Respecting, Enabling, and Involving All Personnel in a Sustainable Continuity of Operations Plan

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - education, land use - planning, ridership - commuting, policy - sustainable


Teamwork, Study and teaching, Personnel, Pandemic influenza, Operations, Officials and employees, Local government, Employees, Emergency planning, Education and training, Cooperation, Continuity of operations, Communication, Collaboration, Civil engineers, Bernalillo County (New Mexico)


This paper describes implementation of a local government continuity of operations plan and pandemic influenza appendix through the first plan–train–exercise cycle. The potential for pandemic influenza was addressed by the Bernalillo County Public Works Division, New Mexico, as part of an all-hazards approach in continuity of operations planning. The continuity of operations planning process typically emphasizes loss of use of facilities. A pandemic scenario based on the 1918 influenza is used to determine whether adequate staff will be available to ensure that essential functions are performed. Staff reduction during an emergency requires difficult choices among what is “essential.” It also requires redefinition of each member of the staff as currently or potentially providing an essential function. The paper describes how all personnel are involved in the continuity of operations plan. “All personnel” in this agency involves more than 200 employees with diverse job descriptions and skills. All personnel include political appointees, janitorial staff, civil engineers, field technicians, and clerical staff. Each person is considered an essential employee. Respect for each individual as an essential employee was demonstrated by enabling and involving each employee. Human factors addressed during the process included communication to ensure that all staff were informed, education to ensure that all staff could be trained, and organization to ensure that all staff were part of a team. The result of the approach is a near-term capability to maintain essential functions during a pandemic influenza. The effort also supports long-term, all-hazards local government capacity to maintain essential functions.