Builders

I have been fortunate throughout my career to work with people who make good things happen.  We have many of these people working for the City of Albany, and I think it’s appropriate to recognize a few of them who have made some recent contributions.

Diana Eilers and all those who made the employee picnic possible deserve our thanks for volunteering their time to bring us together for a nice family activity.  People seemed to really enjoy the event, and I particularly appreciated the chance to see employees and their families who I would otherwise have few opportunities to meet.  Joy Gilliland did a great job as announcer and game show host, while all the directors proved to be decent chefs.

Troy Mickelsen is recruiting City workers to enroll in the annual Bicycle Commute Challenge as he has for at least the last three years.  Like those who organized the picnic, Troy isn’t receiving any extra compensation for his efforts beyond the satisfaction of doing something positive. 

We have far too many “builders” who work at the City to name them individually.  I receive hundreds of praise coupons a year expressing thanks to employees in every department for acts of service, both to the public and colleagues.  I have also accumulated a bank of true stories I’ve picked up over the past six years about City workers doing extraordinary things to help others.  I tell these stories at the orientation sessions we hold for new employees as a way to illustrate the City’s mission statement.  In the unlikely event someone has forgotten our mission statement, it reads:  “Providing quality public services for a better Albany community.”

I think most employees work to achieve this mission every day without even thinking about it.  I have seen many examples ranging from helping a citizen who looks a little lost at City Hall by directing them to the right office to building a new bed for a child who lost his in a fire. These daily acts of service explain why I believe the City receives strong support from our community.  We will always have critics, and I appreciate the fact that people care enough to point out our failings.  The occasional criticism should not, however, obscure the general goodwill we enjoy.

I want to express my thanks to all who work or volunteer for the City of Albany and help to make it the great organization I believe it to be.  The small acts of courtesy, kindness, and service performed every day help us earn the trust we need to overcome the untruths, distortions, and periodic attacks that inevitably accompany the work we do.

Communicating Via the Web

I have been writing a column or blog post for more than ten years; and, during that time, I have always welcomed responses to my thoughts.  My columns in La Grande appeared in the town’s daily newspaper; so most of the comments I received came in the form of people telling me what they thought about my observations.  The most popular, or at least those that received the most comment, were the ones I wrote while I was in Iraq.

I began writing weekly posts soon after I arrived in Albany.  Former manager Steve Bryant established the tradition some years ago, and I thought continuing the practice would be a good way for people in a larger organization to get to know me.  We started calling the column a blog about three years ago, although the only real change was the addition of a place for people to comment online.  Most of my posts are not very controversial, and I have received relatively few responses over the years.  I have never had to make a decision about what comments should or should not appear until this week.

My brief statement of support for Chief Boyd attracted comments from a former employee who was fired and subsequently convicted of a crime, as well as an anonymous rant.  In the interests of full disclosure, I am including these comments in this posting even though I believe they relate to issues that have been fully and appropriately handled by Chief Boyd and his staff.  Anonymous bloggers or those with nothing to lose have the advantage of saying whatever they want about others, while those of us working in government are constrained by the need to protect the privacy rights of employees.  I can say with complete confidence that a small number of violations of law and/or policies by Police Department personnel in the past year were investigated and acted upon with fairness and competence.

Our City Attorney advises me that creating a forum where public comment is encouraged also creates an obligation to allow any comment to appear.  I do not think a City website is the best place for a forum where defamatory or profane comments could appear on a regular basis; and so I am discontinuing the comment feature on my column.  I continue to welcome comments, however, and ask that they be directed to my e-mail address (wes.hare@cityofalbany.net) or, following the La Grande example, be given to me in person.  The final comment I received on last week’s posting will also be the final comment to appear on this blog.  I believe it speaks for itself.

 Author : Rick Hawley (IP: 97.94.228.125 , 97-94-228-125.dhcp.lncy.or.charter.com)

E-mail : rickdhawley@aol.com

URL    :

Whois  : http://whois.arin.net/rest/ip/97.94.228.125

Comment:

I dont know where to start.  I worked for three chiefs… ed boyd is a manager, not a leader.

Author : Rick Hawley (IP: 97.94.228.125 , 97-94-228-125.dhcp.lncy.or.charter.com)

E-mail : rickdhawley@aol.com

URL    :

Whois  : http://whois.arin.net/rest/ip/97.94.228.125

Comment:

I literally want to go to council, and i will sign my name by a complaint.. I asked Sharon.. I thought a closed meeting would be the best way of going about it…

 Author : Rick Hawley (IP: 97.94.228.125 , 97-94-228-125.dhcp.lncy.or.charter.com)

E-mail : rickdhawley@aol.com

URL    :

Whois  : http://whois.arin.net/rest/ip/97.94.228.125

Comment:

I am not saying negative things about Boyd.  What I want is an auditor to go thru all this… people are literally being beat down at the PD and everyone doesnt want to talk about it.. Dale White.

 Author : Chris (IP: 24.21.124.44 , c-24-21-124-44.hsd1.or.comcast.net)

E-mail : Chris@hushmailing.com

URL    :

Whois  : http://whois.arin.net/rest/ip/24.21.124.44

Comment:

Well, I’ve been witness to and their willingness to lie to and about the very folks they are supposed to be looking out for. It seems most people in my peer group, that the transgressions , going back years, by his staff or at least people in his charge have really diminished the public’s trust in this department. I could list the Officers names if you’d like along with their offenses, but I’ve read the emails between you all and I know that you’re already aware of their names and their behavior.

 This in itself, speaks volumes.

 Author : Sadie Bernt (IP: 10.1.40.24 , 10.1.40.24) E-mail : sadie.bernt@cityofalbany.net

URL    :

Whois  : http://whois.arin.net/rest/ip/10.1.40.24

Comment:

Chief Boyd is an amazing man.  Our city is extremely fortunate to have him directing the Police Department.  While I don’t have the privilege to work directly with him, I am still able to see and hear the good that he does for his department and his community. We are a safer city because of the hard work and sacrifice that Chief Boyd and his fine department provide to the city of Albany.

The Truth As I See It

I have been writing a blog for several years now and feel fairly comfortable expressing my opinions to the small but extremely bright group of people who read it.  I always try, however, to make sure my opinions are backed up by facts and/or sound reasoning.  Sadly, there are too many folks in the blogosphere who are not so careful.

We have one of the finest people I know serving as our police chief.  I know Ed Boyd to be honorable, experienced, capable, and genuinely concerned about the people he works with and the people he works for.  He is, in short, an outstanding person and a great chief of police.  Recently, uninformed bloggers who have been fed half truths and misinformation by a small number of people aggrieved over one of another of the difficult decisions a chief of police has to make, have taken it upon themselves to attack Ed’s character and competence.

I know very few people read these uniformly negative and ignorant blogs; but in the unlikely event misinformation seeps out from these sources, I would encourage anyone who sees or hears it to go talk with Ed.  I would be surprised if any rational person would reach a different conclusion about him or his decisions than I have.