Photo: Yelm Community Blog
– Yelm’s City Hall “Brain-Drain” continues unabated:
Last week in the Nisqually Valley News and on this Blog, I outlined the “brain-drain” now occurring in key positions throughout this city. As anyone in business management knows, the time and expense to replace any personnel is enormous, in addition to the 6 months to a year required to get replacements fully “up-to-speed” in their new positions.
Yesterday, June 5th, marked fully one year since former City Administrator Shelly Badger gave notice of her intent to resign as of September 1st, 2015. Only last month had Mr. Harding finally requested the Yelm City Council to approve a request for a professional recruiting firm to seek out her replacement, after none suitable were supposedly found in the job posting. Additionally, a second Department Head, Ryan Johnstone gave notice of his impending departure as Director of Public Works (and wearing a 2nd hat as interim Sewer Manager). And long-time Yelm Officer Don Moody left in a promotion to Tenino’s Police Chief.
The Blog covered previously the upcoming retirement of Human Resources Manager Janine Schlempf this October and now has learned through Councilor Molly Carmody’s Facebook post that Building Official Gary Carlson will be retiring in September. Their jobs have yet to be posted seeking replacements, which should have been done long ago, as their retirements have been long known.
Along with Badger, Yelm will have lost a combined talent pool of over 100 years of experience and service to this community, a true “brain-drain” that will not be replaced for quite some time.
– Councilor Molly Carmody stated on her FB page:
“We still have no Sewer Manager; we have no permanent City Administrator, and all three departments are critically short-staffed. Our Police officers patrol the streets with no partners or backup, exposing themselves to danger on every call. Most staff members are doing at least two jobs, if not three.
The Sewer and its Water Reclamation Plant are dangerously outdated; we’re having a hard time replacing broken and aging parts. When high season hits for water demand this summer, we may face a catastrophic failure of the entire system. With no Sewer Manager and no Public Works Director, we have no one to handle a crisis like this.
The City has failed in its duty to you. Why are you paying taxes into a broken system? I am here to represent you, but I cannot do so without your voices. Get mad. Go to City Hall and file complaints. Come to City Council meetings and speak your piece. Write letters to the editor of the Nisqually Valley News. Demand that YOUR city do its duty and work for you.”
– Editor’s note:
Then Mayor Pro-tem Ron Harding and as mayor, did everything to circumnavigate the public’s protestations about the city ramrodding a Super Wal-Mart here, even violating the city’s own Traffic Mitigation Plan for Wal-Mart in issuing them a permit to build anyway, without the required By-pass funded to be in-place within 6 years of opening to mitigate their traffic. Ironically, Wal-Mart is now in the news for their egregious labor practices, which coincides with labor issues here, as Yelm keeps losing valuable staff and many positions are not authorized to be filled.
Read more of “The Women Who Are Taking on Walmart”
– Bottom Line:
As I stated here last week:
Mayor Harding’s legacy will be in loving and acquiring “things” and using his “people,” rather than investing in them, the soul of a community and why so many talented staff are fleeing Yelm. That’s why former Mayor Kathy Wolf [deceased] and her son, departing Yelm Schools Superintendent Andy Wolf, are so beloved — because they understood that “people come first.”