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Home / Articles / News / News /  The full email exchange from July 9 city council hotline
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Thursday, July 12,2012

The full email exchange from July 9 city council hotline

The following is the entire email string sent on the city council hotline July 9 concerning the controversy surrounding the decision by city council members Ken Wilson and George Karakehian to change the manner in which City Attorney Tom Carr, City Manager Jane Brautigam and Municipal Court Judge Linda Cooke are evaluated by city council:

From: Lisa [lisamorzel@gmail.com]

Sent: Saturday, July 07, 2012 2:23 PM

To: Council

Subject: Executives evaluations

Greetings, Council colleagues from Costa Rica, I am wondering what has happened to our annual evaluations of our executive staff and think we are late/ overdue. I am not sure which councilmembers are assigned this year to oversee this effort (Ken, George) but these evaluations are critical to our employees’ success, guidance, and feedback from their employers, the Council. Please let me know whose responsibility this is and what is being done to do their evaluations. I believe these are overdue. Will we be using the firm we have previously employed in these efforts (Marler?). Let’s move forward with these ASAP.

Thank you and ciao for now,

Lisa 

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On Jul 7, 2012, at 2:40 PM, “Wilson, Ken”

They are in progress and have been for a month.

George and I are in charge. We are doing them internally this year, without a consultant, to save money. I believe the 360 feedback has already started. Perhaps Eileen can give us a status and when Council will receive our package to do our part.

We are actually “early” with respect to the last two years. The plan is to have it all finished in early September.

Ken

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From: Lisa [lisamorzel@gmail.com]

Sent: Sunday, July 08, 2012 8:45 AM

To: Wilson, Ken

Cc: Council; Gomez, Eileen Subject:

Re: Executives evaluations

Ken, Thanks and I appreciate your response but i do not recall the decision to not use a consultant went before the fuller council. Did I miss something? While i appreciate the cost savings, I find it is a lot of work to get this together and find it highly inappropriate for a city staff member, Elaine who reports to Jane, to conduct any part of this - in addition there are confidentiality concerns that should be discussed with Tom Carr. I suggest we stay with our third party neutral evaluation and hire Eric Marler or similar to do this objectively.

Just my opinion Cost savings is not the point, especially in this case.

Thanks,

Lisa

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On Jul 8, 2012, at 9:38 AM, “Wilson, Ken”

Lisa, George and I discussed this with Jane. Jane was very comfortable doing it this way, as was Eileen. Tom did not express any problems. The consultant really did very little and was paid more than the total amount of raises we gave to the three employees. We started using the consultant a few years ago to develop a new tool. It became apparent in the past two years (using the completed tool) that the consultant wasn’t doing much. We are using the same tool and the same process this year that we did last year. Just hold the expensive consultant.

Anyway, it is done for this year. We are halfway through the process. The main thing the consultant did was tabulate scores. If you want to check HR’s math, I’m sure that can be arranged. HR does this in many, probably most cities. That’s their job. I don’t really understand any of your concerns. Are you implying that HR is unethical, or given the chance they will be unethical? Confidentiality? Who are you implying will leak what to whom?

If you are unhappy with the decisions that George and I made, you can do the job next year. I would be delighted for you to take over the committee next year, that would be great. You can decide whatever you want.

Ken

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From: Lisa [mailto:lisamorzel@gmail.com]

Sent: Sunday, July 08, 2012 7:05 PM

To: Wilson, Ken

Cc: Council; Gomez, Eileen; Marshall, Dianne

Subject: Re: Executives evaluations

Ken, Of course, Jane and Tom would say this is fine but what you don’t understand is that they are 2 of the 3 employees being evaluated and, as such, do not have a say in this. This is something that you and George should have gotten council approval on as we nine council members are the ones responsible for their evaluations. They should not have been asked in the first place and for them to respond in such a way is unprofessional. Their professional judgements as managers certainly should have known better.

There are too many direct conflicts here starting with Eileen Gomez, whose supervisor is Jane. Jane should have recognized that. As professionals, we do not evaluate ourselves but rather have our peers and others do so in a confidential and objective manner. The process you and George have concocted with the help of Jane and Tom is akin to foxes watching the hen house.

