the problem did not disproportionately impact Republican-heavy areas.

At least 30% of vote centers had problems scanning ballots on Election Day, which forced about 17,000 voters to put their ballots in the secure box, known as “door 3,”  for later counting at the county’s central elections center. The county has emphasized repeatedly that everyone was able to cast ballots. But the problems exacerbated lines in some locations, according to several poll workers.

OKI Data Americas spokesperson Lou Stricklin told Votebeat in an email that it is “up to the elections services provider to test their systems (including the printer) to ensure that the ballot material being used is appropriate for the printer and printing accurately.”

Maricopa County Elections Department spokesperson Megan Gilbertson said that the testing county officials performed before the election confirmed that the printers worked with the county’s ballot paper.

“The Oki B432 printers have been a very reliable printer for the Election Department,” Gilbertson wrote in an email. “Our stress tests performed before and after the election show that printing on 100lb ballot paper in quick succession does not result in lower print quality.”

Maricopa’s testing somehow did not capture the problem. Election technical experts such as Neal Kelley, a ballot-printing expert and longtime former Orange County registrar of voters, say comprehensive testing is key. California is the only state with a state certification program for printers that requires rigorous testing before a county can use a printer, spurring election officials such as Kelley to use a comprehensive process to understand a printer’s capacity before buying them.

County officials first used the printers in 2020 and again in this year’s primary, and they didn’t know what difference could have triggered the problems in the general election. But in 2020, the county used 80-pound paper. And in the primary, the vast majority of ballots, or about 80% of ballot styles, were one-sided, according to Gilbertson. When only printing on one side, up to 110-pound paper is supported, according to the OKI manual.

Why some printers had problems and others didn’t is unclear. It could have to do with the age of the printers or the fusers. The county has only used the printers to print ballots since 2020 but was using them to print ballot envelopes during early voting before that. Of the fewer than 600 OKI printers the county currently has, 20 were purchased in 2017 and the rest were purchased in 2018, Gilbertson said.

Maricopa County officials declined a request for an in-person or phone interview for this story, and instead asked that Votebeat send questions in writing, with Gilbertson citing “lawsuits” as the reason.

“Maricopa County is continuing its root cause analysis to identify why some Oki printers did not print the timing marks dark enough,” Gilbertson wrote. “This is being done while we have been completing the canvass, recount and responding to public records requests and election contests.”

Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates, a Republican, has apologized on behalf of the county and said the problems cannot happen again. He has also acknowledged the importance of conducting smooth elections, especially since the 2020 election brought so much scrutiny onto the county’s practices.

“The eyes of the world are on Maricopa County,” Gates said at a press conference at the county’s election headquarters a few days after the election, surrounded by TV cameras and reporters from around the world.

Gates did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

COVID-19 led to county retrofitting printers

Cascading choices that county officials made over several years – some which were brought on by circumstances outside of their control such as COVID-19 and supply chain problems – contributed to the issues in this election.

As the 2020 election approached, traditional polling places such as schools and senior living facilities declined to operate as polling places for health reasons, so the county decided to make the switch to a new model of in-person voting that required fewer polling places.

The vote center model, which the county tested in part in 2018, would allow voters to cast ballots at any location, eliminating the need for a polling place in each precinct. But because voters could now come from any precinct to any location, and because each precinct has different contests on the ballot, the county needed a way to print any precinct’s ballot on demand.

With hundreds of thousands of voters expected on Election Day, the county needed lots of printers, fast. Meanwhile, the pandemic was also affecting the supply chain, Gilbertson said.

“To overcome these obstacles, the County found a solution to retrofit our printers that had been used to print ballot envelopes and control slips,” she said.

The ballot-on-demand system the county uses is from Runbeck Election Services, and Runbeck was consulted on the retrofitting of the OKI B432s. The retrofit included adding a laptop, updating firmware, and adding a paper feeder to fit ballots, according to the county’s 2020 primary election plan.

The B432’s worked well in 2020, so the county decided to keep them as they replaced the two other types of printers they had been using, another OKI model and a Lexmark. The county purchased 160 new Lexmark printers for $1.8 million last year, Gilbertson said.

For paper, the county was used to using thick paper. Heavy paper is recommended for use in the Dominion scanners that the county has long used to tabulate ballots on site, according to a Dominion technical guide.

In 2016 and 2018, the county used 110-pound paper. The county was renting larger printers, not using the smaller B432s, to print those ballots at the time, according to former Recorder Helen Purcell.

