Saturday, August 30, 2008

Stifling expression and allowing conflict to fester.

I am reluctant to post anything here, because I love my job and the people with whom I work. It's worth it one time, though, just to echo and reinforce the comments about Boyd, Dale, Dave and Fred (in alphabetical order, cuz they are all first!) and thank them for the work they do. In all my time, at all my schools, their daily "visits" are like sunshine. Great guys, kind men, pleasant, professional - role models for every single person in the district in terms of customer service and getting the job done.

Thank you, guys! I don't know the details of your problems at the Warehouse (which, alone, is an indicator of their professionalism) but whatever you're going through, you are ROCKSTARS on a daily basis. Thank you!


Since this blog started in June of 2007, we have received a lot of comments regarding the District Warehouse and the problems that existed there. Without verifying every comment, it became painfully apparent that the problems required the intervention of district management and no such intervention ever happened.

The Warehouse is a clear example of how effective anonymous comments can be. These are the same sort of anonymous comments that the State Auditor requested from district staff and can now be found in the diagnostic survey only available on this blog. Anonymous comments can help management - still relying on blinders and training wheels - to identify an area where their attention may best be focused.

Like the author of the anonymous comment above, the vast majority of individuals that visit this blog are reluctant to provide their names. They have seen what has happened to past employees that offered personal opinions - even when those opinions had nothing to do with the Edmonds School District.

I will always remain a strong proponent of the freedom of expression. People that have a view should be encouraged to provide it without fear of reprisal. A name shouldn't be required to authenticate a claim and apparently the State Auditor agrees with me in using a diagnostic survey of anonymous comments.

Embracing the freedom of speech requires that management take a few minutes and listen to the concerns without fixating on the source of the complaint. Until district management is prepared to listen and work with staff to improve their district, nothing will ever get any better.

Stifling speech will keep an oppressed majority silent until someone cracks and decides to make a move that has no known remedy. There are countless unfortunate events in our nation's history where people with real issues to express had no real outlet to make their issues known. Examples are far too painful to recount here.

It was terribly unfortunate to witness the District's use of passivity and disengagement at the Warehouse. While problems continued for years, the District lost a teachable moment that may have left a profound and lasting impression upon the real problem at the Warehouse. People should be helped to understand their shortcomings and be given a chance to improve who they are. The District is clearly unable or unwillingly to actively and effectively confront management problems and they apparently prefer to let conflict fester until the combatants kill each other.

While I am happy for what remains of the Warehouse, I am saddened to see that no one in the District actually cared enough to correct conditions when they had a chance to be salvaged.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this article. I just wrote another comment about the Warehouse "Guys" and the stress they have endured these last 4 years. My hope is that they will be strong and will once again be able to express themselves without fear, and just do their job, delivering mail, moving furniture, freight and all else, with pride, wondeful service and the smiles they brought to many Edmonds School District employees, including me(I am retired). said...

While expressing themselves at home may happen without fear, they should wait to express themselves in public until the outcome of a certain federal court case.

While children we may have been tought that we are entitled to our opinion, but the District does not believe those opinions should ever be expressed.

Anonymous said...

Thank You all again for the support you have shown for the warehouse. Can't really place a value on all of the kind words. They truly are priceless. Thank You so much. As a Warehouse employee, I am determined to serve all of you out in the field at the highest level possible. I know the rest of the Warehouse has and will continue to do the same. I have been extremely fortunate to work near and with so many nice people. And the smiles you all provide out there have really been the driving force to continue service. See you Tuesday! Have a nice weekend!

Anonymous said...

Thank You Mark Zandberg for your call for a better place!

Anonymous said...

Leaders act out of true concern for their staff and the problems they face. Good leaders serve their staff by striving to make working conditions better, really listening to those who do the work for new ideas and giving kudos for a job well done. Under these conditions staff will gladly follow this kind of manager in realizing department goals.

Bosses, on the other hand, march behind their staff using intimidation, veiled threats and demeaning language in order to MAKE their staff do their jobs. Bosses are quick to disipline and will never admit to wrong doing on their part. If things aren't going right, they blame their staff.

Sadly, the Edmonds School District has moved out thier leaders and replaced them with bosses.

Anonymous said...

Note to Mark (no need to post this, if you don't want to):

Although many insiders have a pretty good sense of the warehouse porn parade, the protection from the HR wife who doesn't show up to work, the incomplete and invisible investigation about supervision and filing the proper leave paperwork, and the scorn that the supervisor treated his workers to, right up to the bitter end....I think now (as in now that it is the end of August and that imp is out of a job) is the proper time to give us ONE killer article on the warehouse. Put the whole enchilada in ONE post, please. It's too scattered around, and I think that people need to know what happened this week to get a sense of just how crazy work was for the "guys" this past two years. said...

If anyone that knows exactly what happened at the Warehouse would like to explain it to the rest of us, I would post such a summary on the blog.

If you prefer to remain anonymous, email it directly to me and I'll have my team weed through it for identifying expressions and send a draft back for your review.

You could also photocopy supporting documents and drop them in the mail. My address is posted on the blog.

Anonymous said...

Good evening Chuck, I moments ago finished printing out my response to your scantily clad evaluation of me. Feel free to report on Tuesday to pay back some of that time you stole from the districts taxpayers and address my response. Copies of all documents in regard to this final evaluation with you as my supervisor will be turned in to HR on Tuesday. These obviously will become public record once they are stamped. They may be retrieved by anybody at that point. I will certainly have stamped copies in case you misplace them. These are not like messages from my doctor, you must handle them with care.

Anonymous said...

Please be patient, as I will happy to give my one sided, personal, bias, conflict of interest, cheating, stealing, lying, summary of what took place at the warehouse over the last four years. My file system is currently jammed with teen pornography inquiries left from a public requisition on the former warehouse supervisor Chuck Penney. I may be running a bit behind schedule, and apologize for any inconvenience.

Anonymous said...

I would like to read this email going around the district soon.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike R.
You are welcome to get copies from me or many other employees. These are going to become very useful in restoring order in the district.

Anonymous said...

Oh Chuck it seems like yesterday. Wait, it almost was. Nevermind.

Anonymous said...

If you do it for one, you must do it for all!

Anonymous said...

To games we play,
Call me!

Anonymous said...

Chuck where did you go!
I called your phone and Clay said "hello"