Public Risk Magazine


Public Risk, PRIMA’s 10-time-per-year magazine, is the flagship publication of the  association. This publication provides risk managers with timely, focused information  in an easy-to-read format. Public Risk features articles from risk management  practitioners as well as industry professionals. Articles range from current trends,  risk management procedures and guidelines, legislation changes, spotlights and  more that will engage your office while keeping them informed!

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March 2018


March cover

Featured Articles:

Successfully Implementing Change as a New Risk Manager

By Yvonne Moebs and Tim Zimmerschied

You have just started your first day as the risk manager for a public entity, your manager shows you to the office, goes over preliminary discussion and leaves. Now what are you to do? The following article contains tips that we have learned through the school of hard knocks—either by going into newly created positions or replacing others. These tips can make your first 90 days a little less hectic. In the first 90 days, a new risk manager should focus on three main areas:

1. Where are we?
2. What are the internal customers’ needs and/or wants?
3. Where do we want to go? 

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Reflections of a Photograph: What We Should Be Seeing

By Christopher Russell

Rarely a day goes by that we don’t see pictures posted in professional networks or on social media of employees caught carrying out unsafe work or allowing unsafe work conditions. You name it and we’re seeing it too! Employees unprotected in deep trenches, working out of loader buckets, standing on the top rungs of ladders that happen to be placed on top of shoddy scaffolding, or chatting on high roof tops without fall protection. Maybe you’ve seen the picture of the large forklift that’s lifting the smaller forklift, which is lifting a load they are trying to place on a high mezzanine, with men standing on the forks and under the load trying to help spot it into place? Oddly enough, the person posting is frequently a manager, or risk and safety professional, voicing disbelief in the fact that their employees would participate in such treacherous acts. We often read that many of their employees have been doing this for years and “should know better” especially after being told what to do by their supervisors. In many ways, we can certainly relate to the frustration of seeing people choose to place themselves in harm’s way to complete a job task. Unfortunately, the fact remains that we are still sitting there, looking at a picture of employees performing dangerous tasks in hazardous work conditions. Further reflection on the issue seems to leave us wondering… Is simply telling employees what to do enough? Should we be doing more?

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What Chipping Paint Taught Me About Finding Meaning at Work

By Bill Howlett

How many of you have a love-hate relationship with your current goal-setting process?

In an ideal world, it should be simple. The drumbeat usually goes something like this: an employee’s goals should be tied to departmental goals, which are also tied to something else that’s much bigger. If it was that easy, there would be a lot more love going around for our dear friend, the goal-setting process.

But we all know it’s not that easy. And we know the pain points that come with a lack of clarity around goals. The biggest one—disengaged employees.

In 2016, Gallup published its State of Local and State Government Workers’ Engagement in the US report. More than 400,000 full-time US workers, including nearly 61,000 state and local government workers, were surveyed to determine engagement levels across the country. The message to government leaders was sobering: 71 percent of public sector employees are not engaged in their jobs.

A lack of clarity around strategy and delayed feedback processes have long been cited as common challenges that impact employee productivity and engagement. This might sound simplified, but in the 30 years I’ve worked in training and organizational development, and even during my time in the US Navy, I’ve learned that organizations and individuals need effective goal-setting processes and regular feedback and communication to be successful.

Let me share with you a personal example from my time in the navy to illustrate how powerful it is for people to have a clear understanding of their role and why it matters in the grand scheme of things.

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Read the full issue