Thursday, December 24, 2009

Oro Valley Employees Get Holiday Gift From Interim Town Manager

As reported in The Explorer, Interim Town Manager Jerene Watson has notified employees that she intends to give them the additional paid days off on Dec. 24 & Dec 31.

She noted, this is "in appreciation for all the extra efforts you give serving our community and the public."

Ms. Watson told The Explorer the extra days would not cost the town any additional money.

When we heard about this gracious offer by Ms. Watson, we had a few questions. They are:

1) Was this a unilateral decision on her part?

The answer is "no." Ms. Watson seems to have asked the seven council members for their input. We understand that three members had concerns, but four were "OK" with this arrangement.

The only problem is this: There are ONLY SIX Council Members and although Pat Spoerl was "OK" with it, she is NOT yet sworn in as a Council Member.

2) How can paid days off NOT cost Oro Valley anything as Ms. Watson said?

The answer is it can't! In fact, it costs Oro Valley approximately $65,000/day to sustain the work force. Two days off relates to $130,000. That is hardly "nothing."


3) What about the employees that must work these two days?

The answer is, we understand those employees that must work Dec 24 & 31 will receive two "free days off" in the future.

Although Ms. Watson was showing her gratitude to the employees, in these difficult economic times, we believe a Christmas Turkey would have been a satisfactory gift, and would have been a lot less costly to us, the Oro Valley Taxpayers.


We think Ms. Watson overstepped her authority. Are we being a "grinch?" What do you think?

42 comments:

Zev said...

Art, it appears that Council did not say no, three merely had concerns. I agree that Ms. Sproerl most probably should not have been a party to this discussion. The Town manager serves at the pleasure of Council and as such, Council, perhaps should have taken an official position in the matter. Did they or didn't they? Do we know how Interim Manager Jerene Watson came to the conclusion that this would not cost the Town money? Perhaps she has justifiable documentation to prove such. If not, then Council, what say you? I will state that I personally have experienced and observed extra time DONATED by certain Town employees for the greater good of the community for which they were not extra paid.

Quite frankly, there is much expenditure relative to Town extras, including some 'special circumstances' that ALL Council members might advocate at one time or another that I take issue with.

Hopefully, some day, ALL of the financial questions will come to a reasonable explanation and ultimate solution.

A long time ago when I was a manager for a large concern in San Francisco, I gave extra hours of time off to employees for their extra efforts; believe me, the good will paid off in the long run!

OV Objective Thinker said...

While I believe Ms. Watson was being very generous and did this in the spirit of the 'season', it is a PR nightmare as is being borne out by this type of publicity.

Additionally, the fact that we can do without every non-essential person for these two days is clear anf factual evidence that there is not sufficient work to keep the employees to working every day. This may prove to be an issue in the forthcoming budget process.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays to all and may all of you have a safe and healthy 2010.

That goes for you too Art.

OV Objective Thinker said...

Pardon my two typos!!!

Oro Valley Mom said...

It doesn't cost anything? What about the parents who wanted to send the kids to the library for Christmas eve day? What about the senior that needed to go out Christmas eve to buy some wrapping paper or cranberry sauce and suddenly discovered that Coyote Run wasn't running?

How is it an incentive to hardworking employees to give EVERY employee, hardworking or slacker, the same time off?

Do all the cops get a day off? Or do they take a day off some other time? Again, how does that not cost something?

Phil Richardson said...

The litany of woes mentioned are all symptoms of an economic cancer. Hizzoner is like the grasshopper who thought the summer of perpetual growth would never end. So what does he do? He chases the most industrious and prudent worker in town hall out of office. All of the increased taxes and water rates, and the raid on the reserves, are fruitless attempts to build a dike made of sand.
Come February, Oro Valley taxpayers will have an opportunity to install a decisive leader, willing to join a valiant minority on the Council who are struggling to keep our noses above the rising economic tide in the Canyon del Oro.

Phil Richardson said...

Ah, computers...Oftimes, they seem to have a mind of their own. I really meant my comment today to be a "blanket" answer to the LoveBlog's attempt to determine what we believe is the "Oro Valley Story of the Year," but with an inadvertent stoke of the key it winds up on the story of the "Christmas Gift." At first glance, I thought, "Well stupid (me), time has taken its toll. Then I thought, this decision to work out a comp time arrangement represents just a few grains of sand, a tiny amount of cash from the town's coffers. It reminds me of the saying (I actually invented it) "Little drops of water will eventually get you all wet." This story is just another symptom of the slow erosion of viability has been going on for years, amost unnoticed, until the year 2009. Maybe the LoveBlog's revelations will serve to wash the scales from our eyes. It's gotta stop. Here. Now.