In 2020, 100-pound paper was not available because of paper shortages, county officials said previously. That led the county to use 80-pound paper. At the same time, the county began recommending using Sharpies to fill out ballots, adopting a recommendation from Dominion, because of their fast-drying properties.

That’s part of what caused what’s now known as “Sharpiegate.” The Sharpies bled through the thinner paper at times, causing voters to worry that their selections would not be read properly. Bleed-through doesn’t matter, though, because the ovals on the back are offset.

This year, county officials switched back to the 100-pound paper.

The county used the same printers in the primary that it did in the general this year, except for those that were decommissioned, Gilbertson said. Two factors were different, though: The length of the ballot went from 19 to 20 inches. And only 20% of ballot styles were two-sided in the primary, while all ballots were in the general.

Blake Sacha, a poll worker in Mesa, said his location experienced problems with ballots about an hour or so into Election Day. The line started to really back up at that point, he said. A technician was on site, but they couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Pretty soon, somehow, voters had figured out that if they colored in the timing marks on the ballot, the black lines along the edges that tell the machines where to look for voters’ selections, then the machine would accept the ballots.

“You could tell that, randomly, some of the black squares were not completely filled in,” he said. “Something was incomplete about those black dots.”

Similar systems across the country use thinner paper

The stakes are high for counties that rely on all parts of an electronic voting system to work perfectly in front of the voters’ eyes, from the time the voter checks in to the time the ballot is tabulated.

Much can go wrong in the sensitive system. Electronic poll books with voter registration information can have connectivity problems. The power supply itself can be too weak for the printer to function properly. Humidity can alter the paper quality ahead of time. Tabulators can be programmed incorrectly, causing wide-scale ballot rejection.

Votebeat could find only 10 counties of the 50 largest in the U.S. that print and tabulate their ballots on the spot on Election Day, using research from the National Conference of State Legislatures and Verified Voting. That’s in part because vote centers aren’t legally permitted everywhere.

Printing a ballot is a very precise task, from print quality to paper alignment, considering how sensitive ballot scanners are. And printers are known for their IT headaches.

Jeff Ellington, CEO of Runbeck Election Services, which manufactures the system that Maricopa County and many other counties use, said Runbeck chose which printers to pair with its ballot-on-demand system only after rigorous testing.

While the B432s are widely used for ballot printing, along with other OKI printers, they won’t be soon. OKI discontinued printer sales in the U.S. in March 2021, according to Stricklin, although customer support and parts are still available. Printer parts are typically available for five to seven years after a printer is discontinued, Stricklin said.

“We have not received any technical support inquiries regarding the Maricopa County printers,” Stricklin said. “As I noted above, we continue to maintain a customer support center to assist our ballot partners, or any customers, should they require technical support.”

So if other counties use these printers, why did only Maricopa County have the problem?

Votebeat’s review of similar systems across the country found one main difference: paper thickness. Orange County and other counties in California that are similar to Maricopa County in size and system, as well as many Florida counties, all use 70- to 80-pound paper.

Most counties use 80-pound paper, Ellington said.

The paper thickness matters because of the way these printers work. The fuser inside of the printer heats up to melt toner onto the paper. The thicker the paper, the hotter that fuser has to get, Ellington said. If it doesn’t get hot enough, that’s when you see problems with the print quality. Stricklin did say that a different OKI printer, the C931dn, is able to achieve higher print qualities on thicker paper stocks.

The county and Runbeck’s technical experts, who were deployed early on Election Day, quickly realized that print quality was part of the problem. Because the toner wasn’t properly adhered to the sheet, some was flaking off inside the scanner, affecting that machine’s ability to scan ballots.

Fix doesn’t explain the root cause of problems

By mid-day, the technical team had found a fix that seemed to be working.

Technicians changed the “media weight” setting, which considers the thickness of the paper, for the ballot envelopes and ballot receipt from medium to heavy. The county has said that the media weight setting for the ballot itself was already set to heavy.

It’s unclear why changing the setting for the envelopes and receipts would affect how the ballot was printed. Asked to explain, Gilbertson responded  “Our root-cause analysis is still in process.”

The fix didn’t seem to help everywhere, according to Votebeat interviews with multiple poll workers.

Sandi Steele, who served as a poll worker in Surprise, said that a technician came to her location around 2:30 p.m. and changed the setting on the printer. The tech stood there and watched for about 10 to 15 minutes and it seemed to be working fine.

“But once you took your eyes off of it…” she said. “I don’t think the fix solved it as well as they said.”

