By editorial board • 

Public servants not paid for private drama

Separate soap operas at Newberg City Hall and the Yamhill County Housing Authority have one element in common. Both are so difficult to follow, and feature so many aggravated characters, that most viewers would probably rather flip through the channels to see what else is on.

The problem is, it’s all the same show these days, in the main. They each seem to feature bickering public workers who spend so much time obsessed with personal melodramas that they forget they have jobs to do.

The Housing Authority is supposed to help provide housing for people struggling for basic shelter. One would hope staff members cared more about those people’s problems than they did about the mud being slung in their version of inside baseball.

Likewise, Newberg city officials are supposed to provide local residents with planning, transportation, law enforcement and other essential municipal services. Yet, it’s hard to imagine some of them having time for such things.

From the outside looking in at least, it appears they devote most of their work day to in-fighting and palace intrigue.

Despite the melodrama playing out in the public sphere, it’s not actually quite that bad, as neither the city nor the housing authority has ground to a halt.

Good people continue to do good work on a daily basis to keep the machinery of government chugging along, no matter how much it may sputter in the process. Nonetheless, the view many key players choose to present to the people they serve is disheartening.

It’s not just these two entities, either. The problem is pandemic.

Workplace scandal, skulduggery and general imbecility is drearily commonplace. Government just happens to be more visible, making government intrigue a much more public spectacle.

People who work in such a fishbowl should keep that in mind. Charged with doing the public’s work under the public’s scrutiny, they should feel a particular responsibility to act like grown-ups.

HR directors shouldn’t have to hold employee seminars on how to not to act foolish in the workplace. It is mind-blowing that adults need to be briefed on basic social norms in order to muster enough manners to get through an eight-hour workday.

Yes, the circumstances at Newberg and the Housing Authority are complex and difficult. So are most circumstances in most human interactions.

They cannot simply be fixed by telling the combatants to grow up and do their jobs. However, locally, nationally and internationally all three, there’s no better place to start.

Comments

gregtompkins

“ HR directors shouldn’t have to hold employee seminars on how to not to act foolish in the workplace.”

No, but someone needs to hold a seminar on how to write local stories in the newspaper!

Don Dix

Soap operas, drama queens, spoiled brats -- fully funded and insured -- your tax dollars at work.



Joel

Didn't read the article, but a huge AMEN to the title!

Megmaa

Drama at the Housing Authority didn't just start...................maybe a new board?