Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Membership and SDPOA Information

I have been away from the SDPOA for over 2 ½ years now and I still get daily questions and calls from members wanting to know what is going on and asking what the POA is doing. It amazes me when I explain I am no longer on the Board and have as much information as they do; the incredulous looks or comments I get. The follow up is always; "Yes, but you still have the inside information." When I stop laughing the answer is always the same, "Nope; I'm not in those loops any longer."

There are glass enclosed bulletin boards in every station; two at Headquarters (Watch Commander's Office and Outside Cafeteria) and one outside the front door of the POA. With the exception of the enclosure at the POA, the information in these enclosures is at best spotty. I make it a point whenever I am in a station to check out the POA Bulletin Boards. It is no wonder there is constant complaining regarding the lack of information coming out of the POA. Let's take the bulletin board I pass every day at the entry to the cafeteria in Headquarters. The latest information inside the enclosure was over a year old. (When pointed out to Marvel, he removed everything inside) Today the bulletin board is a piece of cork with nothing attached to it and has been in this state for almost two months now. The bulletin board at the Watch Commanders office is at times a clutter of copied blog postings and a miss-mash of news articles posted by pissed off people (many taped to the outside of the enclosure).

I completely understand the frustration and difficulty of getting information out. I sat in that hot seat and struggled to find ways to force feed members information during my tenure. I was involved in the starting of the POA Blog as a tool to convey information and exchange ideas. Brian Marvil and Jeff Jordan do a good job of putting information out and answering rumors and questions. The rants of Woodie Dubois are just that and do not have the intended affect I am sure he is trying to convey. I learned over the years and it was re-enforced when I started this Blog; keeping it professional and eliminating the swearing allows readers to take you serious and view your information in a better light. Woodie would serve the membership to find creative ways to put forth his message without the use of profanity and rants that reflect poorly on himself and the people he was elected to represent. Conveying anger and frustration can be done without the use of profanity. I have to remind myself of this as I rant here; so I get it.

The BLOG is a great tool for getting information out. It requires constant vigilance and input. A BLOG can be a double edged sword. Too much information when trying to negotiate a deal with the City allows the other side to counter proposals and prepare defenses for items placed on the table. Lack of information creates a sense of nothing being done and an aura of secrecy. The balance is like walking on a tight rope at 100 feet of the ground. The other problem is who reads the BLOG. While many members of the POA are enrolled and capable of accessing the BLOG; how many are accessing it on a regular basis? It appears from looking at the BLOG, a handful of members use the BLOG on a regular basis. That should be an indication to the Board the BLOG cannot be the only avenue of information delivery.

Finding a balance of delivery tools and mediums is difficult. Members of the POA want current, accurate, up to date information. The rub comes in how to meet this desire. I said earlier I found it difficult to "force feed" information to the members. This task is made harder when members start rumors or spin information they heard by adding or taking away some of the information either consciously or not. Obviously I did not do a good enough job when I was there and the result was being voted out of office. So obviously, I don't have all the answers. What I do know is the Board today is failing in their delivery of current, accurate and up to date information.

The membership needs to step to the plate and accept some of this responsibility. When only a handful of members attend membership meetings; participate in the Blog, attend monthly Board meetings, as well as demand a more rapid reply to daily events; nothing will change. Being complacent and waiting for information to come to you only adds to the problem. Seek out and ask for the information you need or want. You owe it to yourself to be informed. Just because it's always been like this; does not mean it is the way it should be. Seek, ask, digest, provide information and then get involved. We will all be better for it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What is the POA doing? I stood in disbelief the other day when I heard a detective ask Mark Sullivan a question on the elevator at HQ about the action the POA was going to take. Mark's reply was "We've told you what we are doing. If you haven't been paying attention, I don't have time to repeat it." The door opened and Mark left the elevator. The door closed and everyone just stood there looking at each other. If I had not seen and heard it, I would not have believed it.