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A Call to Action

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When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for the citizens to demand their elected officials get their heads out of the sand, their fingers out of their ears and their blindfolds removed, this is that time.

We have an egregious situation involving our city manager. Since she was hired 18 months ago, the City of Mill Creek has lost 15 long term employees. When management structure and personnel change, it is expected some employees would chose to take their leave. But 20-25%??? That is an extremely expensive outrage.

Why would so many leave in such a short period of time? Oh, there have been ‘explanations’ as to this one, and that one, and another one, provided by the City Manager. But, the common denominator is the city manager.

Yes, she has instituted a lot of changes; yes she has moved part of the staff into the newly remodeled adjacent building (which is why it was purchased twelve years ago). Yes, she is restructuring. When she first arrived, many were glad to have her here. She had new ideas, new energy. What City Council did not recognize is that she also has a personality and management style that is totally counter to good practices. Any ‘boss’ who resorts to intimidation, yelling, non-communication, put downs, micro-managing everything, is not a ‘leader’.

The Employees’ Union has finally spoken up. In a letter dated Oct 21, 2016, they listed as grievances making major shift of responsibilities, announcing wage cuts, frozen compensation and creation of new positions prior to working with or even notifying the employees concerned. These were topics on which she had agreed to work with the union.

The council’s attitude about this mass exodus (and there are more to come) is, ‘well, if they don’t want to work here, then they can go.” After receipt of the Union letter, the Mayor said “we don’t intend to do anything”.

What? What kind of leadership is that from the council?

There have been no exit interviews for any of the employees. Why not?

The city council suspended the personnel committee? Why? That committee has always been a standing committee. (At Sept 27 meeting, the council passed the motion to suspend the Personnel Committee for a period not to exceed March 31, 2017, with a caveat that if we need to bring the committee back, we can do so at anytime. Councilmembers Kelly and Cavaleri moved and second, passed unanimously.)

Why were employees, who requested a meeting with that committee, told no, because it was not in operation, but alternative assistance was not offered by council? Why did the Council not “bring it back”, as they had all agreed?

Why are employees told they are not allowed to talk to citizens about what is going on. That is the ONE organization in town, that we actually control. WE pay their salaries, including the City Council’s AND the City Manager. She is OUR employee. They are our elected Representatives.

A group of very concerned citizens, yes a number of us previously served on the Council, which is why we actually know and understand what SHOULD be going on and that things are terribly amiss, have decided we have had enough.

We are circulating an on-line petition to get some action from the city council to get to the bottom of this NOW. We have no desire to see another 2, or 3 or 6 more employees take their years of experience and walk out those doors.

We are demanding the Council hire an independent firm that specializes in these situations, to conduct an extensive confidential investigation to determine what is actually going on… not just one side, but all sides. Then they will make their findings and recommendations public… not just to council, but to the citizens who have had to step forward and demand this action.

The city manager needs to be placed on administrative leave immediately. She has created such a toxic workplace that there is no way the investigation can be conducted with her on premise.

An interim city manager will need to be retained so that city business can continue during this process.

Yes, there will be a cost, but don’t kid yourself, there has already been a huge cost. We’ve lost approximately 230 years of experience. How much time, energy and money will it cost to hire 10, or 12, or 15 new people, train them and get them up to speed? How much will it cost when the union files official complaints? How much will it cost if even one employee successfully sues the city for unfair labor practices?

City Council needs to wake up and realize they are standing on the edge of a cliff. They better get those blindfolds and ear plugs off and start acting like the Fiduciaries of this city. They each need to remember that the City Manager was hired by them, and that she works for them… not the other way around.

But, in the end they work for US, the citizens, taxpayers and voters of Mill Creek.

The link to the petition is: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/demand-action-of-MC-city-council-now.

Mary Kay Voss, City Council Member 2002-2010.

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