23 October 2009

The Part of the Question You DIDN'T Hear Answered

At today's General Staff Meeting, the Administration answered pre-submitted questions from the Staff. It appears that only one question was submitted. Something was read, and the Administration response was given.

What you don't know is that you only heard part of of the question. I know, because I am the one who submitted it.

Here's what the Administration responded to: "I was disappointed that staff were asked to pay for their own incentive awards through the Staff Association. It seems to send the message that [the orgnization] appreciates us as long as it doesn’t cost anything."

Here's the rest of the question, which you didn't hear, and which the Administration did not respond to:

"Was any consideration given to funding the awards by asking Board Members to each kick in twenty-five bucks or so, or taking up a collection from senior management?"

We can all guess why this question wasn't read or answered. It would embarrass the Administration. And the fact that the question wasn't answered tells us what the answer is: no. No consideration was given to having the top brass chip in to fund the incentive awards.

Now maybe that's because their consideration hadn't reached that point when the Staff Association volunteered to pay for the awards. That's an innocent enough explanation. But if so, why bother to avoid the question?

I guess we all have to draw our own conclusions.


UPDATE: Please see Nancy's answer in the comments.

And a side comment to those who've told me how surprised they were that I asked the question to begin with, or who told me that they didn't send in questions because they were afraid: I felt completely comfortable with my original question and this blog post because it's my experience that our Administration is willing to answer questions and address staff concerns. The Administration understands that disagreements are a fact of life, and simply asking a question is not going to get you in trouble.

It didn't used to be like that here, and I understand it's not like that in a lot of other organizations. Freedom to ask questions and voice concerns is one of the real strengths of our system.


Nancy Choice said...

Don, I thought the question of how the Staff Association came to fund the awards and not the library system was a fair one as there may have been others who wondered the same. I answered that as completely and honestly as I could. We had not even gotten to the point of discussing where we could find additional funding before the Staff Association voted to fund the awards which I thought was a generous and gracious thing to do. So, no, we did not have a discussion about raising the money from Board or administration donations. We were happy to find the money for all the other awards where we did and we discussed with Lois Miller the establishment of a separate Foundation fund so that these awards could be fully funded in the future without relying on county funding.

Meerkatdon said...

Nancy, Thanks for the clarification. I've put an addendum on my post, but let me say it again here: the freedom to ask questions and voice concerns is one of the great strengths of our organization, and I appreciate having this question taken seriously.