OV Objective Thinker said...

Phil....I know you know what you are talking about...I think, but I am not sure I and others know what you are talking about. PLEASE stop talking in innuendo, "sayings" and double talk.

Phil Richardson said...

Sir Donald,
I refer you to this line from the song "Subterranean Homesick Blues," by Bob Dylan: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."

boobie-baby said...

Oh, for goodness sake.
The fact is that with so many employees already gone on vacation, the "skeleton" crew cannot get much accomplished on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31. Most of you know that from your own organizations.
Given the fact that there were so many employees who were forced to leave employment, I don't think it's unreasonable to give the remainder the days off. This doesn't mean, Don, that the Town is over-staffed--it's just common, good managerial sense.
Let's not play the part of Scrooge by keeping all the Bob Cratchits of the world working late at the holidays.

Nombe Watanabe said...

With over 40 years of Government service, both military and civilian, I can tell you that a few extra hours off is the norm during the holiday season.

Vote the rump LACKers out of office and worry about required staff reductions in 2010. It will not be an easy year for the OV.

artmarth said...

As the "Blogmaster," I will be happy to clarify what my good friend Phil Richardson said in his earlier comment.

We have a primary election in March. Ballots will be mailed in Feb. It is imperative that we ELECT MIKE ZINKIN AS MAYOR.

Mayor Loomis MUST GO! He was responsible for the termination of our Town Manager, David Andrews. Ask Loomis why, and he mumbles, "there were issues."

The issues were that David refused to be a "yes man" for Loomis. Although David knew he worked for Loomis & the six Council Members, David knew better that he worked for the people of Oro Valley.

Loomis wanted everything his way. For the most part, the Loomis way, was the wrong way.

David's departure from Oro Valley was bad for David. It was worse for the OV staff and the citizens.

Hopefully, come June, we can get David back. That could happen when Mike Zinkin is Mayor!

Victorian Cowgirl said...

Nombe,

Glad you're back. I've missed you and was beginning to worry. Looking forward to more of your wit and sarcasm in 2010!

Zev said...

Fact: The Town Manager (Interim Manager) serves at the 'pleasure of Council'.

Fact: AS IT IS WRITTEN HERE(!), the following is a QUOTE, "Ms Watson SEEMS (hmmm -did she or didn't she?) to have ASKED the seven(?)council members for their input. We understand that three members had concerns but four were "OK" with this arrangement".

MORE QUOTE: "The only problem is this: There are ONLY SIX Council Members and although Pat Spoerl was "OK" with it, she is NOT yet sworn in as a Council Member".

QUESTION(s): What does "SEEMS to have asked" mean? Did Ms. Watson ask or didn't she; "seems to' is kind of mushy.

QUESTION: What does it mean that "three members had concerns"? What were their concerns? Appearances? PR? Services? Politics?

QUESTION: How was this situation handled by Council - special meeting, e-mail, by phone, by conference call, by vote? (If the latter, Ms. Sproel could not vote!)

QUESTION: What do the 'rules and regs' of Town state relative to employee yearlong scheduling? If those 'rules and regs' were violated absolutely and this situation was not denied by Council when asked, wherein does the ultimate responsibility lie?

I could go on but are you getting the gist of all of this? It might not seem as simple as some of your condemnations might imply. It appears that Ms. Watson presented this in some way to Council, Ms. Watson serves at the pleasure of Council (They are our ultimate representatives AND the ULTIMATE decision makers), Council had the power to say "no", Council did not say "no", Council seem only to have opined, and Council seems to have accepted Ms. Watson's explanation that this would [not cost the Town], and they appear to have granted the final decision to Ms. Watson, the INTERIM TOWN MANAGER, for final determination, indicating 'faith' in her judgment.

