February 2009  

We do not make jokes, we simply watch the LA Times, the Orange County Register and CID/HOA board of directors and report the facts!

From “To Serve and Protect” to Disarm, Intimidate and Ridicule

Posted by: CotoBlogzz | 02/04/2009 9:00 AM


It is all about the culture stupid! - Arrogance, incompetence or stupidity?

When we first interviewed Sheriff Hutchens and just prior to her swearing in ceremony we asked her to define the OCSD’ culture.  She was unable to articulate a response - so we provided a definition for her:   “a deeply embedded form of social control and the social glue that bonds people together and makes them feel part of the organizational experience”.. Observable symbols and signs of an organization’s culture include organizational stories and legends, rituals and ceremonies, language, physical structures and symbols.”

So, when the Orange County Sheriff ’s Department Director of Public & Community Relations mocks a concerned citizen asking if he is Elton John, what lesson do you think that person learned in PR school?  What does that tell you about the department’s culture? How much credibility does this person now have with the community he is supposed to establish relations with?

When Assistant Sheriff Mike Hillmann, a former LAPD deputy chief makes fun of Orange County supervisor  Janet Nguyen syaing:  “I hope Janet has a pet she can call a friend.”" And “We are locked in mortal battle. … It is ugly. We will survive however”.  These statements can be taken as innocent, albeit misguided attempts by a senior manager trying to relate to card-carrying union members - ultimately with more power than he can yield.  When viewed using the culture prism however, the question that should come up is, “if this is what the say and do for show, what will they do for dough?

Responding to criticism to her “jail-reform-not-really-reform” recommendations, Sheriff Hutchens said that:  “The grand jury investigation brought to light some unprofessional practices that cannot be defended. None of the command staff responsible for those practices remain with the Sheriff’s Department. Jail commanders have been rotated and supervision within the jails has improved.”  Yet one more indication that she does not fully understand  how a culture is a deeply embedded form of social control and the social glue that bonds people together.  That is, you do no cure cancer by simply removing the visible tumor, but have to cut very, very deep.

Similarly, when Assistant Sheriff Mike Hillmann’s offers an apology to the board stating that  “My personal comments were intended to provide relief in a long and complex meeting,”  and .” I want to assure the board that I have the utmost respect for their position.” Also indicates he is clueless about the impact his language has not only on the department, but “I have the utmost respect” statement is risible - you do not spit on a person and then tell that person how much you respect her.

Sheriff’s spokesman John McDonald’s argument  that ” the transcripts show that the majority of the e-mails were appropriate, work-related messages” is similar to Senator Tom Daschle’s argument of  30 years of public service,  now to be remembered by a single IRS fau pax.

Given the Sheriff  defense of her  indefensible position on jail reform stated unequivocably that  none of the command staff responsible for unprofessional practices associated with the jail system remain with the Sheriff’s Department but  now states that,  “I do not condone comments that were made on the e-mails, and I have admonished those that participated in . . . unprofessional conduct,” sends a very  loud message to the department:  continue to do as you wish, the worse case scenario is that you will be admonished for unprofessional conduct. 

 

Comments.

 

  

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