By The Riderwood Reporter Staff
Please come and join the next “Conversation with Administration” at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 29, in Maryland Hall at Montgomery Station
These monthly conversations provide an opportunity for residents to share concerns and receive feedback. They also help Administration understand what we can do to improve service to residents. Transcripts of questions and answers from the meeting may be rephrased without changing the accuracy of the information presented or omitted due to spacing issues for this column in the Reporter.
The following reflects the highlights of Conversation with Administration conducted in March:
Updates from the Executive Team
• Resident Becky Griffin spoke about April being ‘Pay it Forward’ month sponsored by the CommUNITY Living Committee. The goal is to increase the amount and awareness of daily acts of kindness and gratitude towards one and other.
• New dining menus were rolled out on March 18 to mostly positive reactions. Some of the negative reactions were fixable and were dealt with over the following weeks. Approximately 50% of the menu in each dining room was changed. 50% of those changes are a direct result of resident suggestions and feedback at the Voice of the Customer focus groups.
• Gordon Gillmore has been hired as a Sous Chef in Windsor Dining Room. Gordon comes to Riderwood with a wealth of culinary experience in both the restaurant and the hotel industries.
• Dining Services relaunched the Chef’s Dinner event on March 19 with about 24 residents attending. This event is an opportunity for residents to enjoy a multi-course meal created by one of the community chefs. More of the Chef’s Dinners will be coming soon.
• The Village Square roofing project began on Thursday, March 21. The project is expected to last until June but is dependent on the weather.
• In response to resident concerns, Jason Spivey reiterated that the Special Trips program would not be going away even with the recent staffing changes. The plan is to evolve the program and make improvements going forward.
• At the time of the meeting, a gas line was being installed by Washington Gas for the new Wellness Center. The water line was also being upgraded to accommodate the new building. The sidewalk to Calvert Landing is shut down as a result of this work and will most likely be closed until mid-June.
• In Lakeside Commons, the permits have arrived, and work will begin soon. The plan is to expedite the satellite fitness center to limit the time with only two on-campus fitness locations (Village Square and Montgomery Station).
• The new Calvert Landing elevator is currently on schedule to be completed by mid-July.
• The current fitness center at Lakeside Commons was closed on Wednesday, March 20. The newer equipment from Lakeside Commons will be replacing some of the exercise equipment in Village Square.
• The chairs that were available for sampling in Lakeside Commons will now be tested at other Erickson Living communities that are getting ready for similar Long-Range Planning projects.
• Our new Associate Executive Director, Alphonso Westley, has been hired and started March 25.
Resident Questions and Comments
• I recently had a friend stop by the front desk to drop off a package for me. The Communications Specialist would not accept the package and said that it had to be delivered directly to my apartment. This is a change from previous policies. Can this policy be reverted?
Since this meeting on March 20, the procedure has been adjusted. The Front Desks will now accept most personal packages for you to pick up at a later time. Packages from FedEx and UPS will still be dropped off at your apartment door unless a signature is required.
• I wanted to pass along a compliment about our dining services department. I’ve lived at Riderwood for two months now, and the food here is phenomenal. The staff in the dining areas are very accommodating, and I’m amazed by how nice they are.
We appreciate the compliment and will be sure to pass it along to the team.
• I have had several instances recently where I will reach out to a staff member and not receive a response in a timely fashion.
We’re sorry for this lack of communication. One of our biggest goals for 2019 is improving response time and responses in general to our residents. It’s not enough to say, “We’ll take care of it,” and then not follow up. That being said, please let us know when you called and whom you called so that we can work with our staff to improve this.
• Several staff members are parking in lots and spaces designated for residents. It’s frustrating to have to pay for a reserved space because the staff is not being held accountable.
We are aware of the issue and, while not necessarily made public, when “caught,” staff is held accountable for these infractions through written and verbal warnings, vehicle restrictions, and, in severe cases, termination. Similar to communications, we asked that you please share specific information about the infraction including where it occurred, when it happened, and the license plate or Riderwood parking sticker information of the car. Share this information with the security team when you notice the problem and they will work to resolve it immediately.
• I want to commend the Grounds department on their outstanding work of removing the snow during the many storms this past winter. A special thanks to Jenny Brunt for using her plow to get closer to resident vehicles and making it easier for residents to get out of parking spots.
We appreciate the compliment, and we will be sure to pass it along to the team.
• Can the administration post Wellness Center construction information and drawings in the link between Calvert Landing and the Chapel as many residents watch the construction from that space?
We are working on posting this information in the link, and we have added more seating to the area as well.
• I have concerns about the shingles being used for the Village Square roofing project. The packaging of the shingles used for the previous Montgomery Station roofing project said that they were 15-year shingles. This seems like a waste of money when longer lasting ones are available.
At the April Conversation with Administration meeting, it was confirmed that the new shingles used on Montgomery Station and Village Square are 40-year shingles as verified by the manufacturer.
• Also, about the roofing project, some of the construction equipment has caused ruts to be cut through the lawns across campus.
The plan is to repair the ruts in the lawn this spring once the weather warms up.
• Is the site plan for the new wellness building available anywhere? I’d like to see where exactly things will be including the building footprint, sidewalks, and landscaping.
That information will be shared during regular construction update meetings which we will be holding throughout the Lakeside Commons and Wellness Center construction processes. The information will also be posted in the link between Calvert Landing and the Chapel.
• While I appreciate the new guest ID badge program, I don’t understand how guests that get an ID badge can get through the gates quicker.
The provided ID badge can be swiped in the resident/employee lane which will open the gate and therefore bypass the guest lane. The badge can also be used to open exterior building doors meaning guests don’t have to come through the lobby to get to your apartment.
• Are notes taken during these Conversation with Administration meetings?
Notes are taken during the meeting. We also have it recorded by the Riderwood TV Studio, and it’s summarized for the Riderwood Reporter newspaper.
• I’d like one central location where I can find all the upcoming movie screenings across the campus.
While the community paper bulletin boards do have flyers for most (if not all) of the movie screenings, they are not necessarily all together on the bulletin board. We are currently discussing possibly reorganizing the bulletin boards and will consider this idea. Movie information is also available on MyErickson and the digital signs in the lobbies.
(Editorial note – Several questions and concerns about the Special Trips department were brought up during this session of Conversation with Administration. While it is the goal of the Riderwood Reporter to document these meetings, new and more thorough information was released after this particular meeting during a Special Trips Town Hall meeting. We have omitted the Special Trips questions and comments as not to mix up the more recent information that has since been released. The Special Trips Town Hall meeting is available online at http://www.riderwoodtv.com.)