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A Deeper Look at Numbers Shows City Hall is in Good Shape

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Mark Twain popularized the phrase “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” A recent survey by a union that represent a few city employees has been reported recently to present a view of city Hall that is just not true.

The story goes that 14 people, out of 70, have left the city staff in the last 18 months. That is the only true statement being reported. The rest of the story falsely reports on a survey conducted by the AFSCME union which represents only 26 employees. Of those 26 people, only 75% of them “anonymously filled out the survey” which means that the opinions of 19 people were the basis of the article. That is only 19 people out of 70, or 28% of city staff.

The biggest lie in circulation is: “80% of current employees report ‘low or horrible’ morale working at city hall.” The actual number is 22%, because it is not 80% of “current employees”, it is 80% of the 19 people who completed the survey, which is only 15 people.

Similarly, instead of 30% of people looking for new jobs, it 8% or 6 people. Instead of 65% “seeing/or being the being the victim of bullying” it is 18% or 12 people.

Furthermore, the story places blame for the departures on City Manager Rebecca Polizzoto. The basis for this assertion? “Some citizens who have been longtime friends” of former employees. Based on strikingly similar “reports” on social media, “some citizens” are the usual band of former city council people who were swept out of office: Lynn Sordel, Kathy Neilsen, and Mary Kay Voss. These three have continuously criticized the council, the mayor, and the city manager ever since they lost the election. It is time for these people to realize, they are not in office anymore, and the people of Mill Creek have spoken loud and clear – we don’t want the city run in the same old way.

Finally, buried in the story is the fact that 6 of the 14 employees who left the city in the last 18 months were planned retirements and that two others were for personal or professional opportunities. That means only 6 employees have left in the last 18 months for reasons other than retirement or better opportunity. 6 people leaving the city staff out of 70 can also be expressed as 91% retention!

You can't have progress without change, and it seems like a few citizens who used to be in positions of power, simply don't want either.

Daniel Mills
Mill Creek

Numbers

Daniel is right in some respects. Yes the letter was from the union and the union only represents 26 of the city employees. However, it has not been just union members who have left the city. So, although those specific statistics relate only to the union, the problem obviously is more far reaching than that; ie police department, finance manager, etc., are not union, and yet they obviously felt the same.

One thing you are VERY wrong about is my involvement. You said that I have continuously criticized the council, mayor and city manager.... that is not true. In the seven years that I have not been on the council, I've actually spoke to the council on one occasion, when they were trying to stifle the previous city manager. Until three weeks ago, I was not totally aware of what was going on, so after seven years, I have found it necessary to speak up and out for finding the truth.

Again, all we are asking for is an investigation to be able to put all this to rest. There is obviously a very strong difference of opinion about what is going on in city hall. It is to everyone's benefit to figure that out. To stop the exodus of employees (there are more leaving soon).

If it is discovered that what we have is a bunch of whiny, wimpy, lazy, no good employees, and the city manager is fantastic, I will stand up in city council meeting and personally apologize for the agony I have caused. I'll also do it in all the papers.

However, if the reverse is true, and there really is a serious problem with the way our employees are being treated, then I would expect the same from the manager's and councill's defenders.
There is nothing wrong is quieting serious concern with facts, and facts need to come, not from people on 'both sides' but from someone totally uninvolved in the city, an independent investigator. There are firms that are hired for exactly this purpose.

I continue to call on the City Council to do something proactive and stop just sitting there watching the front door close on the back of another employee.

How does she know...

So more employees are leaving. How does Mary Kay Voss know this? What is her connection to city hall? Is it through the ratline of disgruntled employees and is she also getting this information from a couple of sitting council members that are now in the minority on the council. There is a case for the latter.

Mrs. Voss was not as quiet as one may believe as I recall she did comment in the local media during the last election. For the last three years, in varying degrees, either Bill McElroy, Mary Kay Voss, Kathy Nielsen, and Lynn Sordel at a minimum, and there are more, have taking turns criticizing the council and yet this council has done more to right the ship than any previous council.

well, not exactly

I guess the question to Mr Nelson is how does he have the inside info, including some that was discussed in exec session, unless it is coming from either the mayor or the city manager.

I am a private citizen. I have the right to speak out. I have the right to endorse candidates for any office I choose. To suggest otherwise would be a violation of my 1st amendment rights. As an free and independent person, I also have the right to speak to anyone I choose. As do you.

You throwing mud at me, is only to defuse the untenable situation at city hall. All I am asking, and continue to ask for, is an independent investigation so that Mr Nelson and I can hear from an inbiased source about what exactly has been happening at city hall.

We obviously have a different take on the situation.

I offer again, IF after an independent investigation, I am shown that the 16 employees that have left, did so because they are whiny, ineffective, lazy employees, and good riddance, then I will stand up in a city council meeting and publicly apologize to the city manager and the city council.

Mr. Nelson, will you do the same to me and Ms. Nelson, Mr. McElroy and Mr. Sordel, if is is proven that something is really rotten in Denmark?

(sorry, used the vernacular again.)

Again, how does she know....

No one has even told me anything that has occurred in executive session, not the mayor or any council member.

If Mary Kay Voss knows of something I surmised that was discussed in council executive session then I ask again how did she get the information? The only way is for a council member to have told her and that can only be from Donna Michelsen and Mike Todd as no other council member would. I thank her for that information as it is something I have always suspected and again if not Michelsen or Todd then who?

Not so fast to point fingers...

No, a council member would not tell me what was discussed in exec session, so stop looking at Todd or Michelsen.

The full discussion was not told to me, the fact that you referred to a now departed employee with a qualifier having to do with a personal situation, (of which I am not privy), but you were, is what happened.

Some staff know what the topics are, not what the conversation was. It appears that you were privy to that information, for what reason, I can not imagine.

Once again....

So, "The FULL discussion was not told to me," then how much of the discussion was told to you and by whom?

As for your discussion in the 2nd paragraph about me referring to a departed employee with a qualifier having to do with a personal situation that was mentioned at a past council meeting. Nothing secret about that.

Looks like the answer to this one is plainly evident.

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