Congratulations Christine Cunneen 

The Outstanding HR Advocate Award recognizes the valuable contributions made by one Rhode Island SHRM member to elevating the HR profession through advocacy and engagement with state and federal public officials.

For nearly 12 years, Christine Cunneen of Hire Image has served as a member of Rhode Island SHRM’s Legislative Affairs Committee.  During this time, she has made many valuable contributions to our organization and to the HR profession in Rhode Island.

As a subject matter expert in the field of background and drug screening, Christine has shared her insight and perspective with elected officials on countless occasions.  Christine has made calls, written letters, crafted written testimony, testified in person, and offered feedback on proposed legislation.  Christine has organized and attended in-person meetings with state and federal officials regarding issues of critical importance to the HR profession—including ban-the-box and proposals to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use.

When COVID-19 took hold in Rhode Island in early March, Christine played a leadership role in Rhode Island SHRM’s efforts to keep our members informed of important state and federal legislative developments affecting them and their response to the pandemic. Christine planned, organized, and facilitated three of our COVID-19 related webinars—one of which was the highest attended program in our organization’s history.  She also has been involved with the planning of several Legislative Conferences, most recently the 2020 Fall Legislative.

Christine is well-regarded by her peers in the HR profession who appreciate her knowledge and expertise and her willingness to go above and beyond to help a colleague in need.

The Employees at the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training

to receive RI SHRM’s Outstanding Public Servant Award.

For Immediate Release, Aug 14, 2020:
Cindy Butler, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, RI SHRM State Chapter Director

The Rhode Island Society for Human Resource Management State Chapter (RI SHRM) will present its 2020 Outstanding Public Servant Award to the employees at the RI Department of Labor and Training on September 10, at their annual Legislative and Employment Law Breakfast—which will be virtual this year.  This award recognizes individuals who have affected positive change in the workplace and whose actions have benefited employers, employees and the human resources profession. 

“The employees of DLT rose to the challenge presented by the COVID-19 pandemic”, said Greg Tumolo, Esq., Director of Legislative Affairs at RI SHRM.  Facing an unprecedented influx of TDI/TCI and unemployment claims as well as WorkShare applications, the employees of the DLT worked tirelessly to serve Rhode Island employers and employees.  For example, they adjusted staffing levels to respond to the increased claim volume; they complied with new federal mandates under the CARES Act for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and quickly disseminated information to employers regarding the availability of new benefits for employees, while frequently updating and improving their website.  

Cindy Butler, SPHRM, SHRM-SCP who is RI SHRM’s State Chapter Director praised the state employees for their diligence and commitment during this challenging time. “These employees remained accessible to us, responding to a multitude of questions and concerns by our members and their employees, in a very dynamic period—answering phone calls and emails at night and on weekends”. 

This award is typically presented to an individual, and this was the first time a group of employees will receive this award in its 18 year history. Butler stated, “We know that the DLT was under tremendous pressure and public scrutiny—often operating with outdated systems, and we think their efforts were extraordinary.”  

Throughout the pandemic, the employees of the DLT—including Assistant Director, Matthew Weldon, have remained very accessible to RI SHRM members, and others in the employer community.  Matt has participated in multiple webinars, responded to written questions and numerous requests by our members regarding unemployment, workshare and temporary disability benefits, in an effort to clarify the regulations and resolve processing issues. The employees of the DLT exemplify public service and deserve to be recognized for their contributions during these difficult times.

This award was presented at the Fall Legislative Conference on Sept. 10th, 2020 with special guests
Senator Jack Reed
 and Governor Gina M. Raimondo. 

RI Society for Human Resource Management
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