Thursday, April 23, 2009

Is this the way to treat employees?

Over the last week or so, Toledo's Mayor Carty Finkbeiner has threatened layoffs due to the city's $27 million budget deficit. Council cut out about $7 million so there is still $20 million to go, hence the layoff notices.

Originally, he said he'd be laying off around 300 employees - but that number has ranged as high as 350 and as low as 240-ish. Included in that total were 150 police officers along with prosecutors working in the Toledo Municipal Court (TMC).

Today, Judge Timothy Kuhlman, TMC's presiding judge, was a guest on WSPD with Brian Wilson (podcast here) and expressed his concern that a reduction in the number of prosecutors would seriously compromise the operations of the court and the safety of Toledoans. Without a sufficient number of prosecutors, it is likely that cases would be dismissed, leaving criminals to go free. He also said that the Court's probation department is already hearing 'bragging' about how gangs and criminals are just waiting for the layoff of police to occur.

Despite claims that they don't listen to WSPD, by 7 p.m. the Mayor had issued the following press release directly responding to the Judge's comments:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mayor Finkbeiner: 'Our Prosecutor's Office Is Not Closing.'

Today Mayor Finkbeiner released the following statement in response to allegations made by Municipal Court Judge Timothy Kuhlman that the City of Toledo's entire Prosecution Office staff could be laid off:

"Judge Timothy Kuhlman is misinformed and irresponsible in his statements about the possibility that the City of Toledo could lose its Prosecutor's Office. The City of Toledo will continue to employ a Law Director and the Prosecutor's Office will continue to operate with its current staff, barring any further economic downturn. While it is true that layoff notices were given to all General Fund employees, the Prosecution team would be the last in the Law Department to be cut. For Judge Kuhlman to go public without knowing of what he is speaking is absolutely unconscionable."

Of course, Carty, with his traditional 'ready, shoot, aim' behavior, did exactly what he accused Judge Kuhlman of doing: going "public without knowing of what he is speaking."

At no point did Judge Kuhlman say that the city would 'lose its Prosecutor's Office.' He did state the truth when he acknowledged that all prosecutors got layoff notices as Carty admits, and Wilson commented about even Chief of Staff Bob Reinbolt getting a layoff notice. Kuhlman talked about the consequences of both a lack of police and prosecutors and the impact layoffs of both would have to the court system and Toledoans.

But note what the release says - 'layoff notices were given to all General Fund employees.'

So the city gave layoff notices to people that they know they're not going to lay off? Talk about irresponsible!

How is that good employer-employee relations? Carty warned about media and others generating 'fear' over the lack of police, yet here he is generating 'fear' among his employees by telling them they could be laid off, even though he has no intention of doing so. He's also generated fear in Toledoans who are concerned that less than 500 officers is not enough to cover the city 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year long.

Carty often praises the employees of the city for the good works that they do - and appropriately so. However, creating fear and uncertainty by giving layoff notices to those whom he knows will keep their jobs is not the way you treat employees you value - or at least that you say you value.

No wonder he's unable to accomplish anything in negotiations with the unions.

4 comments:

Hooda Thunkit said...

Maggie,

Czarty is the consumate Raddy-Fire-Fire-Fire-Aim kinda guy, he'll never change.

What a maroon. . .

Jay Ott said...

Rather than rehashing all of the "unconscionable" things the officially recalled mayor has said or done, I think it comes down to who is more believable.

Should we believe an honorable judge who has sworn a solemn oath to uphold certain ethical, professional, and legal standards who deals with evidence and its criteria everyday?

Or should people believe Toledo's recalled mayor who has also sworn a solemn oath, but apparently hasn't taken it seriously. Finkbeiner's "glory is his shame" by dishonoring himself, the city and its citizens, who plays fast and loose with evidence to suit his agenda and who is also ignorant of its criteria?

Why should the recalled mayor be believed who once said, “Sometimes the finger pointers turn out to be
slightly less goody-two-shoes than they made themselves out to be.”

Roman said...

For as many times the mayor has been elected to various offices, he certainly is not a "people" person.

There is nothing about his mannerism that seems likeable, let alone electable.

Annie said...

The Finkbeiner plans typically fail to identify essential vs. non-essential city services.
Public Safety (Police and Fire) and City Employment should always be the City's top priorities. Those are followed by Water, Sewer, Utilities, Garbage and Streets. Further down the list of essentials would be Public Transportation, Cemeteries and Parks.
The list toppers are the most expensive to maintain, so seem to be the target of Carty's 'budget cuts'. Instead he should identify non-essentials and start eliminating services from that end.

Never mind -- asking Carty to prioritize is not realistic. Lets elect someone next time who already knows how to put things in proper perspective. (If such a person would step forward and volunteer.)

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