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Occum’s Razor and Rockville . . .

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Published on: Thursday, May 02, 2013

By Brian J. Karem

The Mayor and Council of Rockville are paying a heavy bill and it isn’t necessarily a bill of their making. Previous mayors, councils and city managers are the cause, but the effect is plain enough to see.

The work environment in Rockville is poisonous. The letters to us from city employees, the investigation we conducted and the ensuing outside investigation bought and paid for by the city are a testament to Rockville’s caustic nature. It is worth mentioning the current council is struggling mightily to deal with this turgid mess.

This week the city took a couple of steps in the right direction. Councilman John Hall asked for a two percent increase in employee wages, and Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio directed the new city manager to pick up the pace in implementing changes suggested in the Saul Ewing Report – the investigation for which the city paid.

While I do not doubt every member of the council wants to treat its employees fairly, I also do not doubt the city council has been its own greatest enemy in doing so because of the contentious nature of the council. But as Occum’s razor dictates the simplest answers tend to be the correct answers, I for one do not agree with certain employees who tell us they believe there is a conspiracy in city hall to keep them down, sweep the problems under the carpet and proceed in a “business as usual” atmosphere in “our once proud city.”

A corollary to Occum’s razor is that when it comes to human behavior it is best to believe in incompetence before malice.

With that said, I will retreat to the sticking point I have with the city of Rockville. Elected officials bought and paid for an investigation they have yet to see. The investigation included members of the city staff and it was city staff saw and sealed the results of the investigation. Few outside of the city council fail to see the irony and hypocrisy in this move, but that cannot be said for the majority of council members.

It is this one sticking point which resounds with employees, former employees and more importantly the voters of Rockville.

Some inside the city have gone so far as to accuse The Sentinel and its editor of “cahooting” with city dissidents and itinerant naysayers. The facts require no conspiracy. We merely wish to shine light on the subject. If there’s nothing in that report, then so be it. If, in fact, members of the council were to view the entire report and report there is nothing in it, then at the very least an elected official responsible to the public has seen the report. Futher, we can then hold those officials accountable for the results.

But, what about the current city manager? She was not here when the problems occurred, so we should be able to trust her members of the media have been told. This is irrelevant. The city manager still works for the city council and while I know of no one who believes the current city manager had anything at all remotely to do with the problems in the Saul Ewing report, those directly responsible to the public have not seen the report - this remains paramount.

I find it humorous some who haven’t seen the report continue to try and tell me what is in the report since they supposedly know no more than I do about it. There are numerous reasons why elected officials should see this report that include but are not limited to the scope of the investigation, claims by city employees that no names were to be used in the investigation, as well as what were the actual accusations leveled by employees.

So, while I believe no one in office wants to hide the results of the investigation, they are in effect doing so by not looking at it. I find it funny in the extreme that such an opinion means in the minds of some The Sentinel and its editor are in cahoots with malcontents.

I’ll rest with this: All we care about is shining the light on the dark spots. Whatever cockroaches scurry away we will report. We have no dog in the hunt. But those elected officials in Rockville who claim to embrace “transparency” should be transparent, responsible and speak up. Your employees would embrace it, your constituents would vote for it and you’ve have the respect of a grateful populace with that one small step – and you’d take a giant leap forward in paying the bill for the city’s past transgressions against its employees.

Reader Comments - 8 Total

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Posted By: Peter Cole On: 5/29/2013

Title: 1 year and no changes

Who has been fired? Who has paid with being demoted? What HR changes have been made. I still see the same idiots on the Rockville Channel. I see the courts will be deciding about the firing of Mr. Morgan by Susan Swift.a You remember him he did not fit in according to Susan Swift when she fired him. Trial is set for July 2013.
I have been reading these horror stories since day one and will be following this story till the very end.

Posted By: 11 year employee who ran for the hills On: 5/19/2013

Title: Former Employee

I am a former employee who had been in touch with Saul Ewing. I even sent them a certified letter explaining my concerns and heard NOTHING from them.
Either they stole $200,000 from the citizens of Rockville, or the City Manager is trying to hide information from the Mayor, Council and the rest of the City.
Dirty, dirty, dirty..........the beat goes on.

Posted By: Tina Spencer On: 5/19/2013

Title: bout time

Ha Ha
How many tax dollars will be wasted by the city defending court actions? Time for the city to settle with the former staff and move on.
I wonder what dirt the report will uncover during any trial?

Posted By: Sam Becker Sr. On: 5/7/2013

Title: Law Suit

I noticed one of the former staff has filed a court action. Hopefully many more are on the way to teach the city a lesson.
What blows this reader away is how the new city manager has done nothing in the first six months since being hired.
Clearly the Mayor and council played all of us for fools acting like they actually cared about the employees at city hall.
I bet the mayor is heading the claims that the staff who came out were just a bunch of malcontents. The mayor seems two faced in you ask me.
The city just continues to move ahead after destroying the moral and the reputation of what was a good place to work.....prior to Ullery and crew.

Posted By: Inmate at city hall On: 5/4/2013

Title: More of the same

Crack the whip. Managers in city hall feel that they got away with the abusive management style. Many of us feel nothing will change and soon our names will be made public through the law suits being filed. Once made public through the courts our jobs will be lost as the abusive managers hear what was said about them.
I know many staff who refused to come forward because they thought the investigation was a coverup nad would be used to fire staff. The Mayor could not make the guarentee that people would not be punished for talking to Saul Ewing. This is true since the city manager is responsible for staff. The MC cannot even control the new city manager who does nothing to change the work conditions in city hall.

Posted By: Scared current staff. On: 5/3/2013

Title: Malcontents u say?

So the idiot managers think we are malcontents? Let me say the articles only show a small snap shot of the looney bin called Rockville city hall.
While some of the managers left others still remain. Swift, Kimball and the others mentioned in the articles still roam the halls.
The IT director Mike Cannon has retired and he was one of the good guys. Collett Anthony the acting HR director is worthless and has done nothing to improve the work conditions. Better yet I doubt that the new city manager has made any recomendations based on the so called HR minor issues cited in the $200,000 cover up.
Many good current and former employees tried to make changes in city hall and after a year NOTHING has been done. Now we fear for our jobs since it would appear that our names are mentioned in the report. If the report is made public they will fire us all for exposing the dirt in city hall.
The only way to protect us is for Ms. Matthews to fire the remaining senior staff mentioned in the news articles.
What a crying shame since I used to really love my job.

Posted By: Micky P. Rocvkville citizen. On: 5/2/2013

Title: Fire em all

Time to demand that the city manager hired to fix Rockville be fired.
What is going on in the city that Matthews has done nothing according to the articles that talk about the investigation.
Come on... you do not need to wait till a new HR director is hired to implement the recommendations from the Saul Ewing report.
Why are these recommendations not release to the public. If you listen to the city mouthpiece Baghdad Berg these was no racial comments, or abusive management.
This issue is NOT going away!!!

Posted By: Employee X On: 5/2/2013


Ask yourself this;
The Saul Ewing investigators never interviewed any former employees. How can a company conduct an investigation without interviewing those who brought the abuses to the Sentinel?
The city paid 190K to find out what?


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