LMUD workers urge board to 'do the right thing'
“The employees of the district and many in the public who are aware of the situation urge the remaining board members to do the right thing,” Hubbard said.
“ … If you have any respect for this district or those who have served the district for so long or the public who elected you, you will make the morally correct decision by actually removing the problem.”
While the LMUD employees did not level any specific allegations at Cady, they said any recent positive steps taken by the district under the current administration are “vastly overshadowed by the many, many examples of tyrannical, dictator-like and destructive actions taken.”
According to the letter, “Nearly every LMUD employee has either witnessed or been the victim of hostile, demeaning, threatening and explosive behavior directed towards all employees. This behavior could have no possible objective but to belittle the recipient.
“Despite a recent radio interview in which the general manager admits on the air that he ‘is a hothead, and everyone knows it,’ it is generally our opinion that the (general) manager takes great pleasure in ‘managing’ with a style that could only be considered tyrannical and dictator-like. The consensus is that no one works for this general manager out of respect. The employees continue to work for the district for the ratepayers.”
Hubbard said the employees had hoped the board would take action to correct the situation, but it did not.
“At this time we come before you with the possibility of losing our jobs,” Hubbard said. “This possibility is because we have been told that going to the board would be cause for immediate dismissal. The present work environment and specific actions leading us to this point have made the situation impossible to ignore any longer. It has taken a long time to get to the point that we came before the board. We had hoped that the situation would get better, and then before you knew it, the situation got worse, much worse.”
The employees placed the blame for the alleged hostile work environment squarely on the shoulders of the directors.
“The board knows where the responsibility for these actions lies,” Hubbard said. “It lies directly within the board. It lies with decisions allowing a work environment that may be the cause of lawsuits pending or proposed. You have allowed back the very source of the disease which is spreading and destroying what otherwise would be one of the best functioning entities in the county.”
According to the employees’ letter, they suspect the board’s many closed session evaluations of Cady and its alleged decision to allow him to return to work after a lengthy vacation led to the immediate resignations of directors Nancy Cardenas and George Sargent at noon on Friday, Oct. 26.
“It is obvious there have been many special board meetings with the only agenda item being the closed session evaluation of the performance of the general manager,” Hubbard said. “These meetings, coupled with the many weeks the general manager was ‘on vacation’ force a conclusion that the board is faced with a decision involving indiscretions by the general manager of great magnitude! The decision to return him to duty was apparently not acceptable to at least two board members who found it necessary to resign their positions.”
In a press release regarding the resignations, Cardenas did not reveal her reasons for leaving the board. Sargent declined to comment on his resignation.
“It is with deep regret that I resign from the Lassen Municipal Utility District as the Ward 5 Director, Cardenas wrote. “I would like to thank all the people in Lassen County who have supported me over the years as I served on this board. To the employees of the district I wish you all well, and it has been my pleasure to work with you. I would also like to ask the public to start attending district meetings and give guidance to the remaining board members so that the right decisions can be made on your behalf as you all are the owners of this utility.”
The employees also responded to a recent radio interview with Cady and a story regarding Cady’s calendar and his lengthy vacation published in the Nov. 13 issue of the Lassen County Times.
“It should be perfectly clear to the board and to the public that contrary to a recent news story filed by a local radio station that the management style described by your general manger himself does not take any special ‘subjective interpretation’ by any reasonable person to perceive it as anything but unacceptable in this environment or any other,” Hubbard said.
“Don’t you as board members wonder about the recently published statements made to the Lassen County Times? If the elected board doesn’t have a ‘need to know’ then to whom should the general manger of a public utility answer? Where exactly is the accountability?”
Despite the employees’ concerns, they said one “positive outcome of the situation we face together is that it has galvanized the employees across all classifications to bring this information to you in a public session. It is with full knowledge that if appropriate actions to remove the cancer are not taken, all involved will become a target for the very kind of retaliation and hostility previously experienced but raised to extraordinary magnitude.”
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