Our Values in a COVID World – Integrity

THERE IS A SUPERHERO INSIDE ALL OF US,
WE JUST NEED THE COURAGE TO PUT ON THE CAPE.

INTEGRITY – WE ARE TRUSTWORTHY
The Arc Baltimore is accountable to those we support and their families when our practices are open and transparent with all stakeholders, our systems of compensation are fair, and our communications are consistent and reciprocal. We are financially sustainable and assure public trust.


“Put on the Cape” blog series by CEO Kathleen Durkin

OUR VALUES IN A COVID WORLD – INTEGRITY
6/5/20

This value hits a deep personal cord for me so I hope you will allow me some leeway as I share a family memory.  My dad was a good man and a demanding one.  Honesty was valued above all in our house.  I remember when I was a young child, we had just returned from food shopping at the Acme, and Dad realized the clerk had given him the wrong change.  He loaded my sister and me back in the station wagon and drove back to that store to give that clerk back the money—it was merely a few coins!  Even at that age, I knew it wasn’t about the .85 cents, it was about teaching his daughters to do the right thing.  Without integrity, we have nothing.  I vowed when I took this job, that I would lead this organization with integrity, and so was pleased when our team selected integrity as one of our core values.

Today, COVID is challenging everyone’s sense of self and of being accountable to our neighbors and communities even when it’s hard. As our County Executive recently said in the context of opening up Baltimore County, “just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.” Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking. I find it really hard to wear my mask for a long period of time, do you?  Direct Support Professionals know that to keep people safe, they need to wear the mask at the homes for the entire shift. Are you? Are you washing your hands when you first come on a shift in someone’s home? Are you taking your temperature? Are you practicing social distancing, even in your personal life, knowing that what you do will ultimately keep the people we work for safe and healthy or place them at greater risk?  In today’s COVID climate, doing the right thing is often bigger than ourselves.

As an agency, we are being transparent.  As soon as the first positive test result came back, all staff received a notice about how we would handle positive test results for staff and people we support.  We committed to increased pay for staff who agreed to continue to work during these times, and we did that without confirmation of funding to pay for it. I am meeting with our board of directors frequently during this crisis so that they, as our governance group, will feel informed. We are accountable to the people we support and each other, and our actions demonstrate that.

I know these times are hard and we are tired and ready for life to get back to normal. And it will, but it will be different too. We will define “normal” together and through the lens of our values of unity, innovation, excellence, and integrity.  Please stay in touch, let me know how I can do better to lead us during this time.  Are we communicating enough, too much, too little?  As we begin our phased-in approach to “re-opening,” honest and transparent communication will be vital and it must be reciprocal. Please, add your voice.


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