Monday, November 5, 2007

Ex Personnel Director Responds to Union VP

Again, I find myself coming from a different perspective from that of the Union Vice President. There is nothing professional when name calling occurs, which is easy to do behind the “power of the pen” or in this case email. Unfortunately, there are levels of decorum that cannot be found in a dictionary, levels of ethics that cannot be spelled out in black and white. Collaboration, when done well, usually produces positive results. It does not always mean that someone wins and someone loses, but for the most part there is a compromise in which a greater good gets met.

Negotiations should never be in the spirit of the union versus management. That is old school thinking and never promotes a business strategy. Since I no longer live in New Milford, the elections are not of much interest to me, but having my professional name bounced around on a well-read email is most unpleasant. Every day, we all get up and go to our professions. We work, and we work hard. We do what we think is right, we make decisions based on our education, background, training and experiences. Sarcasm and pointing fingers simply isn’t part of my professional life.I concur that the negotiations were amicable. I concur that they went smoothly for the most part. And under the circumstances, I stayed until one day before I moved away, in the hopes they would go smoothly after I left. The new Personnel Director had what he needed to GO FORWARD in continuing to work with the union. It is laughable to say “I was the team”. I was part of a team, but there is no “I” in team. My final draft is simply that, MY final draft. It is not the Mayor’s final draft, and she certainly has the final say. It is not Mr. Chapin’s final draft. Certainly he could have had input. It was not a final draft reviewed by the Town Attorney. It was simply the end of the line for me. I was moving, and I left a document for my predecessor. Whatever the Mayor, the new Personnel Director or the Town Council chose to do upon my departure was up to them, but it seems like AFTER I left is when the mess occurred.

Who was in charge of organizing things then? At my deposition neither the union attorney nor the union business manager bothered to show. I went out of my way to be available, as did the Town Attorney. Certainly if the union had issues or questions, they could have been present then.

Again, if you read the previous email from Mrs. Sanford, she restates what an “incompetent and disorganized person I ALWAYS was”. I am no longer disorganized just for this negotiation, but now it has escalated to “always”. Then I am accused of this being A TACTIC “in case things got screwed up”. So does this mean I would deliberately look bad, to cover something up, for later, when I’m not around? I’m not sure what all that blather means, but I don’t think that’s what the Town paid me “big bucks” to do.

Martha, are you familiar with the term LIBEL. I suggest you look it up.There is a mention of Sick Leave Caps in Mrs. Sanford’s latest writing. I am guessing this is the big issue. And as I read further, “I put the blame where I believe it should be, on your shoulders and the shoulders of the Town Council”. I guess I am in good company, since all of us are to blame.I am, however, going to draw a line in the sand with this last comment. The email reads, “You wrote up the most pertinent parts to bring to a vote. You worked with the President to make sure we were ready for the vote.” This is an outright lie.

The final day that I was present for the negotiations, there were I believe, four items that the Mayor wished to review. I believe they were wages, medical insurance, tuition reimbursement, maybe civic duty day…I am not sure exactly but these were the last of the items. The Town and the Union came to terms on these items in that the Union stated they could agree to the terms the Mayor was requesting. At the end of that meeting, in which we all thanked each other for a good session and shared our goodbyes since it was my last meeting, I stated point blank that I would take this information back to the Mayor (and try to get it typed) and that going forward the Mayor would review the draft with the new Personnel Director, schedule time with the Town Council to review it and that the new Personnel Director could finish up the other items THAT WERE STILL OUTSTANDING (ie some appendix work, pay grade issues, and those insidious “typos” that needed some fixing”. The next document could be completed by the new Director, the Mayor and review by the Town Attorney.

I NEVER had any discussions or meetings with the President to “make sure we were ready for the vote”. Have you forgotten, Martha, I am supposed to be on the management side, not the Union’s, as you so eloquently stated in your email. I am not holding the President responsible for that statement since it is the Vice President making the comment, but those discussions did not occur.And, you can bet your bottom dollar, if you continue to libel me, I will write back.

Paula Kelly

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