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8 IMPERSONAL PLAYERS

Dr. Vincent Arnold is the Executive Director of the Pine Ridge Board of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. He finally has found time to catch up on his correspondence and to write a few notes to several of his associates. He prefers putting everything in writing for the record. For him, this is much better than talking with people directly and a good way to avoid those give-and-take discussions that sometimes are more like a free-for-all. It keeps things neat and orderly and allows for little variation from his view of how things should be. He is a believer in being precise and keeping everything under control.

TO: Jack

FROM: Vincent Arnold, Ph.D., Executive Director

RE: Your most recent correspondence

As a manager, I expect you to follow the system's policies and procedures completely and consistently. Based on your most recent report, I find you to be out of compliance with those policies and procedures.

The problems with the most recent version of the policies and procedures not withstanding, I expect you to do what is necessary to bring your unit into compliance. Your belief that your unit has some differences from other units may have some validity. Nevertheless, it is your responsibility to be in compliance, regardless of what you may believe to be special circumstances. To make exceptions would serve only to undermine the efficiency and success of the system.

TO: Ronda

FROM: Vincent Arnold, Ph.D., Executive Director

RE: Your most recent correspondence

Because of my busy schedule, it will not be possible for me to meet with you and your group on the topic referenced in your correspondence at the time you suggested. I understand how important you believe this issue to be. I will have fifteen minutes to discuss it with you at 7:00 Thursday morning. Please have your comments organized so we may thoroughly cover the topic within the time allotted.

Specifically, two points will require complete clarification: (1) What role or part do you expect me to fill in the process? As Chief Executive Officer, I look to my assistants for guidance about these types of irregular involvements. (2) Your reference to "special needs" of your clients and what you call their "unique interests" are not at issue. These issues may be of clinical importance but are not matters of specific interest to administration. This is a business and must be operated as such. Special consideration, if it is to be given, must be managed at a client/therapist level. The primary responsibility of the MH&MR system is to be in complete compliance with the requirements of outside regulatory entities.

Please plan to address these points when we meet on Thursday.

TO: Staff Support Committee

FROM: Vincent Arnold, Ph.D., Executive Director

RE: Your most recent correspondence

I realize "morale" is always an area of complaint from the staff. Based on my experience, this is a personnel variable that fluctuates over time. In this instance, it is a product of necessary system changes and needs simply to be properly managed. Although it is important to take this into consideration, it may not interfere with the smooth and productive operation of the system. I have evaluated the current problem and believe it reflects the problems noted elsewhere with the managers. Also, many staff seem to be selfishly putting their feelings and perceptions on a par with or above the goals and interests of the system. The need is for all involved to put the problem into proper perspective and do what is necessary to accomplish the mutual objectives.

Please feel free to query me at any time about matters of concern to the committee.

TO: Malinda

FROM: Vincent Arnold, Ph.D., Executive Director

RE: Your most recent correspondence

This is to acknowledge your receipt of the Psychologist-of- the-Year award from the Psychological Association. This will be duly noted in your personnel record.

TO: James

FROM: Vincent Arnold, Ph.D., Executive Director

RE: Your most recent correspondence

Your request to have the policies waived in your case must be rejected. It is not good practice to make exceptions or give individuals special consideration. Although your request may seem reasonable from your perspective, it is not a concession that could be evenly applied to all employees.

Your argument that your years of experience with the MH&MR system should entitle you to special consideration in this instance is simply a request for favoritism. I am shocked you would attempt to impose on my position in that way.

I wish you success in developing a more satisfactory solution to your personal problem.

TO: Norma

FROM: Vincent Arnold, Ph.D., Executive Director

RE: Your most recent correspondence

Your correspondence was problematic on several accounts. First, the abrupt and threatening approach was inconsistent with the expectations and practices within the MH&MR system. Your lack of professionalism is unacceptable. A request must be stated as such and not put in the form of an order. I expect all employees regardless of rank or position to follow common rules of courtesy.

Second, your problems with the system computers are not of concern to me. I expect the data to be available on demand and expect you to do what is necessary to follow this policy. It goes without saying this must be done within the budget for your department.

Finally, your request for relaxation of the time and other expectations may not be considered. You seem not to understand the complex nature of the system and the demands placed on it. Relaxing one area has implications for the entire system. Each person must do his part as laid out in the ongoing planning process.

TO: Randy

FROM: Vincent Arnold, Ph.D., Executive Director

RE: Your most recent correspondence

As I previously communicated to you, the services of your department are unsatisfactory. Detailed explanations are not necessary. It is sufficient to inform you the services in question were transferred to the Emergency Service. This action is in the best interest of the MH&MR system. Further agitation on your part on this issue or persistent questioning of the decision will be counterproductive.

You will be well-advised to attend to the remaining services in your department. Be sure your staff is fully complying with all rules and regulations applicable to your operation. Smooth and effective functioning are the only issues of concern to you and your staff.

One implication of your correspondence warrants a specific comment. You state, by implication, the MH&MR Board and I deal with some programs, services, and people differently than others. We are proud of our record of evenhandedness and treating all programs, services, and people alike. You may do well to follow the model being set for you.

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Please send comments or questions to Gary A. Crow, Ph.D. GAC@GaryCrow.net