May 24, 2001

friction off the water

morning 2001-05-24 friction.html
friction off the water

The Continuing Saga:

Two days ago, DI sent out an email to all the coaches saying that we have a new policy: any damage to the boats caused by a coach’s negligence would be the fiscal responsibility of that coach. Now, that’s a broad field; if an experienced cox runs a boat into a wall while I’m on a launch working with another boat nearby, am I negligentfor not watching more closely? It’s all in the interpretation. Several other coaches sent DI some very well-thought-out posts on why policies should be set at a coaches’ meeting instead of just by him and how no other programs in our collective experience have such a policy.

T and I took a different tack. We sent a note saying, basically, "If this is the policy, we quit". We cc’d it not only to all of the coaches, but also to DI’s boss at the city; after all, she signs our timesheets. (I’ll call her Unknown Legend, after the great Neil Young song about a blond woman who rides a Harley.) Technically, we work for her, not DI, so she needed to know this. As we had suspected, she knew nothing of the matter, and was a bit upset when she found out. This is, after all, a city program. Policies are set at the city level, not by individuals. She sent a message saying that there was no such policy; cases of gross negligence, such as someone wrecking a launch while drunk, would be dealt with individually, by the appropriate departments, police or whatever.

Then DIckhead sent out a message saying that he "never intended to insenuate (sic) that there was a NEW policy regarding damaged equipment" and that he was only trying to clarify existing policy. Exercise for the class: read previous paragraph to determine why this is bullshit. Also, I reread his original email, and it does, indeed, imply that he was setting a new policy.

Worse, he sent a message to me and T, saying that he was disturbed that we had gone directly to Unknown Legend, that he had done nothing to merit such disrespect, and that he had always treated us with honor and integrity, and expected the same back, but won’t again. Whew. That outraged-virgin act tipped me over the edge. I replied in the iciest, most utterly correct tone I could muster. I cited sentence and paragraph where his emails contradicted city policy, informed him that we had cc’d Unknown Legend not to get him in trouble but because she had a need-to-know, and that anyway, why would any of this be secret from the city? I told him we’d gotten this crap from him so often that we no longer believed any information he gave us, and that I had many specific examples of that (I do, too). And finally, I came out with what I’d suppressed (to his face) and complained about (here): that his moodiness and execrable planning skills have made both rowing and coach less enjoyable for us and others, and that they contributed to the lack of turnout we’ve been seeing lately. More and more people have dropped out or only showed up occasionally, and he is a prime reason, though I am quite sure he still hasn’t realized that. The normally-unflappable T also sent a message, milder in tone, but stating that his recent tendency to believe the worst of everyone "is causing serious problems".

I would have preferred to do this face to face, in some ways, but this is more effective for me. In person, DIckhead just works himself into a lather, starts shouting, and won’t hear anything I say; also, it’s much harder for me to cite specific instances without past emails and other writings in front of me. DI probably won’t read any of this until today. It may not help; people who are incapable of using logic are less likely to be flattened by it than to simply deny it proves anything. But at least I’ve given him the feedback he always says he wants. I may get my head ripped off and handed to me at tomorrow’s practice.

Posted by dichroic at May 24, 2001 08:31 AM
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