Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Correia Resignations - Why all the hype?

In one of his first acts as Mayor Bob Correia has requested resignation letters from all his department heads.

Okay, what's the big deal?

This has been treated like some HUGE news story. CORREIA FIRES EVERYONE!! Well, no he didn't. This is purely symbolic, a way for the new Mayor to make it known that no job is to be taken for granted and the he is reviewing each and every position. If Mayor Correia EXCEPTED everyone's resignations THAT would be news, but most of these people are going to keep their jobs, or more correctly have their resignations not accepted, in my opinion.

One very good point brought up by WSAR's Keri Rodrigues is what happens if the resignation is accepted? This is something that must be answered. As much as I applaud a new administration for taking firm action to clean house our city employees are entitled to the same employment protections as anyone else.

Personally I think it's a positive step and I hope that Mayor Correia looks long and hard to make sure that the people who serve in city government are doing the job we expect, or should expect.


Anonymous said...

It's a way of saying "There's a new sheriff in town. Shape up or ship out." And, I'm all for that. At the same time, the new Mayor must keep motivation and morale high - while sending the message loud and clear that what was ok before may not be okay now.

You go, guy.

General said...

You are 100% correct when it comes to the resignations, that is not a big story. Everyone is actually missing the true big story and that is the stupid councilors falling like dominoes before Correia.

Think of it this way......Correia is the Executive and the Council is the legislative body

How can the council agree to go thru him to communicate to the dept heads??? Can u imagine George Bush telling Barney Frank you cannot talk to the Treasurer of the US or the Dept of must go through me!!! Frank would tell the pres where to go!!

There is a seperation of powers....these councilors----especially Linda P are too dumb to know that!!!

How about hearings before the council......will they bring in dept heads for questioning???

What about budget time....the mayor's office does the budget.....if a councilor has a problem with a specific portion of the the budget....let us say the Dept of Public Works......he or she can no longer talk to the dept head?? They will go thru the mayor's office to get an answer on a budget the mayor put together!! Do u think they will get a straight answer.?? This is ludicrous!!!

Anonymous said...

I think it is all just a big show. A "look at what I can do, do you see how all mighty and powerful I am".

This type of move is probably why most of the people I talked to that work in City Hall did not want that man in there!

General said...

Correia's full name:

Robert (Salazar) Correia.

Anonymous said...

It is a big deal in that it is atypical or deviates from the norm if you look at what past mayors have done and they haven't done what Correia just did. But Correia doing something different isn't bad although this move in particular was bad because his transition team should've gotten to know department heads through interviews and Correia should've taken more time to see who can perform and who can't.

Correia has a right to surround himself with who he wants but if he replaces people he better do it with people who are equally if not more competent and not hacks that were promised and are owed jobs. Time will tell.

This definitely was a move though that fits in with Correia's personality of asserting his authority in an aggressive fashion, he wanted people to know that they get their job from him, he can make them or break them... In reality though putting everyone on eggshells both good and bad department heads does nothing for the working relationship that you need to have to get things done, it casts things in a negative fashion right away. The good department head that Correia doesn't yet realize are good are put off by suddenly having to tender a resignation and being unsure about whether or not they will get their job back or someone will be put in their place to repay a favor but I guess we aren't supposed to worry about that...Even if they do get their jobs back to put someone's life in turmoil because you wouldn't or couldn't take the time necessary to evaluate them before you demanded a resignation is bad business.

And Lefty, while the media may have a field day with this the public is loving it since most folks have an image or stereotype in their mind of the "lazy government employee" and this move by Correia plays to the masses because he looks like he is the guy that is going in there to shake them up... this is probably not the reason why Correia did this because he most likely had another reason or reasons but in the end this will be a good bump for him in the media, it might not go over great with the media but the public reading and hearing about it will lap it up because it does play to the folks who think all government workers are lazy and bad and there are a lot of people out there that feel that way...the national Republican party has made a living for years off spoon feeding the masses the idea that government is bad and almost every employee is shiftless and lazy and needs their asses kicked...

Anonymous said...

I am not a person who thinks that government is bad or that municipal employees are lazy and bad.

Just look at the Herald News photo of the City Treasurer carrying 2 televisions out of Government Center!
Why does he or anybody else need a television at Government Center?

Televisions, newspapers, etc. make employees less productive and hopefully Correia will be technologically savvy and include recreational use of the internet on his list too.

The transition team has reviewed the departments, Correia will review the departments and hopefully with good judgment the good ones will stay and those who get replaced are replaced with competent non-hacks.

Fall River has a new coach for its team and some members of the squad might (and should) get cut - it's not a big deal.

Anonymous said...

Two separate issues here. 1.) Demanding all of the resignations, bad move, read 8:56 above for the reasons why. 2.) Televisions in government center.

I agree with you that employees should not be watching television instead of working. Heck, I agreed with Tom Hodgson when he took television away from the prisoners. I am not as obsessed though with the image of the Treasurer taking away televisions as you appear to be. It was a good move by Correia whether or not it was a publicity stunt. It doesn't make me wanna pat Correia on the back just yet though or fall all over myself talking about what a great Mayor he is.

