Solidarity Works at El Dorado Irrigation
The strength of any cohesive goal-driven organization exists within the core of its people and their fundamental ideology.
The relationship of Trust and Support between employees and management are the foundation of any highly successful business and the only true vehicles that will achieve naturally occurring excellence. Employees support management and trust management’s commitment toward their success. As a result, management trusts employees to support their collective endeavor toward excellence. Win ~ Win.
From ditch diggers to senior engineers, these employees provide the knowledge for overcoming any obstacle presented. However, if these people are working in fear of enduring ongoing retribution as a response to work related faux pas, they will stifle the inherent beneficial contributions that would normally allow them to achieve excellence; excellence within every aspect of their given responsibilities. (It is not the strength and determination of one, but the achievements of many that make an organization extraordinary) Naturally occurring excellence is achieved through the efforts of employees and the trust and support of compassionate managers and their executive staff.
Unfortunately, in this organization, empathy is an enigmatic concept.
e.g., An overzealous employee had an accident with a small gas-powered utility vehicle while responding to a SCADA initiated process alarm. The damage was minimal and the injury incurred no lost time. While discussing options for discipline with his staff and hearing the standard progressive approach, the executive manager retorted, “What would I do in this instance? Off with his legs!! He should be punished to the fullest extent possible!”
A little unusual?
Another employee ‘replied to all’ from a poorly composed email which was written by a recently discarded employee and designed to berate our executive staff while exposing the aggressive nature of their domineering management practices. The original letter was sent out using #everyone. This had been a forbidden practice. (Depending upon who used it) Thus, by utilizing ‘reply to all’, this employee indirectly broke one of many unwritten rules. He broke an additional unwritten rule with his verbiage, paraphrased as, “I always liked the person who wrote this email and I think he did a good job.” Here he awkwardly stood up for the discarded employee and put his career in jeopardy. This person, unbeknownst to him, was on the threshold of administrative leave followed by a 3-day suspension without pay. The executive manager was irate and wanted disciplinary action immediately based on, if nothing else, the use of #everyone. This employee, unbeknownst to the executive manager, was advised to write an apology email to his supervisor that could be forwarded to the executive manager. This was completed. The response to the employee from the once outraged executive manager was rife with condolence and language such as, “It is an honor and a privilege to work with such a great man as you and I look forward to our many years of service together.”
A bit confusing?
To complete this e.g. tri-fecta, let us share a conversation that occurred during a 10+ person meeting deliberating the language of a multimillion-dollar project. This project required years of research involving many parties, including the services of an engineering firm. At each and every fork in the decision making process, the executive manager controlling its direction was presented the alternatives available and he made his decisions based on relevant information. This allowed the project to continue at a reasonable pace without wasting precious time developing the unusable. A very efficient process. After mulling over language, approach, and financial considerations, the product was ready for the 10+ person meeting. The process seemed to be flowing well as the executive manager narrowly scrutinized the efforts that he himself orchestrated at each decision-making opportunity. All conversation stopped abruptly when the executive manager pounced on a paragraph that he recalled not being happy with. (This is a quote omitting the name of the person accosted) The executive manager said, “What is this paragraph doing here?!? I specifically told you to remove this language! I should take you downstairs and SHOOT YOU!!!” The room went silent. When the executive manager was informed that this language was his and that there were notes to back up the claim. The executive manager dropped the matter and moved on to the next line for deliberation.
These are but a sample of the inner-workings of day-to-day life as an employee under the current administration. There are many stories that have not been exposed pertaining to inconsistent human resource practices, intimidation, and outright cruelty in the pursuit of excellence. Excellence that is demanded.
What is excellence? This subjective achievement is obtained through the determination and commitment of the ground troops. It cannot be demanded, but must be nurtured and developed through trust and support until excellence becomes the prevailing mindset of all participants. Then, and only then, will the benefits of excellence be free-flowing and absolutely unstoppable. The people who are this organization have this potential, nevertheless, until the executive management staff realizes that demanding success through intimidation is a powder keg waiting to explode, nothing will change.
Wake up EID and know that success isn’t a feather in your cap, but an opportunity to transform an institution into a family of professionals. Ask yourselves, ”Can I affect change without jeopardizing my own career?” Consider your professional dignity.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Solidarity Works at El Dorado Irrigation
Saturday, July 21, 2007
This posting is in response to a comment left by “Anonymous” on 7/20 @ 10:37 am
To those being derogatory about the association and others expressing their concerns. This blame game banter only downgrades our blog's credibility, especially to those looking from the outside, like the Grand Jury.