Now, I, like most of you, were abhorred by the way the departure of David Andrews was handled. But I ask, if it had been David Andrews who had made this decision, would those of you who are being so judgmental still maintain your postures? Let me remind you that it was David Andrews who, along with others including certain Council Members, and also in the midst of our current financial crises, signed off on and allowed that 2 COUNCIL MEMBERS AND 2 MEMBERS OF STAFF (himself and his assistant Jerene Watson), went on a costly trip to Washington, D.C. for a gathering of persons (I forget the official meeting title) representing communities throughout the Country, to discuss 'problems', etc., and ask for 'stimulus' money for 'shovel ready' projects.Would it not have been enough for ONE COUNCIL MEMBER and ONE 'TOWN' MANAGER' to have gone? I raised this question before Council and I don't recall that any of you wailed about THAT.

Let's cut the double standards. Just because you might be unrelenting in your ATTACHMENT to David Andrews; right or wrong he is no longer a member of our Town Management Staff. Whatever your intent or wishes are, when and IF we get a new Council with 'different' orientations, that is another day. In the meanwhile lets not POUNCE all over our current Interim Town Manager; from what I hear and from what I have personally experienced, she is performing in a very admirable manner. Critique if you must, that is not only our freedom but our duty, but, at least present the truth, the WHOLE truth, and nothing but the truth. The article(s) written relative to this matter didn't do that!

artmarth said...

Zev--- You want the truth? Paraphrasing Jack Nicholson From A Few Good Men---"I hope you CAN handle the truth."
I was being a little vague intentionally, so as not to cause more of an issue. But---as long as you asked, Ms. Watson sent out an email on Dec. 15 to the six Council Members and Ms. Spoerl, who will not be sworn in until Jan. 2010. She indicated, it was her intention to give the employees the 2 days off.

To take it to the next step, it is my understanding that the employees were notified about her decision PRIOR to some council members even reading and responding to the email. Three were adamantly against this. Regardless of what the others said, it would have been 3-3 at the very best. A 3-3 vote doesn't mean go ahead as you planned.

Would David Andrews have handled this situation is this way? I doubt it, but that's not the point. The point is Ms. Watson works FOR the Mayor & Council. This was not her decision to make, whether it was a nice gesture or not.

We have a $2 million plus deficit. Why would you want to lose a potential $130,000 dollars of employee services? To exacerbate the situation, the police, for example, that had to work those 2 days, will now have 2 free days off coming to them.

As far as I'm concerned, it is another example of making a decision with "unintended consequences."

One last point. Why not ask Ms. Watson about HER decision? You may find that she acknowledges retrospectively, that this was an error in judgment. Not giving the days off, but the way it was done.

This IS the WHOLE truth!

Zev said...

It was not my fault that the whole truth was not revealed in the original post and thus, as a result, I was forced into questioning it. I can handle the truth; I only question the holes left open to speculation.

Zev Cywan

The Zee Man said...

In difficult economic times, its hard to justify additional paid time off in any business.

It is especially difficult when the business is losing money.

And that's Oro Valley: Spending more than its taking in. On its merry way to disaster because it can't cut its bloated spending.

There is a cost of "paid time off" and Art correctly calculated it.

We are all the poorer.

Oh well. Happy Holidays anyway.

Zev said...

Just to clarify: I was not advocating that the paid 'extra holidays' were a correct application nor did I agree that they might not have cost the Town additional monies. If one reads my post(s) it should be clear that, BASED ON THE ORIGINAL POST, I was posing a lot of questions relative to the process as to what really happened, why did it happen, and whose ultimate responsibility was it. AND, in addition, I did pose a couple of 'what ifs', along with a personal historical observation, also in relation to prior posts. Since,I HAVE learned the reality put forth to me in a step by step manner which has enlightened me to the extent that I am NOW virtually fully informed; unfortunately the original post did not provide that information.

OV Objective Thinker said...

Art...

You either don't have a clue or you don't want to look at the facts.

Allow me to preface my remarks with my personal feelings. I liked David. He and I shared many good times together over breakfast or lunch and discussed a wide variety of topics. He is a very good, decent person.

BUT, David Andrews was the one responsible for his termination, not Mayor Loomis. The Mayor accomodated David.

One of the primary functions of a shrewed Oro Valley Town Manager is to always be able to count to four. And yes I agree with the principle of he/she working for the citizens, but the practicality is that the Manager works for the Council.

Early in this election cycle that was easy. It was 5-2 Council. Then as the stripes started to become clear, the 5 side fractured. It then became a 4-3 Council. That put David in a difficult position, as it would any Manager.

You add to that the alledged transgressions of one of the Council members. That put David in a more difficult position.

You add to that the desire for the 3 side to have the police chief fired.

