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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 12, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Street manager under fire

If not now, when?

Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis said of the transportation-management travesty, “No one’s losing their job over this” [“Street honcho under fire long before snow fiasco,” page one, May 8].

I find it difficult to imagine circumstances in which the leaders of an organization that spends more than half a million taxpayer dollars on a single investigation of internal discrimination and favoritism complaints shouldn’t be losing their jobs.

— Steve Poole, Shoreline

Problem: secure-job culture

I can answer Seattle City Councilman Nick Licata’s question –why was a manager with documented problems related to his management style promoted, and why a $515,000 investigation into workplace issues at the department produced no noticeable change a year later [“Promotion of ‘unsafe’ manager questioned,” page one, May 9].

When I returned to Seattle after college many years ago, I naively felt comforted that Seattle appeared to have a more open, clean and “run as it should be” city government than the convoluted, corrupt and impenetrably bureaucratic other cities that I knew.

It wasn’t until I served on Seattle’s Human Rights Commission a few years later that I learned the disturbing truth about Seattle’s city government: The city’s institutional culture placed (and apparently still places) a much higher priority on assuring that everyone kept his or her job than on any concern about whether the job is being properly performed.

Until this culture changes, the citizens of Seattle will suffer the indignities and worse of a failed bureaucracy. What it will take to change this culture I do not know, but it has been clear for a long time that simply exposing mismanagement is not enough to correct it.

— Greg Bartholomew, Seattle

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