Saturday, March 3, 2007

A Citizen (Me) Asks the Most Basic of Questions- Just What DOES the CCBOE Consider Its Duties To Its Bosses - "We The People"

Just as in any regular organization, the owners, funders/stockholders/stakeholders need to be able to monitor, to make sure their agents doing the best they can for the owners - not themselves.
In government, the notion of who are the owners and who are their agents seems to get too easily switched around, so even the owners - we the citizens, the funders whose dollars get used to exact more from us - "forget" and forfeit.

At the CCBOE, as apparently at many boards of elections nationwide, citizen discussions, inquiries, and recommendations based on proven facts (like the complete impropriety of any current electronic election equipment for use in any fair, transparent election; and the completely unethical behavior of Diebold and of some of the CCBOE's current and former staff)- rarely gets anyone anywhere. The board just often chooses carefully what to look at and and what to ignore, and/or makes stuff up for the public as they go along.

Possibly more productively, and certainly more essentially, it seems incumbent that all citizens at base, keep reminding our agencies of just who are the owners of government, and who are the agents; and to ascertain exactly what they think are their duties and responsibilities to us - so we can help them "adjust their perceptions" as necessary, just as any good employer does with its employees.

One of the ongoing, at first "crazymaking" to citizens, problems at the Cuyahoga board, is that it remains unclear and difficult to find who is willing to take responsibility for what (it bounces, and often rolls downhill quickly); to find that person assigned capable of, and actually doing their job; to also find some capable back-up assigned and active for when the first one is not ("on vacation, too busy, out sick" are often heard); and to find someone willing to help straighten out the ongoing, confusing voids to the citizens. The board has not. In fact, as the main delegators and ultimate deciders, it's often shocking to watch the arrogance coupled with how little they know about Cuyahoga's elections. The director and deputy over the past few years have been integral parts of the problem, not the solutions.

Luckily, Platten, the new Interim Director, sees the breadth of the tasks before her, the problems, and the need for agency-wide policies and procedures. She in her now-previous HR and Administrative position, often stepped in to fill all kinds of other holes left by other departments and the director and board.

But right now, under the past years' many "reorganizations" both "strategized" and "forced" this huge county's elections are running on less than 80 people, plus hundreds of almost minimum wage, non-benefited temps, often politically chosen. Many try and work hard. Others, of course, are either not capable, or don't really care about the mission of fair, transparent, accurate elections.

Via the board, now almost every major CCBOE department is running on an "acting/interim" manager - from Ballot handling, to Candidate and Voter Services, and now, probably HR and Administration. While these too, are often really good people, trying really hard, they are usually not the ones who would have been chosen, had someone actually looked for the best qualified for the job, rather than just again, pulling someone from one position, to fill a newly vacated other position, then leaving them there.

I'll let you know if I get the board's idea of what their duties and responsibilities are to us. Meanwhile, I think it's important that we all continue reminding our agents of who government's, thus elections' owners really are. I know that's really getting back to foundational basics. But given the state of our national and local elections, it's apparent that's exactly where we need to start.

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