What's a manager to do???

He lost count. That's it.

I doubt that in June David will be seen in Oro valley. I have heard that his home has sold and that he has a position in Phoenix. I wish him all the best and would be happy to break bread with him at any time.

OV Objective Thinker said...

Boobie and Nombe,

After reading both of your comments, I respectfully submit that you are both victims of the government mentality versus the private sector mentality.
BB - "Given the fact that there were so many employees who were forced to leave employment, I don't think it's unreasonable to give the remainder the days off. This doesn't mean, Don, that the Town is over-staffed--it's just common, good managerial sense."

Nombe - "With over 40 years of Government service, both military and civilian, I can tell you that a few extra hours off is the norm during the holiday season."

Here is the difference.

In the private sector the time off would have been given and charged to the individual's existing paid time off bank.

This appears to be two ADDITIONAL days off and not charged to the existing time off bank.

BB....Can you not see where this is a potential PR nightmare?????

boobie-baby said...

Sorry, OVOT. My thinking was based on my decades in business, not on any bureaucratic mentality (when did THAT become an affliction?). Good management is good management--doesn't matter where. If you can't recognize employees through some material rewards, granting some time off with their families seems appropriate under the circumstances.

Anonymous said...

Just returning from a wonderful holiday season in Chicago with family and friends and catching up on what is happening in the OV.

I guess that I am suprised that this two days off for town employees is such an issue. While managing a large organization we found the granting of time off during the holidays (where we could still meet our customer obligations) to be a wise imvestment from a human relations and a financial perspective.
These same people that were given time off were more than willing to provide extra service ( at no charge) when we needed them to do so. I never put a pencil to this but I would bet that we received ten-fold in employee service for the time off we provided.

Let's look at the OV situation from a town employee perspective--
1. they lose their leader, Andrews, under some questionable circumstances.
2. their boss, the town council, is divided into two factions resulting in confused direction.
3. some of our employees have resigned leaving the team in a weakened position with new acting managers.

Now, the decision is made to grant two extra vacation days. This decision is second guessed and makes the weekly newspaper. Any potential employee goodwill seems to evaporate as a result.

If I was a town employee in this culture I would be afraid to make a decision. Is that what we want?
I think not.

OV Objective Thinker said...

There must have been some computer glitch. The following disappeared.
I wonder how that could have happened?????????

To All....

I think in one of my previous posts I made a comment about how certain folks connected with this blog have turned on most every endorsement.

Seems as though that individual has turned on one of his latest endorsements. I am wondering just who it is that "can't stand the truth".

Interesting isn't it. You gotta love it. :-)

ezek said...

I agree with Mr. Davis' comment 100%. You are making a stink out of nothing. I imagine it was a wonderful morale boost for the staff that will pay off extremely well.
Zev, you nailed it with your comment of double standards.
It seems that certain individuals' idolatry has blinded they're reason.

ezek said...

should be 'their reason'.

Oro Valley Mom said...

Cox,

Where did you hear that 3 council members wanted the chief of police fired?

freedom fighters said...

I agree with Chuck Davis as well.

OV Objective Thinker said...

Mom.... From more than one source.

It seems pretty obvious that there is a major divide between the police department and Garner, Latas and Gillaspie. Wouldn't you agree with that?

Oro Valley Mom said...

Cox,

Who are your sources? I have not heard this from anyone but you, so I would like to know your sources.

Thanks.

OV Objective Thinker said...

Mom....Now you know that isn't going to happen. Just like we won't learn who is feeding Artski staff memos. Although it isn't too hard to figure that conduit out!!!

AZCactus1 said...

OVOT,

I know we don't agree on many things, and I know you probably aren't even remotely soliciting my support, but on this issue, continue to keep your sources confidential. OV Mom should be able to assign an appropriate level of credibility to your statements without knowing the source.

Oro Valley Mom said...

Art disclosed his sources. He read an article in the Explorer and discovered that the story was documented in e-mails, which are public documents. I'm sure that if someone had been "feeding" him this information, he would have been happy to scoop the Explorer and publish the story on the 15th when it happened.

Cox, on the other hand, is either making up his stories, or he is getting them from less than credible sources. So yes, I am able to assign an appropriate level of credibility to them. It is currently zero. The only credible sources for his assertation would be public statements by the individuals identified, or public documents authored by them. Cox has not produced either.

OV Objective Thinker said...