Don't take the bait and fall into management's trap because this is exactly what they want and it's the type of confusion Ane and her management 'team' thrive on.
We need to stay focused and on point. Just state facts as we've experienced or have seen others experience. Try not to get caught up in emotion. Simply disregard and 'weed' out suspect comments, as Setoda has been heard to say, "Employees are like weeds..."
Remember that "SOLIDARITY WORKS" when everyone sticks together and works as "ONE TEAM" opposing another. Just as Ane and her team of expert manipulators are doing.
I have to take a moment to apologize for my last posting and to thank you for reminding me as to why I originally started this blog. To the best of my ability I try to keep my emotions out of my postings, but sometimes it doesn’t work.
I was looking forward to the BBQ, but when I found out that the same management staff that I have watched day-in and day-out demoralize and personally attacked good and hard working employees was invited to this BBQ I became very annoyed. For the most part I believe in our Association and the work they do. Without them many employees would be in a far worse situation than what they are in right now.
So, once again, thank you for reminding me of what is important and for getting me back on track.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
This weekend is the Associations annual BBQ and campout. For most of us this should be a time to get together outside of work and enjoy a fun day in the sun with our fellow coworkers and family. But to tell you the truth I’m torn about going.
Part of me still believes in our Association and their ability to protect us from the likes of Ane Shyster, Michele Whiner, Mary Lynn Charlatan, Deanne Klepto/Drunko, Tsuami Vicki, and Steve Setoodeh/Stupido. But the other part of me questions their true intentions and wonders if they should be doing more.
We have all wondered if our Association spends more time worrying about their own jobs instead of worrying about the collective group of employees they are elected to represent. I understand that it is difficult to protect your own careers and livelihood at the same time as trying to represent an employee that management has decided to target. I also realize that as board members you take a lot of your own personal time helping Association members. In no way do I want to discredit those few that have worked hard and truly have the best of intentions. But I have to wonder…
How did it happen that management felt they are strong enough to put a whole department on Administrative Leave without some type of recourse from the Association?
How can Management continually violate our MOU without some type of legal action?
How can you knowingly be aware of illegal actions and abuse of rate payer funds and do nothing about it?
And most of all; how is it that each and every day a large portion of us go to work in an environment that is hostile and threatening and nothing is done? No lawsuit, no Labor Board action, no complaints to the Board of Directors, nothing!
Granted, some of the things that Management has tried to do to a represented employee have been overturned or limited to a smaller punishment that is unfightable, and this has to do with the work of Joe Roes and a few of the Association Board members. But in this employees opinion it’s time for the Association to stop playing defense and to start playing some offense. Team up with the Tax Payers Association, start talking with the Grand Jury, start your own investigation on the allegations made from postings on this blog. Do something other than throw a BBQ and Campout that you have invited Management to and expect everything to be okay.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
The following is an Anonymous comment that was posted to the blog on 6/23/07. The writer so eloquently describes the situation at EID that I could not pass up using it for a posting. To whoever wrote this, thank you for your comments.
Is this America or a “Day on the Beach” experience somewhere out-of-the-country?
To those of us ordinary employees, it is clear EID’s conscience has vanished, while the Board lumbers in a perpetual state of unconsciousness. The atmosphere is dark and foreboding. Paranoia runs rampant resulting in covering behinds and covering-up. Trust, respect and confidence have disappeared, being replaced with suspicion and callousness. Ordinary employees are no longer valued and are only pawns in a strange chess game guised as reorganization to sustain the GM’s intended state of confusion.
There is a known phenomenon where organizations take on the personality of their leader, and EID’s leader goes into tirades often, bangs on office doors, shouts at the top of her lungs, and pushes people around. The most recent episode occurred in the presence of the ordinary working staff in Finance, requiring Mr. Cumpston to direct personnel to exit their work stations and move to the other side of the building. It seems he may have been concerned about their safety, but more likely trying to keep a lid on an already explosive situation. This is not the first time and won’t be the last that the GM has exhibited irrational and violent behavior. Who knows what a person is capable of when they explode.
Those unfortunate to become victims of her holocaust are held in contempt and considered guilty until proven innocent. Some are sentenced to house arrest known as Administrative Leave that may go on for days or several months, with or without pay. Verdicts may lead to the firing squad with personal escorts out the door, or others must endure harsh working conditions that lead them into early retirements. All while our Board sleeps and the casualties continue to mount.
It appears the entire Board has chosen to ignore our cries for help in what constitutes a hostile work environment, with employee safety concerns. This attitude and lack of concern leads to no other choice than pursuing a recall of each member of the Board.
