Archive for April, 2010

Do Something!

Posted by on Saturday, 17 April, 2010

April 30, 2008

Dear Steve,

How are you?  I am sorry to impose on our relationship but things are a mess.  I trust that you will at least listen and not share my words with your colleagues on the board.

We’ve been living under the threat of a man bent on destroying MWs career for over a year now.  The Organization has been her life’s work.  She is strong enough to withstand his baseless attacks and determined never to give in, however, KSB’s attacks are seriously affecting MW s health and our family life–as in our kids.  MW and I just had words over whether we should spend money on mosquito control for our property.  I found myself having to remind her that we cannot spend any unnecessary money because there’s a man, at this very moment, plotting to destroy her career.

I serve on many boards and committees now and in fact am an elected official in my town  and, therefore, have first hand knowledge of board dynamics.  Bullies bully to the extent that their peers allow.  Please help.  I know you are only one voice on that board but can you organize SOMETHING to stop this guy?

-PI

Not Quite Yet

Posted by on Saturday, 17 April, 2010

MW attended a board of directors meeting  shortly after the last post was written. We both expected KSB to have enough votes fire MW. For some reason, the board chose not to and, instead appointed a “Home Office” committee that was allegedly tasked with defining MW’s role and authority. There was an executive session at the end of the meeting.  We have come to believe this was the beginning of the Board’s complicity in KSB’s efforts to fire MW.

Farewell

Posted by on Friday, 16 April, 2010

February 12, 2008

Dear Steve,

Thank you for supporting MW over the years and, in particular, for your help in these last few months.  They’ve been extremely difficult on MW and our family.  The Committee’s findings seem to have emboldened KSB and with his recent requests for information, e.g., MW’s “contract,” it seems clear that he’s after MW’s job.

It was helpful to her to know you were there.  Also thank you for the many hours of fellowship over the last 21 years.  Given the recent document requests and the events of the last year, we both know what’s in store for MW next week.  At this point, I don’t have much faith that she’s got enough support to prevent the attack from occurring or to survive it.  I probably shouldn’t be writing this. MW is away for the weekend and I’m feeling melancholy and nostalgic.  Please do not share this note with anyone. The last time I miscalculated a friendship on the Board, it ended up in an epic mess–though what can be worse than getting fired after 21 years of fine and dedicated service?  We probably won’t see each other any more.  I really will miss you.

Best Wishes,

PI

Please Help

Posted by on Friday, 16 April, 2010

February 7, 2008

Dear Steve,

I fear I’m imposing on our friendship but you’ve been a close friend and ally of MW’s  for many years.  And for my part, I am very fond of you and believe you to be a kind and caring man with a strong moral center, a clear sense of justice, and the ability to affect situations in which you take an interest.

As you know, KSB has been bullying MW unmercifully and went as far as menacing and battering her after a board meeting last summer.  As you also know, MW finally couldn’t take his abuse any longer and finally shared the experience with the board.

KSB’s response was to deny any wrong doing and appoint a committee to investigate MW’s complaint. I believe that you have received a copy of the committee’s findings and are aware of the “gag” imposed by KSB, who despite being the accused, is in complete control of the investigation.  You know that the committee has chosen to believe KSB’s version of the story and punish MW by convening a home office committee to tell how to do her job.

Since this started MW’s health and well-being have steadily declined, which has in turn affected our family, particularly our teenaged daughter.  Though we are, of course, discrete when discussing this issue, she is well aware that a man threatened and assaulted her mother at a meeting, that the same man continues to torment her, that her mother fears for her job, and that, with the exception of you, GG, and long time friend FLF, her colleagues have done nothing to help.  ODW is a very sensitive and empathetic person.  Her sleep and school work are starting to suffer.  Our son is in elementary school.  HHW’s not clear on the details but knows “KSB”  is picking on mommy.  And he too showing signs of stress.

It’s not my intention to dump the responsibility for this on you. MW is a wise and capable executive who has worked with some 13 presidents over the last 21 years.  So it’s easy to assume that she’ll survive KSB as well.  However, as you’ve learned from the report there are underlying issues in her history that handicap her ability to fight on this particular battleground and that make KSB’s behavior acutely damaging.  She’s loth to ask for help but she needs it.

The cards are stacked against her.  KSB appointed the members of the investigative committee. The members recognize themselves in their documents as “serving the president,” not the organization.  Knowing human nature as we do, acting impartially in these circumstances is a pretty tall order even for the most fair minded individuals.

The investigative process he set up is corrupt on nearly every level.  First and foremost, it is inappropriate for the accused perpetrator of a crime to choose his inquisitors and then have control over when and if the results can be released.

Moreover, he stacked the deck.  They were all men.  Two are past-presidents.  One is president-elect.  In his blog, PBD expresses admiration for KSB. He also speaks very flippantly about workplace bullying elsewhere in his blog.  FWF and his wife socialize with KSB and his wife.  KSB has set himself up as gate keeper of the information.  He threatened to sue TGG for libel (or slander, I never get these two straight).  KSB is known to jealously guard his reputation and has gone as far a suing the a southwestern state Supreme Court in 1998.  So this is a real threat.  He is also a former president of a large Washington DC based non-profit and advocacy organization. and is therefore situated as powerful figure who is better kept as an ally than an enemy.

In the investigative arena, three people witnessed the assault. Two unequivocally supported MW’s accusations.  The third, while equivocal, does not deny that the interchange was unpleasant. The inquisition committee characterized her recollection of the event as “awkward.” PC never explained why she waited in the board room after the meeting (or the committee didn’t report her reasons) and then left immediately after it was apparent that MW was safe.  There is no mention that (1) that KSB’s back was to her so that she could not see his facial expressions, (2) that she spent the entire time digging through her belongings and therefore was not explicitly looking at the altercations, (3) that she is blind in one eye. and (4) that she later acknowledged the situation by email to MW.

And last, KSB’s actions (were and) continue to be inimical to the organization’s long term well being.  He’s created an atmosphere in which bullying and assault are tolerated.  He has put his own personal agenda over the interest of the organization, E.g., committing the organization  to spend astronomical amounts of money on a project it cannot afford and for which the proceeds go, in part, to a friend’s nee’re do well son. And in bullying and abusing the organization’s Chief Executive Officer he is wilfully damaging the organization’s most valuable asset.

In trying to come to grips with this situation, I fell back on my inner nerd and have been researching workplace bullying.  I’m including a particularly insightful academic paper on the subject.  The text is very instructive and it would serve the organization well to learn its lessons.

I don’t know what else to do to help except to ask for help on MW’s behalf.  As a victim of a violent crime and systematic abuse, she feel powerless to make a change.  And the investigative committee has underscored this with their findings.

And understand that I am taking a tremendous risk.  If she finds out I did this or if it should become known to KSB and she loses her job, I will very likely end up with my bags on the doorstep.

-PI