Pensacola, Florida
Friday October 31st 2014

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Outtakes 10/25/12

Public Hanging Still Exists Job evaluations are opportunities for managers to help employees improve their work performances. Good ones are objective. They should be based on measurable results and weighted so the employee knows how to prioritize their work.

With the help of the Studer Group, the Greater Pensacola Chamber set up such a system for Jim Hizer, the chamber’s CEO. His performance is measured based on such factors as job creation, membership growth and membership and employee satisfaction.

The chamber board is given quarterly updates on his performance and an annual report is reviewed at the end of the fiscal year.

Such a system should have been in place for the county administrator for Escambia County. It would have made the recent public evaluation of Randy Oliver more objective and more in the best interest of the citizens of Escambia County.

Instead we got a neurotic, subjective process that was more of a public hanging than a job evaluation.  The commissioners did go through the motions of scoring Oliver on a scale of one to five on his performance in various areas, such as leadership, budget, intergovernmental relations and economic development.

However, four commissioners—Wilson Robertson chose not to give any numerical ratings—failed to provide a coherent picture for Oliver and the citizens of his job performance.  Marie Young gave him all fives. Gene Valentino gave the county administrator nearly all ones and twos.

When asked about Oliver’s performance on intergovernmental relations, the commissioners gave five different replies. Robertson wrote Oliver did “fairly well.” Grover Robinson thought that he could have worked more on that area and gave Oliver a 3.5.  Kevin White wrote that other communities had complained about lack of communication. Valentino asserted Oliver had no relationship with other communities.

So it was none, some, could be better, fairly well and excellent – which was it?

There was no way for Randy Oliver, or the public, to gain a consistent or meaningful view of his tenure as county administrator. When he spoke at his “execution,” Oliver demonstrated how he had saved the taxpayers millions in his first two years as county administrator.

Sadly, the evaluation forms and his presentation were merely “ponies and balloons” to provide three commissioners cover for their real intention of the public evaluation—Oliver’s termination.

The not-too-subtle message of the public evaluation was kiss our butts or we will have your head.  I guess the only thing for which Oliver can be thankful is he isn’t Pensacola City Council executive.

I predict that evaluation will be a humdinger.