Monday, June 11, 2007
To follow in the foot-steps of our great leader who rather look good than actually have any values or integrity, today’s posting is to recognize all that Ane Diester has done for the employees and ratepayers of El Dorado Irrigation District. Let’s take a moment to recap and award Ane for her amazing work and to highlight, in your own words, what she has accomplished since being hired.
Under the leadership of Ane Diester the District has:
1) Hired a friend to a high level paying position knowing his past criminal record. Once his past was brought to light paid him off with District funds.
2) Promoted another manager who she was told about having a past history of embezzlement. Then cried “poor me” when he actually got caught doing the same thing at EID.
3) Disbanded the Help Desk and outsourced the services to Progent. Costing rate payers more money and ignoring the purchasing policy of fair and equal opportunity.
4) Ignored and violated our MOU; a legal and binding contract between employees and management.
5) Allowed the District to be found guilty by PERBS for 60 reportable violations of the California Labor Law.
6) Spent millions of rate payer dollars on legal fees chasing after a law suite on the Tunnel.
7) Used rate payers’ funds to throw personal parties at her house for friends, paid employees with rate payer funds to do work at her house, and hired a personal assistant to drive her around and do her errands for her when she broke her leg.
8) Has allowed, and actively fosters, an environment of intimidation and threats against employees. Violating the District’s own Hostel Work Environment policy.
9) Continues to award employees for unethical and possibly illegal management practices.
10) Mistreat dedicated employees and has created an environment that has lead to moral being the lowest it has ever been in District history.
Let’s not forget that she has achieved all this while sporting a new car each year and getting a raise with each renewal of her contract.
If you are tired of the way things are at EID, and you want to take back the control over your work life from the likes of Ane Dieser, Deanne Kloepfer, Michele Weimer, Mary Lynn Carlton, Steve Setoodeh and Vicki Caulfield, than might I suggest one of the following:
LOW-LOW RISK OPTION:
Attend the next Association meeting. Start learning what your rights are and discuss with the Association what they are doing to actively change the environment at EID.
LOW RISK OPTION:
Go home tonight and email a friend or a coworker and let them know about this blog. Ask them to pass along the information to another friend. I realize most of us dislike SPAM mail, but this type of email, sent to friends and coworkers, will go a long way in letting the public know what is going on at EID.
MEDIUM RISK OPTION:
Contact a board member, a county supervisor, a state legislator, or a state governing agency and let them know about the illegal and abusive actions going on at EID. You are protected under the Federal and State Whistle Blower law. While this option will cause a few headaches in your life, the IT department has proven that you can prevail.
HIGH RISK OPTION (Only intended for the very brave):
Start saying NO! Say no to being threatened each and every day that you are at work. Let your supervisor and coworkers know that you will no longer tolerate being subjected to a hostile work environment and that you will no longer participate in their illegal actions.
Most of all I ask that you do something. For most people we tend to complain and grumble, but in the end we do nothing to effectively make a change in our life.
I leave you with a quote that I have used in the past:
No one in this world, so far as I know ... has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great massesof the plain people. H.L. Mencken
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Posted by SpeakOutEid: The following is a comment posted by one of your fellow coworkers. I applaud Glen and the other IT personnel, who stood up and fought against Ane Deister and her cohorts to protect our rights. In the Help Desk case here is a group of employees who instead of “moving on” fought to effectively make a change. I encourage you to contact Glen for the complete Public Employees Relation Board’s (PERB) public document showing the 60 violations of labor law.
Side Note: Local and state agencies, along with the media are monitoring this blog. If you are still afraid to come forward and speak out against management than at least post a comment that will give these folks a direction as to where they should start investigating.
I am happy to see this blog site become a forum for communications and the sharing of ideas. I thank you all for your courage! Speaking of courage– I would like to thank the Association Board and you the Association members for your support in my fight against the District on the issue of Standby duty, Standby schedules and Standby pay. From the beginning of this ordeal, nearly a year and a half ago, the issue seemed to have turned into a personal vendetta which Michele Weimer had no intentions to resolve and together with Mary Lyn Carlton subjected Help Desk personnel to threats and retaliation. You’ll find on this blog the final settlement documents so you may judge for yourself. I’ve enjoyed implementing new technology at EID for the last eleven years but admit last year was the least pleasant! Since January, we have had another reorganization, the disbanding of the Help Desk and outsourcing of services. As to the cost of this little change; I will let the MountainDemocrat and Sacramento Bee ask the question, for the public ask the District Board of Directors.
