Sunday, April 25, 2010

City Manager Evaluation Documents

Councilor Jessica King will serve as Deputy Mayor (DM) this year on the Oshkosh Common Council. The major responsibility of that position is to facilitate the annual evaluation of the City Manager (CM).

During my term as DM, I said that the CM evaluation should be guided by three principles: fairness, rigor, and transparency. All the principles are crucial, but without transparency there really is no way for the public to know if the evaluation process was in fact fair or rigorous.

Several months ago, when the Council in open session discussed the CM evaluation process, it seemed clear that the majority were not comfortable with releasing evaluation information that linked evaluative comments or survey scores to individual councilors. At that time City Attorney Lorenson provided us with a memo that [in my opinion] did not take a clear stand on what could or could not be released as part of the process.

In March, I released to the press a memo that summarized the Council's evaluation scores.

Early this month, the local corporate press filed an open records request (which to this day I have not seen) asking for additional materials (I found this somewhat interesting since this is the same outfit that said that we should "praise in public and criticize in private" or some such worn cliche'). I provided Director of Personnel John Fitzpatrick all the material I compiled in the process, which included survey scores attached to individual councilors and summary comments that were made in closed session. The materials can be found here.

An objective reading of these materials will show that the evaluation of Mr. Rohloff was in fact fair and rigorous. The documents do not indicate any cheap shots or attempts to minimize Mr. Rohloff's accomplishments. Nor do the documents reveal any kind of old boy network sweeping under the rug of legitimate concerns. Indeed, my perception during the entire process was that all councilors and Mr. Rohloff took it very seriously and appreciated the interaction.

My hope is that the release of these material will go a long way toward ending what I think has been, for too many years, unnecessary secrecy in the evaluation process. I'm confident that Councilor King will continue to keep the process open and in fact look for ways to increase the transparency.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Maybe The Pittsburgh Pirates Will Win World Series This Year

Having a "My Two Cents moment" (i.e. Mr. Krause frequently writes about sports).

Imagine being on the Pittsburgh Pirates roster today. After having just taken a 20-0 beating, AT HOME, at the hands of [let's admit it fellow Wisconsinites] a so-so Milwaukee Brewers team, you'd think that not even an over-inflated salary would cure the anguish and embarrassment.

On the other hand, a beating like yesterday's could become a real test of character. Today the Pirates should make a decision: should we (1) play out the season as lousy as the media pundits and fans expect or (2) pledge to rise from the ashes and provide the entire nation a lesson in pride and character. The latter will require every man on the roster to play each remaining game as if it was his last.

If the Pirates do win the World Series this year, great stories can be told about how that 20-0 shellacking was a transformative event. That game could become a metaphor for everyone who's been beaten down, laughed at, and told they didn't have chance.

Okay, so the Pirates will probably finish in last place.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Friday Week in Review

I'll be on WPR's Week in Review on Friday with host Joy Cardin and conservative blogger Dave Blaska. You can join the conversation from 8 - 9 a.m. at 1-800-642-1234. You can also email questions or comments at