Steele said the problem kept cropping back up, even after the settings change, and workers were isolating printers throughout the day to try to figure out the problem. The tabulator would take one or two ballots, and then kick one out, she said.

“All of us were throwing out all kinds of theories,” she said.

The setting change seemed to work at Sacha’s location in Mesa, which pleased voters. By about noon, all three printers were up and running.

“When they started taking ballots successfully, people were cheering and happy,” he said.

Cleaning off the toner that had flaked onto the scanners was also crucial, according to a technical expert familiar with Maricopa County’s system. Before the election, the county had trained technicians on how to clean the scanners. That was new this year, in part because the county knew that Republican leaders were encouraging people to bring ballpoint ink pens to the polls, because of Sharpiegate. These pens dry slower than felt-tip pens, gumming up the scanners.

Tara Bartlett, a Democratic Party observer at a vote center in Phoenix, said that her location had problems starting early in the morning. A technician came and cleaned the tabulator, she said, and that helped.

“But I wouldn’t say it solved all problems,” she said.

As the tabulator continued rejecting some ballots, the line at times was past the polling place’s 75-foot boundary, she said. She didn’t know until the next day the county had deployed a printer fix, and doesn’t think that fix was ever implemented at her vote center.

“We had problems up to 7 p.m.,” Bartlett said.

When the county got the roughly 17,000 ballots that had been placed in door 3 back to its central elections center, it found that most of them could be scanned by the larger tabulators there. On nearly 1,600 of them, the county found that voters used ballpoint pens and didn’t properly fill in the ovals to mark their selections, which is why they could not be initially scanned.

High in-person turnout leads to high demand for printers

In-person voter traffic was significantly higher this year than in 2020, although individual vote centers served about the same number of voters because the county increased the number of locations.

The county’s printers served 248,000 in-person voters on Election Day in the November election, compared with 165,000 voters two years ago. In this year’s primary, it was 106,000 in-person voters on Election Day, versus 60,000 in the 2020 primary.

The county uses between two and four printers at each location, based on how busy the location is and the size of the location. A standard polling place has eight check-in stations and three printers. In both the 2020 and 2022 general elections, the busiest locations saw more than 2,000 voters on Election Day.

OKI’s fusers are reliable for up to 100,000 standard one-sided pages, according to the company’s website. The county’s ballots were double-sided and 20-inches long.

Coulter said with such long ballots and high in-person turnout, the OKI printers could have reached their limit.

“[In Maricopa County] if the same two printers were in operation for Election Day and a three-week early voting period, it’s altogether possible that the fuser wore out,” she said.

Coulter said the county should have more printers at each location, and one printer for every voter check-in computer, or e-pollbook. She gave an example from the polling place she led during early voting in Lakeland, Florida, which had four e-pollbooks and four printers for an average daily turnout of 750 or more.

In Orange County, which uses OKI B432s to print ballots on demand, Election Day turnout at each vote center ranged from 113 to 1,336 voters. The county’s ballot is 14 inches long and two to three pages. The county had four printers at most vote centers, with three at smaller locations, according to Bob Page, the county’s registrar of voters.

The county uses 70-pound paper, and replaces their toner before every election.

Kelley said that, in Orange County, the county expected to get somewhere between four to six years of use from the printers before replacing them.

Printing papers with different thicknesses over time, such as ballots and envelopes, can cause damage to the printers, Kelley said, and can cause ballot alignment problems.

“Printing envelopes can be challenging, and cause wear and tear on the printer,” he said.

Mark Lindeman of Verified Voting agreed that printers can lose their reliability over time. That said, he said it’s human nature for us to think that something that works will continue to work.

“I’m sure that election officials will have a woulda, coulda, shoulda,” he said.

Could certification or more rigorous testing have caught the problem?

Lindeman, Kelley, and other technology experts asked whether more rigorous testing could have caught the problem before Election Day.

The county printed dozens of test ballots from every printer before the election, Gilbertson said.

It also stress-tested eight printers, which included printing hundreds of ballots in quick succession and then running them through tabulators.

Additionally, the secretary of state’s office requires counties to provide ballots printed by its ballot-on-demand system for the logic and accuracy test the state performs in every county before each election.

In California, the certification process means counties put ballot-on-demand systems through a rigorous testing and procurement process before selecting one.

In Orange County, Kelley said he spent 18 months writing the request for proposals for the county’s election system, including the ballot-on-demand system, and it took three years for the county to decide and purchase the new system, which used the B432s.

He considered the reliability of the printer, the speed the printer could print on both sides, the cost of the toner, and other factors, he said. When he accepted equipment, he ran a high volume test on each printer.