AZCactus,

You may be surprised on how many things we agree on. Where possible I always try to look at the positive side of the picture.

Because we probably 'run in different circles' it is likely that I may hear things that OV Mom or you may not hear.

Thanks!!

AZCactus1 said...

OV Mom,

You are free to assign zero credibility to OVOT's statements. That is certainly your prerogative.

You have determined that credible sources must be public statements or documents, particularly in this instance. Not everyone agrees with you, and that is ok.

Life experience has unequivocally demonstrated to me that a great deal of credible information is not derived from either public statements or documents, and this applies in this instance.

If you believe that credibility is as limited as you have affirmed, I strongly believe that you are a bit naive. That, of course, is my opinion, and not everyone will agree with me. And that, too, is ok.

OVOT (along with many other bloggers) has supplied information that falls short of your stringent definition of credibility, and yet readers have garnered great insight from such information. I would hate to see such information stifled by an arbitrary standard you have so callously sought to apply.

This blog is one of OV's greatest sources of town-related information. Let's all work to maintain the integrity of information flow on this medium, but not to the extent that the marketplace of ideas is chilled.

Happy New Year to OV Mom and all bloggers/readers!

Nombe Watanabe said...

Chuck Davis presented a very rational suggestion regarding Police Budget, or indeed any future OV budget in the 10 top stories thread. If you have not seen it I recommend both the suggestion and the thread.

Oro Valley Mom said...

I'm sorry, but I don't understand how anyone can "garer great insight" from unsubstantiated urban legends and rumors.

Oro Valley Mom said...

Oops. Should be "garner great insight."

AZCactus1 said...

Stop apologizing OV Mom. It's ok--your take on things is your take (i.e. OVOT's statements being "unsubstantiated urban legends and rumors"). We don't all agree with you, and that is ok. Take a deep breath. Diversity of opinion IS A GOOD THING!

Zev said...

Historically, 'unnamed sources' have been a valuable utility in many journalistic endeavors. One of the most famous was given the name "Deep Throat" and the speculation about who it was went on for many years. One can assign their own opinion as to the validity of such depending on how you might view the veracity of the author. Examples: OVOT, having been embedded in the operations of Town for quite awhile, has his 'people', the operator of this blog site has his and, believe me, I have mine! This is a relatively small Town and our 'sources' many a time do not wish to be or should not be revealed.I will assert that while I might weave certain material into my posts, I will never reveal my source if such revelation might be sensitive. Given the plethora of different posts here, Council 'attachments', Staff communication, citizen involvement, the evolution of the 'streams', as well as an ability to analyze the contents and the perceived veracity of the writers, I believe it is very possible to add two plus two and come up with four.

Oro Valley Mom said...

The problem is, we should hold our politicians accountable for what they actually say and do, but not for things they don't say or do, but are just made up as political attacks or out of ignorance. Like the letter to the Explorer last week decrying the council's actions in denying the In 'n' Out Burger. Except it just wasn't true. Or the 2000 smear campaign against John McCain suggesting that he had an African-American child out of wedlock.

Yes, I want evidence before I believe rumors.

OV Objective Thinker said...

OV Mom...Here is the real problem.

" we should hold our politicians accountable for what they actually say and do, but not for things they don't say or do, but are just made up as political attacks or out of ignorance."

I don't mean to be demeaning but the subject of your sentence is "we" and the direct object is "politicians". ( I know it's scary but diagraming sentences was a treat for me in grade school.)but your comments after the second "do" make no sense. You left out a few words.

HOWEVER, I think I know what you are trying to say and (this will drive you nuts) I agree with you.
We should hold our Town Council members accountable for what they say, what they do AND how they vote.

That will become a campaign issue in this election and most importantly, in the next election.....which may not be two years after this one!!! :-)

Happy New Year.

boobie-baby said...

Here's my new year wish:

That conversations on this blog will stay respectful (yes, I'm talking about YOU);

That our discussions will be factually-based;

That candidates will endeavor to learn as much as they can before they promise things they can't deliver (in other words, learn to count to 4);

That we recognize that OV is not immune from national and international financial problems, and that we cannot spend or tax our way out of them;

And, finally, that everyone recognizes that we live in a very special place--one that has its share of problems--but one that is physically beautiful and which contains concerned and active residents.

On that note, happy new year to all.

The Zee Man said...

Boobie Baby...

I couldn't have said it better myself.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL.