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Thursday, August 25, 2011

City says management coach wasn't for McCoy

We've now been told by the Portland transportation bureau that the Portland State University "management coach" whom it hired in September 2009 was not brought in to "coach" Ellis McCoy, the city parking meter manager who is now under FBI investigation. Maureen Yandle, assistant to transportation director Tom Miller, revealed this to us in an e-mail exchange about a public records request that we still have pending for the work product under the "coaching" contract. Yandle wrote: "In relationship to management coaching for Ellis McCoy since March 2009, there was no such contract. A management coaching agreement with PSU was entered into on September 1, 2009 for another staff person at Maintenance Operations." We hadn't mentioned McCoy in our records request, and Yandle's comment didn't respond to that request, but it's noteworthy nonetheless.

So who could the other "coached leader" be, and why did he or she need help? Here's the current Maintenance Operations organizational chart -- there are lots of names on there to pick from. One of them is Randy Johnson, who was designated as the project manager of the "coaching" contract. Does that rule him out? And of course, other managers have come and gone since the fall of 2009.

Assuming Yandle's telling us the truth -- and we have no reason to doubt it -- that brings us back to March 2009, when the transportation bureau first announced that it was looking for a "management coach." We blogged about that solicitation here. At that time, a senior official in the bureau told us that the intended recipient of the "coaching" was an unhappy male manager, a member of a racial minority group, who had recently threatened to sue the bureau for racial discrimination. To us, that meant, and still does mean, McCoy, whose legal threat of that very nature was publicly known at the time. Perhaps we were being misled back then, or perhaps we misunderstood. Maybe the bureau just changed its mind about the "coach" for this unhappy manager after starting a public search for one in March.

But unless Yandle is being coy with us now, apparently the city never hired a "coach" for McCoy. When we asked a while back for all "management coaching" contracts that the bureau had entered into since March 15, 2009, all we got was the Portland State contract. We'll keep poking around to see what more about the "coaching" we can find out.

Meanwhile, our question of yesterday about how long McCoy will be paid to do no work at all was embarrassingly upstaged by this story, about all the vacation time the guy has been getting all along, even before armed federal agents raided his home and office:

McCoy, now on paid administrative leave while federal officials conduct a corruption investigation, received an average of three days' bonus leave every year since 1996. This year, officials awarded him five days off with pay. He got the same incentive in 2010 and four days in 2009.

That comes on top of McCoy's regular vacation time -- 4 1/2 weeks a year.

That guy gets four and a half weeks a year, and then an extra week? No wonder he gets himself in trouble -- he's got way too much free time on his hands.

Meanwhile, we read that it was the city ombudsman, Michael Mills, who originally called the FBI in to look at the city's parking meter operation. The ombudsman had investigated and presented findings to then-transportation director Sue Keil, and after waiting in vain for her to take some action, he reportedly felt compelled to turn his evidence over to law enforcement.

But that was three years ago, and all that time the feds didn't seem any more interested than Keil did.

Comments (5)

So when do we get the real story on why no one in CoP wanted to mess with McCoy?

It seems obvious they knew they had a problem for a long time they were furiously trying to bury until those pesky FBI guys got involved. Yet everyone in CoP couldn't say YES fast enough to his bad ideas.

Jack, I think the vagarious nature of the words "hiring" and "coaching" by Yandle and the department is the slippery slope where labeling as "lying" will get them off the hook, they think.

The "hiring" could be diluted to having a contract with PSU to "monitor" or "have oversight" of employee conflict issues. "Coaching" could be explained as "assisting" or "reviewing" employee conflict resolutions. And both of these could be explained as "not specific" to any individual employee because even directing the efforts to just one employee could be "discrimination".

McCoy's vacation time, his holiday times and comp. time for saying he attended an evening meeting so he gets a full comp day off, plus the convenient extending a Friday or Monday off to make a three day weekend; all this makes easily for seven to eight weeks off-TWO MONTHS. This is common in CoP's management world.

Re: "The ombudsman had investigated and presented findings to then-transportation director Sue Keil, and after waiting in vain for her to take some action, he reportedly felt compelled to turn his evidence over to law enforcement."

Not the same Sue Keil whom Commissioner Nick Fish hired immediately after her retirement from PBOT to serve as Interim Director of Portland Parks & Recreation?

Could it be that Commissioner Nick Fish intends for her to impose her questionable managerial style upon the sorry organizational climate of PP&R?

Standard procedure for top transportation management to get 2 extra weeks per year. Check the records and see who got it over the last 10 years. It does not trickle down very far except for the "chosen ones". Be interesting for someone to take the transportation org chart and look at the nepotism.

All city employees earn the same amount of vacation leave. The rate of accrual goes up based on length of service. Employees that are management, and not in a union are not eligible for overtime. Up to 80 hours of vacation time can be awarded to compensate for extra time put in during the year.

The manager can award all or part of the 80 hours. This is policy for all non represented FLSA exempt employees.

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