As some of you have observed, Ane has brought “big business” to EID – so using her own rule book I say we do the same and move from an Employee Association to a Union! Please attend the next scheduled Association meeting and voice your concern to the Executive Board. I recommend the Association of Federal State and Local Government Employees (AFSALCE)because they can represent us all but will gladly listen to the Local 39, mentioned on this site. As you know we will be entering negotiations to renew our MOU next year. It is imperative we quickly create a short list, invite and listen, VOTE and have this new Union in place by early Spring 2008 so they enter into negotiations from the start. Also remember that a Five Year MOU is accorded to Management we trust – in this case we should take it off the table and offer a one or two year contract. Hopefully this will be a wake-up call to the District Board and our fellow rate payers that all is not well in the Republic of EID. We accept reorganizations and change but will not accept having our Employee Association and our MOU ignored and violated.
Some of you say it is not Management’s fault, that maybe it’s just a lack of communications. Some say it’s the devil in disguise or that the Board we supported has sold us out! I just say there’s a problem; it’s broke and needs fixing. So let’s start, on our side, by uniting and developing a strong voice that asks tough questions like: we have an Association of Employees, we have a negotiated MOU – what the hell are you doing ignoring it, circumventing it and violating California laws in the process and then promoting the people who violated the law?
Reading your blogs and comments I sense some of you have also been wronged- as I’ve been this past year. Yes there is anger that mounts in these situations; especially when you see your peers dragged into your affairs and then see middle management lie and cover-up. But caution – document, document, document and be patient and remember that California is a pro-labor state with agencies such as PERB (www.perb.ca.gov) and DFEH (www.dfeh.ca.gov) that can help and protect you. I welcome anyone in such a situation to call me at home and I’ll show you my documentation, my formal PERB complaint, what the Association supported and the 60 violations of law PERB formally served on the District. And I’ll tell you about the arbitration process and the final settlement. Let me encourage you by saying if you think you are right, do the research to ensure you are and then proceed! I’ll admit, now, that gloating is a nice feeling! But also remember that defiance has its price (I’m still wearing my head to toe body armor and shield to work). And don’t forget that most famous of all quotes – “I’ll get you my pretty” – its in their rule book too!
Cheers and Godspeed!
Glenn Purkett, Placerville, CA
An Encouraging Outcome for EID Employees
On May 2, 2007 a settlement was reached between EID management and the EID Employee’s Association (representing personnel of the Information Technology Support Division) and arbitrated by the Public Employees Relation Board (PERB), a State of California agency created to resolve and enforce government code regulations and public employee labor law. In the terms of the settlement (see attachment) EID management has agreed to pay Help Desk personnel a lump sum payment for past denied and unpaid standby time. Management also agreed, in this settlement, to expunge retaliatory reprimands issued these employees and referencing the grievance served. Management also agreed to revise the annual performance appraisals removing any and all mention of the grievance and reprimands. Additionally, District management agreed to reduce a “3-day suspension without pay” to a written reprimand and to return one day’s suspended pay but stopping short of completely admitting the suspension was an act of retaliation. Because the employee is still under the supervision of the managers who refused the standby pay and then retaliated against these employees, EID management has agreed to assist transferring the employee to a different position provided qualifications are met. Lastly, management has agreed to finally recognize the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), dated 2004-2009, and apply its standby provisions to all represented employees.
The subsequent disbanding of the division and the outsourcing of Help Desk services, during January 2007, and after the serving of this first PERB complaint, were not addressed in this settlement.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
I thought I would start this week’s posting with a quote:
We don't accomplish anything in this world alone ... and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one's life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something. Sandra Day O’Connor
As I talk with coworkers I continue to get the comment that people are afraid to post to this blog. I completely understand this fear. Each day at work I wonder if this will be the day that Ane and her “friends” will figure out who I am. But then I stop and think about the fact that this blog is not all about me. (I have to admit that sending a bit of fear into those abusing their power has given me pleasure.) This blog is about trying to stop the wave of fear and immoral acts going on at EID.
Although you might be feeling helpless I am here to give you a way to take back some of the power we have lost over the last few years. This is my challenge for you today, if you are afraid to post to this blog then do the next best thing. Start sending this blog address to your friends, neighbors, county officials, other water agencies, vendors and state agencies. Start letting people know that what we have to tolerate daily just to work for EID is no longer going to be accepted.
