After six years of city hall activism for improved bike and pedestrian facilities in Tacoma, what gripes me most about the looming layoffs? The process – about which I admittedly know very little – whereby employees with perhaps a year or even 10 years seniority are able to push out highly qualified, meritorious and very specialized junior personnel.
In my humble opinion and with all due respect, this is not the sort of system that will enable our municipality take a step up. Tacoma can’t hope to compete on a national or even a regional basis for businesses looking to relocate if we allow our city to manage its employees in such a fashion.
Several years ago, a former Tacoma employee opined to me that all local government has a way of grinding good people into dust. At the time, it was the speed of government, or rather its lack, that did the grinding. Indeed, local government is a slow process.
Now, however, it’s about to be an antiquated good ol’ boy/girl network that will grind up and spit out many talented folks our community sorely needs. Tacoma desperately needs a merit-based employee evaluation system that, when reductions-in-force occur, retains the most qualified for a given responsibility, not the most senior.