In Santa Clara County, the bid the county put out for printers specifically required the printer manufacturer to prove ballots had the capacity to handle the demands of the county’s elections, according to the bid specifications the county gave Votebeat. That included being able to print high quality on both sides of the ballot using up to 100-pound paper.

In retrospect, it may seem important for the county to have run high-volume tests on all printers, Lindeman said, but “that feels like gilding the lily.”

Purcell, the former county recorder, said while it’s difficult to anticipate every scenario that could occur on Election Day, election officials should be able to address the problem for the future.

“We have always found there is a solution to everything,” she said.

Fri, 09 Dec 2022 01:10:00 -0600 Jen Fifield/Votebeat en-US text/html
Killexams : Recruitment to fill up over 17,000 posts in UP National Health Mission Recruitment to fill up over 17,000 posts in UP National Health Mission © Provided by India Today Recruitment to fill up over 17,000 posts in UP National Health Mission

The National Health Mission (NHM), Uttar Pradesh has issued an advertisement for the recruitment of 17,291 posts on contract basis. The process of recruitment to the posts of ANM, staff nurse, lab technician, pharmacist, and other technicians has been started.


- Starting from November 27, the candidates can apply online till December 12. A large-scale recruitment process has been started to run the schemes in a better way.

- Applications have been invited for recruitment to 17,291 posts.

- Recruitment will be done based on an examination of 100 marks. It will be mandatory for the candidate to pass the computer test.

- Though many schemes of NHM are being implemented in UP, the recruitment will be done for a total of 12 schemes including National Urban Health Mission, District Health Society, Maternal Health, Community Process, RBSK, Child Health, PM Abhim, 15 Finance Commission, National Program, Non-Communicable DCs, Blood Bank and Training Scheme.

- Candidates in the age group of 18 to 40 years can apply.

- Applicants will not have to deposit any kind of fee for recruitment.

- Separate honorariums have been fixed for each scheme. From Rs 12,500 to Rs 30,000 per month will be given to the selected candidate.

Mon, 28 Nov 2022 16:02:46 -0600 en-IN text/html
Killexams : Doctor is not in By Melvin Mathew

BBMP looks at medicos who have to work for govt service to fill vacancies at Namma Clinics

Falling short of doctors for the second phase of Namma Clinics, the BBMP now plans to seek help from compulsory government service to fill posts. The BBMP needs to fill 130 positions for Phase 2 to launch by December- end.

In the first phase, BBMP has planned to open 109 clinics to be launched by mid-December and it now has an adequate number of doctors for that phase. But for the second phase, 135 clinics will be launched and BBMP is facing a severe crunch of doctor staff here.

Namma Clinics will have one MBBS doctor, nurse and lab technician and a group D employee.

BBMP Special Commissioner (Health) Dr Trilok Chandra told BM, “For the remaining 135 clinics, we are making arrangements and will likely fill the positions by the end of the month. We are exploring alternatives with compulsory government service. We need a regular batch of personnel to run Namma Clinics. This will also assure that candidates will come on a year-to-year basis and clinics will have an assured supply of manpower. We have written to the government regarding this and they are working on it.”

BBMP is planning to employ fresh graduates to fill empty positions in Namma Clinics. “We require at least 130 positions to be filled,” said Chandra.

BBMP has also made another proposal -- As per the Latest National Medical Guidelines, during the third, fourth and fifth semester, medical students are supposed to work a few months in a public health setup. “We have also spoken to the Directorate of Medical Education regarding this,” added Chandra.

The Palike had called for public notifications informing about the job positions available four times. Approximately, 130 people had applied, but only a handful of candidates reported for duty, say officials.

According to data provided by BBMP, for the Namma Clinics project, no new buildings were constructed. As many as 155 clinics have been installed on the BBMP premises and the remaining are being rented out. These are 1,000-1,200 sq feet spaces established for providing affordable health care.

Wanted: Doctors for Namma Clinics

Bengaluru needs 43 more applicants for post of doctors at Namma Clinics

Around 438 Namma Clinics are being planned in Karnataka and 243 in Bengaluru alone. Each ward in the city will have at least one clinic. The state government is expected to spend Rs 138 crore per year towards staff maintenance.

The clinics will act like Primary Health Centres and will be primarily targeted at people below the poverty line. The Namma Clinics are being established to bridge the gap left due to having only a few PHCs in urban spaces.

Tue, 06 Dec 2022 10:30:00 -0600 en text/html
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