Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Boldt: the art of words that say nothing.

It's been a few years since I worked as then-Rep. Marc Boldt's legislative assistant... almost 17, to be precise.

Marc was never the most articulate fellow, and it was challenging taking his words and turning them into something understandable for him to sign. But I managed for the better part of 6 years to make that happen, taking, as it were, chicken poop and turning it into chicken salad.

The article that was sent to me where my brother-in-law made the mistake of "discussing" the firing of former county manager Mark McCauley quotes Boldt extensively as a case in point.

And Marc expresses a great many words which, at least to me, say absolutely nothing.

According to the article, there was no misconduct on McCauley's part. It's not that I've heard there was, so I can grant him that. But all of these many words of Boldt's attempting to explain it, essentially, say a great deal of... nothing. As a result, that pall will likely hang around McCauley regardless.

So, we can eliminate misconduct as a cause of his dismissal.

We can eliminate incompetence as the cause.

And we're left with "leadership," or the lack thereof.

The confusing aspect of this is that Boldt, who couldn't "lead" his way out of a wet paper bag, is attempting to justify this decision by claiming that somehow, McCauley's leadership didn't cut it.

But the bizarre aspect of this bizarre situation is that in the order of the article in question, Boldt is quoted as saying:
Boldt praised McCauley for his leadership during a period that was marked by a “foxhole mentality” from deep divisions on the council. But he said that with those days over, it’s time for a different leadership style. He said that there was no scandal that caused McCauley’s termination.
So, after praising McCauley's leadership, former Republican Jeannie Stewart then makes the claim that "...there has just been a good consensus that we needed leadership for the organization as a whole."’

You mean, McCauley was only managing PART of the county staff?

These, ladies and gentlemen, are words on the part of our council... words that mean nothing.

I've served a variety of staff functions; private, legislative and military.

And THE critical element needed to be a good staffer is to understand every element of your tasking.

Boldt told the Columbian that (quoting the article) "...McCauley didn’t move fast enough on county initiatives (he didn’t give examples)."

Boldt, himself, bears at least partial responsibility for that outcome.

If you put together what Boldt calls a "county initiative," you can't leave staff hanging by failing to tell the guy who runs the staff when the task has to be completed.

As a leader, Boldt should have asked McCauley for the date he could get these "county initiatives" done; accepted those dates or changed them. But a vague and nebulous allegation that McCauley (or anyone else) didn't "move fast enough" without citing any examples?

That's less than worthless.

When I worked for Marc, he would rarely give me drop dead dates on projects, because I would do any task as quickly as possible. But while that worked with me, it's not going to work with everyone, and the council has a duty to insure that ALL taskings have completion dates scheduled.

In short, then, the idea that McCauley "didn't move fast enough" isn't on McCauley: it is, in fact, on Boldt.

Clearly, the council has forgotten what staff's function under the Charter actually is: And the LAST thing leadership of any organization is going to be concerned about is the "vision" of the staffers or their manager... because THAT is not staff's responsibility.

Staff's job is to implement the vision of those in charge; in this case, the council; and not to sublimate that "vision" in favor of their own.  Any "vision" used here has to come from the Council and the Council alone.  The lines on that are pretty clear.

Boldt's handling of this shows the same kind of incompetence that the Public Disclosure Commission acknowledged when they took control of his campaign finances away from him.

Boldt seemingly does not understand that thanks to him and those like him, the council's job is to draw the picture and staff's job is to build the vision that he and the council provide... and certainly not replace that vision with their own.

And, of course, if Boldt doesn't like it, then he can always quit... since we can't now get rid of this Charter leprosy.

Does that somehow mean McCauley shouldn't have been axed?

I've made my position clear: obviously McCauley should have been shown the door... actually, when Madore and Mielke were still on the council.

But if you're going to fire this guy, you need reasons besides those Boldt appears to have made up for Delasandro's campaign podcast... a bunch of words that say... nothing.

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