Is HR unethical? No, but I believe you and George (along with the approval of Tom and Jane) have put them in quite a compromised position where the evaluations are not confidential with a neutral, third party and undoubtedly may raise the eyebrows of many.

Second, there were and still are very good reasons for using a third party that can maintain confidentiality to receive the evaluations from individual council members and assemble them and anonymize them. Having been involved in putting together an objective process for our executives’ evaluations starting early in 1997, I speak from experience that criteria and objectivity are essential to supervising our employees. Not that there aren’t other ways that work but at least this guarantees both anonymity and impartiality, to a large extent.

Third, it is highly inappropriate for Jane or Tom to be involved in their evaluations in any way, including evaluating the process. If we, as a council, with 4 attorneys and 5 other relatively smart individuals, cannot think our way through this maybe this group should not be representing the city as we are failing in one of our basic jobs of this position.

Fourth, the decisions regarding how the process is to be conducted are to be made solely by the council. It is the council’s evaluation, not yours or George’s, with full input, including the process, by the full council.

Fifth, while the third party puts together the averages ( you call it the math), the important point is that there will never be any frank feedback from employees as long as HR (who reports directly to the city manager) is involved. There needs to be a guarantee of confidentiality and if HR is involved, that goes out the window. If council actually wants to know and understand what is actually happening in the city organization, we need a secure way of acquiring, holding, and evaluating the responses. We need to take our role seriously and objectively and this process is not it. What this process is is nothing but a pro forma of their evaluations. This is not objective or confidential nor will it get the confidential input we need from other employees subordinate to Jane and Tom.

I will raise this under matters at our meeting July 17.

We need to correct this and do this properly and with the full consent of council.

Lisa

PS I’m happy to do this next year but first want it done right this year.

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On Jul 9, 2012, at 1:37 PM, “Carr, Thomas”

I am happy to be evaluated in any manner that council sees fit. As a courtesy, someone asked me if I objected to not using a consultant. I do not believe that I should have a say, so naturally I did not express any objection. Having the pleasure of working on a daily basis with the Human Resources department, I have great confidence in their abilities and discretion. Considering some of the things that I read about myself in the newspapers, I can say honestly that I am not very concerned about who reads my evaluations. I will participate in any manner that council directs. I look forward to the evaluation process as a way to improve my performance. I really hope that this valuable tool does not become politicized.

Tom

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On Jul 9, 2012, at 3:18 PM, “Lisa” wrote:

Tom, The point is, Tom, you should have removed yourself from any say in the matter. If you offered any advice that should have been to return this decision regarding process to the entire council. It’s not politics; it’s respecting the process the full council has agreed upon.

Also it’s not about who reads your evaluations, it’s about all our employees having confidence that their evaluations will not be linked individuals to them but considered in the full and that they are assured of no retaliation from their comments.

Lisa

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On Jul 9, 2012, at 4:16 PM, “Carr, Thomas”

Lisa, Someone called me and asked if I was okay with not using a consultant. I said sure. That’s all. I resent any implication that I should have done anything different. Your request to publish your rebuke is hurtful. HR keeps confidences all of the time. Frankly, I have more confidence in them than in a consultant. Also, I think it does become political when you beat up on staff.

Tom

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From: Lisa [mailto:lisamorzel@gmail.com]

Sent: Monday, July 09, 2012 4:28 PM

To: Carr, Thomas

Cc: Council; Gomez, Eileen; Marshall, Dianne; Lewis, Alisa

Subject: Re: Executives evaluations

Tom, You are who are making this public given your response to me originally was public since you included council on that. And as our attorney, you understand better than most that council email must be public. I am just making sure I am following our sunshine laws.

The point is in having a third party, employees are freer to speak their honesty about what is actually happening in their workplace and able to voice their concerns without retribution. As you are well aware, last year we had one of our senior directors intimidating staff and others beyond his supervision. This is why I want a third party. At this point, HR is totally compromised in that they answer to the city manager.

And, Tom, I’m not “ beating up on staff”. I am requesting we keep with the process the full council agreed to in previous years. There was no check in with the full council on a change in process. That should have happened.

Lisa

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