I'm not comparing city employees to inmates but I do want to say that Hodgson took away televisions from inmates because he supposedly wanted to make jail uncomfortable so that people didn't want to come back yet the recidivism rate in Bristol County is well over 70% according to Hodgson's own spokeperson who gave the figure on WSAR one day. That would put us in line with some places in California and other parts of the country in terms of having an extremely bad rate of recidivism. My point is Hodgson often gets great pr but perception and reality are two different things, it doesn't mean Hodgson is doing a great job.

Will taking televisions, radios and newspapers away from city employees make them more productive and make the place run better? In theory it will just like in theory taking away tv's makes people not want to go back to prison but let's not jump to conclusions. Will this lead to less distractions for workers or will they find new ways to distract themselves and will Bob and his people follow up if that happens or like Hodgson will he be a politician who is content with getting a good pr bump every now and then and actually think it means that he is doing a job well done. Yes the public liked this move by Correia but let's calm down before we sing his praises just yet. Let's talk again after the first 100 days.

Maybe Correia just wants to limit access to the media and information or maybe taking away the tv's was great but let's not obsess over the image, there were people obsessing over the image of Saddam statues getting beaten with shoes when the Iraq war first seemed like it was over... there were people that obsessed over the image of Bush in a flight suit on a deck with a banner in back that read Mission Accomplished... You have to have enough intelligence to take a wait and see approach and also not to digest so readily the images and statements that Correia will spoon feed the media and that the local media will regurgitate since most of them aren't exactly top notch reporters ...

Lefty said...

I still stick by my original point
what's the fuss?
he's the new mayor and could fire whoever he wants.

so the fact that he requested the resignation letters is just symbolic. The people that end up having their resignation letters accepted were going to find themselves out of a job anyway.

I'm not sure if I agree with the comparison between Hodgson and Mayor Correia. The motives for taking away televisions are unrelated.

Jail isn't the same as a workplace.

I agree Bob's motivation is to remove distractions. I believe for him it boils down to professionalism. While I personally think that radios and such can help make the workplace a more pleasant place, TV's due seem to be a bit much.

Is it too early to assess Correia's administration? Sure, but I don't think anyone is predicting 2 years of success based on the first weeks or so. Instead I think most of us are looking at these first actions as a clue of what to expect in the future.

Anonymous said...

too much praise for correia and too soon. the move to take away televisions sounds nice but no guaranteeing it alone will improve productivity. the point was in theory that it should but if there is no additional follow up by management it could be all for nothing other then good publicity. no one said jail was the same as the workplace, you missed the boat, the comparison suggested that what sounds good in theory may not necessarily improve things in practice.

lefty, you are also a bit too cold and callous in terms of ignoring the point of being a good department head who has to turn in their resignation. correia didn't take the time to learn about your job performance and how good it is yet he's asked for your resignation. your response is basically "he can do what he wants and hire and fire who he wants," which is very true but why fire someone who is actually performing well unless you have someone else in mind for their job? your response will probably be he is entitled to put whomever he wants in but i would argue that i would want someone who is performing to keep their job or if they have to be replaced to repay a campaign favor then it better be with someone equally if not more qualified. also, what if correia decides to retain the good department head whose resignation he had just demanded? is that person going to consider themselves lucky or are they going to take into consideration that they got put through a nerve-wracking ordeal for nothing except the publicity or because correia simply didn't want to take the necessary time to evaluate everyone properly before demanding a resignation. if your answer is that people should consider themselves lucky if they gave a resignation and got their job back instead of being realistic and realizing that this type of move might create animosity with people who are going to work under you and that you will be asking to do things... if your answer is that you don't care about correia putting the lives of good workers in turmoil then you aren't the blogger that i think you are... government employees have feelings too despite what the republicans tell us and while you and i may care little for the feelings of a government employee who is underperforming I would personally hate to see good ones dumped just to get publicity or to repay campaign favors. good morale is essential to the functioning of any workplace in the public or private sector.

i have a hard time with the fall river spoils system when hacks are put into place and am just hoping that won't happen. i expect correia to give loyal supporters jobs like he did with the appointment of atty. arthur frank to be his corporation counsel but i want the people to be well-qualified. atty. frank certainly was but this needs to continue with every single appointment or you end up gettin people like maureen glisson as the head of elections.

Lefty said...


You're right what sounds good in theory may not work out in practice. However I still don't think the jail as an example is a good one.

You're also right that it has to be a trying and stressful time for any department head who has just been told to turn in his resignation.

However would it be any less stressful if Correia wasn't asking for a letter of resignation? I really don't think so. A new boss means everyone is walking on eggshells. With a new mayor every department head has to be in fear of their job. I just don't think a resignation letter is going to make a difference. If your department isn't performing, if you can't account for its going ons, you're going to be out of a job.

On the other hand, your department is a well oiled machine and there isn't a thing that goes on that you don't know about, I don't think you're going get shown the door.

This is why I don't think asking for resignation letters is a big deal. It's all symbolic. Some people could end up losing their jobs and most are going to keep them, letter or not.

Could this create animosity and hurt morale? I suppose. It's going to depend an awful lot on how the current mayor deals with it, and I'll admit this is an area where I'm not sure if Mayor Correia shines. We'll have to see.

Of course I'd like to believe all of this will be based on merit.

Is it too soon to praise or pay compliment to our new mayor? I don't think so. Those who disagree with him certainly don't think it's too soon to criticize.