Thursday, November 22, 2012

ER #49: Sleepy Award

City Hall Elevator Rumblings  #49

Rider #1:  Boy, you don’t know how glad I am that all this Baldrige quality award stuff is over.  If I hear the words ‘performance excellence’ one more time, I will agree to shock therapy for my frontal lobe.  

Rider #2:  How true.  The general public actually believes that this is the best thing for the city since sliced bread.  However, they don’t realize how much it cost to “receive” this award and the fluffy foundation we had to create and foster to appease the reviewers.  The Baldrige folks required thousands upon thousands of bucks for fees, staff reviews and accommodations.  This didn’t even begin to cover all the down time and wasted staff effort to complete the process.  The reams upon reals of paper and forms completed would re-forrest the Amazon.  And for what?  As soon as these folks left, we reverted to our old way of doing business...with greater efficiency.

Rider #1:  Well, the city manager is all smiles and happy.  I believe he thinks all this expense and staff concerns to be trivial.  Since receiving the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, he has added another fluffy line to his resume.  And we know how he likes to receive nebulous awards to include on his resume.  One could believe that he is more concerned about his resume than he is the personnel responsible for running the city.

Rider #2:  That’s certainly true.  I wonder if we could have the Baldrige folks return to review the city manager’s personal records and some of the employee CYA files for supplemental points?  It would really be interesting to find out if they consider quality leadership to be: the $57 million McDougalville financial fiasco placed on tax payers; the resigning/re-hiring of his buddy the ex-fire chief for a new and not posted $161,000 grant writing position; reorganizing staff so many times that even Lou Costello wouldn’t know ‘Who’ was on first; the Lubbock Mafia connection that siphons off $1.6 million to the chamber of commerce; shifting of budgets between departments to provide for personal projects; attempting to spend $850,000 for a sub-code apartment project to be run by the city; conveniently finding sporting event ducats under his front door mat; the 6-3 vote for the 2012-13 city budget; vital information conveniently “disappearing” from his personal city-issued BlackBerry; $4 million in Entertainment Center expenditures approved by “unnamed city employees;” and what a detailed audit and examination of his personal ‘business luncheon, travel and expense’ account records might reveal.

Rider #1:  Right!  While he continues to crow about not having any layoffs during these tight economic times, there is never any mention by him of all the outstanding folks he has run off or those that left in utter disgust.  We have really lost some quality personnel due to the dictatorial and authoritarian management style of the city manager.  And if current personnel would have been truly honest during the quality review sessions, the Baldrige folks might have packed their bags and left town.  I don’t believe Baldrige subscribes to a management style of: “My way or the highway.”

Rider #2:  Maybe the council will quit sipping his Kool-Aid, recover from Thanksgiving doses of turkey tryptophan, forego all his sugary PowerPoint presentations, and move to address what has become to many...untenable working conditions in the city.  We can only hope!

A note from counsel: These “candid” elevator conversations have been injected with fabricated nouns, verbs, adjectives, conjunctions, adverbs, modifiers and maybe a few dangling participles….Mark Holbrook