University of Illinois Extension conducted a survey to better understand and respond to emerging needs and issues during the COVID-19 crisis. Survey responses were collected May 11-25, 2020, with 163 local elected officials, business owners, and organization leaders from 58 counties across the state responding. According to the survey, the biggest challenges local governments and businesses face include reduced revenues, disruptions of community life, and threats to health and safety, including mental health. At the time of the survey, economic and budget concerns outweighed worries about a virus resurgence 7 to 1. Most local organizations reported receiving information and advice on COVID-19 response online, through webinars, websites, social media, and email. Although 55% of respondents reported receiving “about the right volume of information,” nearly 40% reported receiving “too much,” and only 5% “too little” information. Respondents split evenly on whether that information was helpful (51%), with 14% indicating information received was not helpful and 35% stating it was only partially helpful. Information that was considered helpful included business-relevant information; local health data; concise, uniform, and research-based information; and information on safety. Information deemed less helpful was described as repetitive, contradictory, voluminous, or overly political.
The Illinois Big Tree Register (IBTR) was established in 1962 as a citizen outreach program in order to discover, record, recognize, and appreciate the largest native tree species in the Prairie State. For 58 years, the IBTR has spawned a generation of big tree hunters and big tree aficionados who relish the opportunity and bask in the glory of finding and nominating the next Illinois champion tree! The University of Illinois Extension Forestry program would like to encourage everyone to search our forests, parks, and front yards for future champion trees. We hope that in searching for these trees, citizens will become more aware of the vital importance of Illinois’ rural and community forest resource.
USDA is providing a pamphlet, Do Yourself a Favor Join a Cooperative, which focuses on the unique aspects of doing business and providing services on a cooperative basis and the special benefits that cooperative members enjoy. A cooperative is a business or service organization with two unique characteristics: it is owned and democratically controlled by the people who use its services, and the benefits, including services received and earnings allocations, are distributed to the user-owners on the basis of how much they use the cooperative. Business decisions are made on the basis of what is in the overall best interests of the members. Each member maintains his or her status as an individual, and the cooperative becomes a means to realize business and personal goals.
Dr. Robert L. Elliott, Co-founder of ERA Solutions Group, will present Public Service Motivation (PSM) in the Illinois Extension Local Government Education webinar series on August 6 at noon. Elliott will cover employee performance and reasons to take PSM into account in human resource actions and professional development. Elliott has experience across public safety, higher education, military, and emergency management. He obtained his DPA in Public Administration from the University of Illinois at Springfield. His dissertation research involved determining the relationship between PSM and both in-role and extra-role employee performance behaviors of a large police agency. Further analysis considered implications of organization commitment, person-organization fit, and prior military service. He co-founded ERA Solutions Group, a veteran owned business specializing in public-sector employee assessment. Results inform clients on both demographic trends and how employee perceptions affect important areas related to recruiting and retention.