County Staffer Issues 'Call to Action' over Workplace Bully Joe Harn
May 11, 2014 Dear Friends and Colleagues: As you know, on April 28, 2014 I made a statement to the Board of Supervisors concerning Auditor-Controller Joe Harn.
First, I would like to thank those of you who took the time to express support, or share your own experience with the Auditor. Your encouragement has helped me keep my head up, especially when my professional competence is challenged in the local blog by someone without the courage to confront me directly, or the newspaper editor publicly refers to me as somebody else's "minion" without the courtesy of an interview.
Second, I want to strongly encourage you to share your "Auditor" experiences with Board of Supervisors and the public in a way that demands action. Next Tuesday, May 13 at 10 AM the Board of Supervisors will hear a summary report of the cultural assessment interviews recently conducted by VanDermyden Maddux law firm. This is an opportune time to send an e-mail or letter to the Board, or speak publicly about your experiences.
I have already reached out to many of you with this request. Thank you for thoughtfully listening to my appeal, and also for sharing your concerns. While many of you have shared even more consequential frustrations with the Auditor and/or his staff than my own, we have refrained from coming forward due to the personal and professional risk associated with such a move. Many are aware of colleagues and managers unceremoniously berated, those who have been "reassigned" or demoted to avoid future confrontation with that office, and the number of department heads who have rotated in and out over the years due to problems with the Auditor.
The risk extends from our immediate employment to those we work for, work with, and those who work for us. "He'll grind my department to a halt with late postings, delayed payments, or non-engagement," you say. Do I dare set up my department or organization as the next above-the-fold target in the local newspaper? Recognizing these risks, we choose to keep our heads down, remain compliant, and try to navigate around the molehills turned into mountains.
That strategy is not working. Has keeping your head down kept you, your boss, your staff, or your organization off the target list? Has the strategy of compliance at all cost fundamentally improved your situation? The evidence of experience suggests it has not. Despite your best efforts to handle differences professionally, unnecessary conflict with the Auditor continues to encroach on your professional efficiency and personal well-being.
Failing to come forward with the truth of your experiences enables the Auditor to continue his attacks, emboldens him to expand his snares, and ensures that his unprofessional behavior will continue toward you and those around you.
Please join me in standing up and speaking out against these offenses.