Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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February 24th, 2011

Do county employees really work in fear?

Union leader Sandy Shaddock says our workforce is stressed to the limits.

Shaddock tells me, “Many departments are at half staff and employees have not been allowed to take vacation because they are so short. Now to add insult to injury employees are in fear. Fear of layoffs, fear of loss of their longevity, fear of what will happen if they comment. No one is benefitting from this. Not the worker, not the taxpayers who will feel the impact of unnecessary cuts to staffing levels, and not the Legislature.”

As extreme as Shaddock sounds, the concerns and fears she is espousing are very real. Our workforce is sacred.

Many county workers have turned to me to give them a voice. They asked I keep their names private because of fear of retaliation.

I am going to share some of their qualms and concerns not to attack anyone in a leadership or managerial position, but because if we hear what they have to say, maybe we can get an understanding of the entire picture and perhaps begin to change employee management relations.

One county worker writes, “I am spent and just don’t know how much more I can give. I am so demoralized by the current administration that I can just lay down and die. No other words can express how I currently feel. I have been worked so hard with so little, and no raises for several years while the top dogs continue to get ridiculous raises. We are still going because we love one another and care about our county’s future.”

Another tells me, “Most of us are doing at least two or three jobs now without administrative support. I am copying, faxing and doing routine secretarial jobs at a higher cost to the county, penny wise and pound foolish. Sooner or later the house will collapse.

One worker says this about County Manager David Fanslau, “He only cares about the bottom line, and is on the warpath for “mandated services” from the state. Well guess what, mandated services are there for a reason, to protect the disenfranchised that have no voice and need our help.”

Another employee writes me, “Please help Bill, something must be done before we lose all the intelligent and caring people who are running county departments. Carolyn Hill the Personnel Director, has been cut off at the knees as well as other key department heads. He (Fanslau) doesn’t even care to consult with them about important decisions. Hence there went Greg Feight, Bill Pammer, Pam Rourke and many others who didn’t agree with him.”

Shaddock claims the legislature is “no longer appearing as the heroes who held the line on taxes. As more facts are discovered and brought to the attention of the public, the real picture becomes clear. Mismanagement is brought to the forefront.”

County employees say they see mismanagement more often than the average taxpayer because they are on the front lines.

Again, I am only bringing these concerns to light hoping that some positive dialogue can begin. Clearly morale amongst County workers is at an all time low.

Next week Treasurer and former County Attorney Ira Cohen weighs in.

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