Friday, April 04, 2008

Organizational hierarchies must flatten to stay robust.

Mr. Reuther's input, as usual, is factual and insightful. I would want to emphasize that this climate is not a product of neglectful behavior on the part of District administration but rather the Edmonds School District intentionally creating an environment which fosters and rewards high turnover and has for the past two regimes. I vividly remember even former superintendent Brian Benzel when questioned about employees leaving over climate issues, openly responding that he was “glad people were willing to take risks” by moving on.

In many departments the high turnover rate is the base reasoning for justifying mid-management positions and to eliminate this factor would mean to undercut the apparent necessity of supervisory roles. Primary examples would be foodservice and custodial staff. It is in the interest of mid-management to maintain a work force that is seen as being unable to make intelligible decisions, possess appropriate work knowledge, and in general function to any appreciable degree without a liberal amount of managerial oversight (though one may certainly argue that custodial staff accomplished the former for some seven-ish years). Respect is reserved for employees capable of functioning with minimal oversight and it is therefore necessary that employees are afforded no such consideration.

Upper management requires mid-management to provide justification for their inflated roles. New, less tenured and less knowledgeable employees are an easy lot to intimidate and mold. Such employees are also less expensive in both base salary and benefits. The District makes no real effort to attract high quality candidates for most positions. The notion of retaining quality workers is not within the philosophy of “average compensation.” One could go on to lack of breath.

Climate reform is not going to occur in the District for the above reasons and a variety of other reasons covered in this blog. I would love to be proven wrong though I believe that I’m in little danger of wiping egg (or anything else originating from a similar anatomical proximity) from my face. As I have mentioned before – my crystal ball and the voices in my head rarely lie.

A penny for your thoughts - I just felt like contributing my two cents.

Editorial: The Edmonds School District needs a business leader. They need someone that understands what it takes for a business to succeed. Running a school district and educating children is a business and we need to refine and improve the manner in which we prepare our breathing widgets to join the workforce. Unless of course, it is the goal of this community to ensure that no greasy burger goes unflipped.

Thank you to another anonymous contributor.


Anonymous said...

The hiring practice works not only for EEA but also for all other bargaining groups. And you are right the bullying has the districts OK. It happens at the ESC all the time we are afraid to speak up and even need to watch who we are caught talking too. I have been working in the district 30 years and it did not always have this kind of feel but it was an underlinig factor in the dept. I work in. I remember going over to talk to Jim Wright about an issue and my boss followed me. the boss was trying hard to get rid of me because I wasn't afraid to speak up about issues I felt were wrong. that boss is no longer in the district and the staff no longer has to walk on egg shells. It was a scary time for all of us. But now that scary feeling is all through the ESC. When an ESC all staff meeting is held we are always ask if we have any questions but no one wants or can ask the hard ? because all the big wigs are there and you know they will get you later if the ? is questioning the accountabiltiy in the district or any thing like that. I will soon retire and will be glad to be able to breath easier I feel bad leaving behind all the employees that can't fend for themselves. I have survived by knowing when to speak and when not to speak.

From living in the Twilight Zone...........

Anonymous said...

I get it now. The new "clericalist" is Marla's gift to Brian. Someone that he can outshine on the topic of facilities.

I say eliminate them both.

Anonymous said...

To the writer who has given 30 years of service to the District and recalls the "Jim Wright days". I, too, remember those days when the HR department had a good reputation; you could go to HR if you had a question or concern and it was addressed with sincerity you were not treated like a "second class citizen", but a valuable employee no matter what your position was with the District. Those days are gone forever; aren't you glad you are retiring? I am !!