Over $400,000 of Measure A funding will be used to help City of Turlock employees take care of their mental wellbeing following approval of a contract by Councilmembers on Tuesday.
In a 4-1 vote with Vice Mayor Pam Franco dissenting, the City Council authorized the execution of a service agreement between the City and Florida-based company Performance on Purpose during their first meeting of the new year. Performance on Purpose responded to a request for proposal prepared at the request of Council, and is charging $417,994 to implement a voluntary mental wellbeing program for City employees.
According to the company’s website, Performance on Purpose’s mission is to “equip leaders and their teams with the tools to perform at their highest potential by offering science-based behavior change solutions to improve wellbeing and performance.”
“People are understanding that mental health is a business-critical conversation that needs to happen, and people cannot perform their jobs if they are not supported by the resources they need,” Performance on Purpose co-founder Lauren Hodges told the Council. “And that has to come, many times, from the workplace.”
Two other companies also responded to the RFP with cost estimates of $293,235 and $197,700 for the mental wellbeing program, but Performance on Purpose was recommended by City staff thanks to its “strong strategy” and utilization of “the latest science and research in human performance,” per the staff report.
Through the program, City leadership and employees will have the opportunity to take part in a variety of offerings such as live, in-person retreats (leadership only), biometric screenings, performance coaching and a variety of virtual programs ranging in topics like nutrition, stress management and meditation, to name a few.
The nearly $420,000 tab will be funded using Measure A money, which is a citywide sales tax approved by Turlock voters in the November 2020 election and is estimated to provide $11 million in annual revenue.
There were eight areas listed in the Measure A ordinance — “protect Turlock’s long-term financial stability, maintain and restore public safety services, rapid 911 emergency and medical response, fire protection, fix streets and potholes, support local businesses, address challenges with homelessness and vagrancy and protect Turlock’s ability to respond to emergencies and natural disasters.”
The program was originally meant to be funded by COVID relief money from the American Rescue Plan Act, but Councilmember Andrew Nosrati motioned Measure A money be used instead as the Council continues to explore the best ways to utilize relief funds. Additionally, business owners and community members called in to voice their displeasure at ARPA funds being used for the program.
“I’m not judging this presentation; it sounds like it could be a good thing,” Main Street Antiques owner Lori Smith said. “...But to me, it looks like from what I read, this probably could include about 300 people and so much of it is voluntary…You have no way of knowing how many people are going to actually use it…Can we use $400,000 in a way that it can benefit the public a little bit more?”
Councilmember Nicole Larson expressed hesitancy to approve such an agreement without a City Manager selected, to which Mayor Amy Bublak assured her one would be chosen in two to four weeks. The original item was also amended to say that the program will not begin until the new City Manager has been seated, and the new executive will be the one to work with Performance on Purpose to implement it.
“My values are that we, as leaders, it’s our obligation to make sure our employees are of sound body and mind and able to provide the best service to our constituents,” Bublak said. “...We’re sitting at a time where we’re losing a lot of people who don’t want to work any longer because of the things that have happened in COVID…This is our way of showing our appreciation to them.”