Despite what Ane may think she does not control this county and she does not control our Board of Directors. The board is an elected body of people chosen to represent the needs and concerns of this community. And if the current board can continue to ignore the very employees that work at EID, then it is time for them to go. The EID Association supported and helped Mr. Fraser and Mr. Wheeldon back in 2001 when they were first appointed. If we can help get two board members elected than we can also help get them removed in this year’s election. But this can only happen with YOUR help. Start “Speaking Out”! Upper management has ignored us; the board has ignored us, now it is time for OUR community to realize exactly what they have been paying for.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
First I would like to thank everyone who has been posting to this blog. Your comments are truly being heard. I watch management daily spinning a bit out of control with worry about what is being posted on this blog by those of you willing to speak out. For once we have a real form to communicate with each other and to the public without fear of retribution.
Many of you have spoken of employees being put on Administrative Leave (or what we call “Time on the Beach”) for unknown and suspicious reasons. These money-wasted actions are occurring through out the District, and they are happening to hard working and dedicated employees. So why are employees being sent home for days, weeks and even months with rate-payer dollars paying their salaries while management does their “investigation” of the employee? One simple reason; they stepped on someone’s toes. And we can all guess at whose toes those are.
My question for you today is a bit involved and may take time for some of you to determine the answer. I am interested to find out just how much the rate payers are spending each time an employee is put “on the beach” or given 3-days without pay. By my calculations I figure in the past five years the rate payers have paid somewhere between $300,000-$350,000 (keep in mind I’m aiming low with my numbers) in my department alone. I came up with these numbers by taking into account the following factors: 1) Wages paid to an employee as they sit at home waiting for the District to formulate a lie that can be used to control them 2) Payments to outside contractors to investigate/fabricate the allegation. 3) Overtime paid to other employees to cover the employee who is out (Yes IT employees, the District does pay overtime to other employees. Just not your department.) 4) Lawyer fees: either salary paid to our own legal department or an outside law firm. 5) Lost production time (this one is a bit harder to put into a monetary value).
How much money do you believe has been spent in your department? Does anyone have a suggestion to management on a better way for this money to be allocated?
To Janet Pollard,
I am sorry to hear about your altercation with Ane. No one deserves to be treated in such a way as waterwoes described it. Keep your head up and hang in there.
You asked about how much the boss received this year. Can you say 6.8%.
“I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness or abilities that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” William Penn
Sunday, April 29, 2007
I’m a bit confused and need some clarification. One of the “Anonymous” comments stated that prior to the current management EID never recognized its employees for their hard work. Anonymous also posted a link to the website showing the 40 employee that recently received special reorganization. My confusion comes from the fact that I was told that one of the managers pictured is the same manager who just recently put a whole department on administrative leave costing the rate payers of EID thousands of dollars? If needlessly spending rate payer money qualifies you for special reorganization than our General Manger should get top awards for her hiring of Mike Dugan and Mark Korkowski.
Don’t get me wrong, many of those employees who are pictured are hard working and dedicated employees and truly deserve to be applauded for their achievements. But to be recognized along with someone who sounds like they’ve spent rate payers money so recklessly is a bit of an insult to the other people pictured.
Side note: Just so the record is clear. I did not enlist anyone’s help from within EID to acquire the addresses used to send out postcards. I would not put another employee in jeopardy for the sake of promoting this blog.
Friday, April 27, 2007
For those of you that have taken the time to post a comment I would like to thank you. For those of you that haven’t I completely understand, and hope that in the weeks and months to come you will feel comfortable enough to respond and let your voices be heard.
To the person that said that management isn’t the problem with EID, but that the lack of communication is the problem I would like to argue one point. As an employee who do you feel is responsible for the lack in communication if not management? I have always been taught that the leader of a team sets the tone and atmosphere for his/her group. If a leader can not communicate with their team, and there is a break down in that team, than the leader needs to take responsibility for it and correct that problem. To date I have yet to see this happen.
While I will admit that a few things in the current regime have been positive for the rate payers and employees of the District, I wonder if the cost of those improvements has been worth it. Every day I get to work with coworkers that I truly respect and admire for their work ethics and their dedication to their jobs. But every day I also see these same people beaten down, falsely accused and belittled for going their jobs. Not because they are unskilled, but because they have values and morels that will not allow them to bend for a management style that is archaic and dishonest.
To the wife of the EID employee: Let your husband know that he is not alone in his feelings. There are many of us out here who spend more time in our work day trying to remove the “targets” off our back, or trying not to get one, than we do actually doing the jobs that the rate payers of this District hired us to do.
Before I sign off let me leave you with one question:
Do you believe that we have seen the worse and things will get better at EID, or will the current environment of retribution continue?