Konwinski: Advice to CollinsWritten by Micheal Konwinski | | email@example.com
Well, it’s all over except the shouting, so this is my advice to Mayor-elect D. Michael Collins:
- Don’t forget where you came from. You were a rookie cop once, and I am sure that as you rose through the ranks, you saw things that angered you. You saw favoritism and unqualified individuals given promotions while more qualified persons were bypassed. Look into this, and have your staff understand that you want the most qualified person in every position.
- Hire and promote people into your administration that really know the job. Resist hiring friends and campaign workers; it looks bad and hurts morale. Besides, the city has enough of these already.
- Remember that more than 90 percent of all city workers really are good employees. They are conscientious and dedicated to their jobs. The remaining 10 percent of the employees are not so devoted, and are responsible for 90 percent of the time spent on disciplinary actions. Make sure the managers and commissioners are capable of dealing out proper disciplinary actions. It takes a lot of effort to correct bad employee behaviors and many managers are unwilling to take the time and effort to manage successfully.
- Avoid martinets and people unwilling to take a stand or make a decision. The real weaknesses in city government are within the exempt and executive exempt classifications. Please look closely at this level of management and weed out the unneeded and ineffective personnel. These are the folks that are going to help or hurt you the most. It is their effectiveness in dealing with the public and public issues that will make or break your term.
- Encourage people to bring you bad news, and have them also present ways to solve these problems. To be honest, you don’t need to hear good news (unless it is to publicly acknowledge an accomplishment); good news is to be presumed. You need to hear the bad, and you need to hear it right away. Go to the divisions, talk to the employees, see for yourself what the heck is going on and go out in the field.
- I used to tell my employees if they made a mistake to tell me right away. If I found out immediately, we had a chance to correct it. If they hid the error from me, I had no chance to fix it and they would suffer the consequences. This needs to be thoroughly understood by the people who work for you.
- You are going to find friends that you never knew existed. Resist their blowing smoke and look for quality over quantity; check their qualifications. You need to hire people whom you trust, who can do the job, but you also need to check on them and make sure that they are successful.
- Get your transition team together ASAP and talk to Mayor Mike Bell. He is a reasonable guy and is sure to work with you to enable a smooth transition.
- Have yourself and your people get involved in the current budget preparation. A new budget will be presented early next year, and the more input you have now, the easier it will be to implement.
- These “laws” or theories need to be understood:
- Parkinson’s Law: “An official wants to multiply subordinates, not rivals” and “Officials make work for each other.”
- Parkinson’s Law of Triviality: “The time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum [of money] involved.”
- Hofstadter’s Law: “It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.”
- The Planning Fallacy: “The tendency to underestimate the time, costs and risks of future actions and at the same time overestimate the benefits of the same actions. The bias only affects predictions about one’s own tasks.”
You are a temporary employee, under a four-year contract with an option to renew. You work for us, and you are spending our money. You have a duty and responsibility to spend our money wisely on things we need. Items that are for your own glorification, ego or personal benefit need to come out of your pocket, not ours.
Michael Konwinski worked for the City of Toledo for almost 31 years. He was the Libertarian candidate for mayor in the recent primary election.