Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Superintendent's "Open Door Policy" is a sham.

At the Board meeting last night, Nick responded to a community member's comments that dealt specifically with district staff and their reluctance to expose mismanagement in the organization. District employees are clearly concerned that if they speak up and reveal their identity they might find themselves without employment. It isn't hard to imagine. Look what happened to the moderator of this blog.

Nick's response was to encourage staff to pass along their concerns to their association presidents so the information might be conveyed anonymously to management without regard to the identity of the source. Nick even went as far as to encourage former employees to use the open door policy.

Well, let's review the record on one glaring topic.

A member of the public mentioned to the Board and Superintendent that Gary Noble was ineligible to compete for a seat on the Board. The notification was made prior to the election. There was adequate time to revise policies and protect Gary, but alas, Nick and the Board decided to pretend they were not native English speakers. They even went as far as to hire a law firm to support their confusion with references to irrelevant state statutes.

No constructive action was taken by the Board. No meaningful steps were taken by Nick. In fact, when confronted with irrefutable evidence, Nick's response was to duck and dive. He was handed critical information and decided to not only ignore it but to spend public money trying to bury it.

To be clear, it wasn't as if a member of the public was offering an opinion. No one was saying that Board members shouldn't look like a Keebler elf or have grey hair. It wasn't an opinion from the community - it was matter of fact and an adopted board policy.

Why wouldn't Nick or the Board act on a concern from the public that involved a conflict clearly cited in board policies and verified by the State Auditor and Attorney General? Well, it wasn't in their interest to do so. If they refuse to adequately and appropriately respond to irrefutable evidence, how would anyone expect them to respond on matters of community opinion?

Do us all a favor, Mr. Nick, and drop your nauseating references to an "Open Door Policy". You may think it sounds impressive because you heard better men use it, but the proof is in the pudding and your dishing out nothing more than scorched mayonnaise.

Fun Factoid: I thought Nick was opposed to anonymous comments. It seems he is now encouraging such anonymous comments to be funneled through an approved conduit. Is this about control or has Mr. Nick had an epiphany?


Anonymous said...

The way I read this is; a concerned citizen asked a valid question of Nick and the Board members; Nick chose not to respond with a clear answer. How does one get answers when the Superintendent can't help? Perhaps these questions should be forwarded to Olympia to Terry Bergeson, who may be able to help the concerned citizen get an answer and then ask the Superintendent if he needs help in responding to citizens and taxpayers. Nick's "open door policy" is a "JOKE" - it just sounds good.

Anonymous said...

Currently, I'm in Minneapolis holding my brother's hand as he dies from cancer. Otherwise, I'd be standing outside his door tomorrow morning. But then again, we haven't been "anonymous" since June 2005. They ignored us then, they'll continue to do so now; he and his staff have had many opportunities to "do the right thing." It just isn't in their collective interest to do so. No reason to hold your breath waiting.

Anonymous said...

OK. An employee who works in their own office or cubicle would be expected to be productive during the time of their work day, right? General standards of work ethics applying, doesn't it make sense that anyone, in any job, would see it upon their duty to fulfill the expectations of the job by performing at levels that bring success for the institution for which they work? Bear with me, please. I understand that we are all unique individuals that bring strengths and weaknesses to our positions--with an overall effect of working towards the greater good for all. I'm confused as to the fairness being applied to educators in our buildings across the district. During "professional development days" (otherwise known as non-student days), the educator's classroom turns into a location for expected productivity during individual time granted by the contract between the district and the union. Why then, does it seem that some educators feel that they can leave after the building time is over and go home at noon--without notifying their immediate supervisor, in this case, the principal? Wouldn't any employee in any situation be required to notify their supervisor of the desire to leave before the end of the work day? I remember reading a list of activities that were considered viable options for use of individual time and agreed upon by the district and union. I want clarification about that list. I also understand if someone chooses to work extra hours before school or after school and then, proceed to ask their principal if they could leave early on an individual day because of long hours that particular week. The key point being the notification to the principal happening. So....
I want to try the open door policy by letting my union president know of my concern. I think that the use of individual time varies greatly across our district and principals are not holding their staff members accountable to the agreed upon list of activities set forth in the past. Listen, I just want clarification so we all know what is OK and not OK in regards to the use of individual time. I trust that my union president will discuss this matter with all building representatives--but would also like this to be discussed at the principal/superintendant meeting held once a week. We need answers.
I will be satisfied when I see a memo from the district with support from the union--in agreement--on how individual time should be used. We all work hard so let's all play by the rules we agree upon. I love working for the Edmonds School District--always have--but, lately, it seems my confidence is shaken due to "double-speak" on many issues that affect the morale of us all.
Hope to hear from the district on this issue.

Anonymous said...

Having been a part of a union Labor Mgment Committee I know that members will not come forward because they don't trust that their name won't be used. I know that sometimes HR ask who the person is so they can deal with the issue directly with the employee. So to be annoymous in the LMC is not always the way to go. I would not use those groups for anything that I consider could lead to me being dismissed from my job. I know that our committee did not give out names at all. The union repres. used our names so the member would not be damaged in any way. I worry about how that will go with new union leadership and very green and easily swayed. She already gave away work that went from OP group to the Prof. Tech. group and did it without thinking of how it afffects our members.

Through the eyes of Linda H