We commend Sunbury Administrator Jody Ocker for speaking out about what she describes as an unprofessional, ineffective, unproductive, inappropriate and demeaning climate within the city’s administrative offices.
During a City Council meeting on Monday evening, Ocker, who has been employed by the city for nearly two years, said she was “not the girl you hired for the front office to just do whatever I’m told,” and announced that she will be leaving the position on Jan. 13, but will stay on longer if she is needed to train her successor.
“I don’t appreciate being undermined, or shouted at in person, or ranted about behind my back,” Ocker told council members Monday evening.
“One councilman claims to not be a micromanager, yet micromanages what I’m doing by finding fault and making judgments without speaking to me directly, giving me a chance to explain or correct if necessary.
“Another ghosts me if ever there is a difference of opinion or conflict or just anything to be avoided.
“This is poor behavior in any organization, unbecoming to anyone in a leadership position and counterproductive operationally.”
The city administrator also pointed to inefficiencies within the city government.
“The municipal organization itself was stove-piped with each department acting independently under the department head. I observed a lack of cooperation/collaboration across departments, antiquated management styles, lack of leadership, personal grudges, low productivity and very little data to drive sound decisions.
“To continue in the old ways of ‘how we have always done it for five decades’ will result in wasted money and resources across the board.”
But perhaps the most disturbing thing she told elected council members was that she has been addressed in the office setting as “kid” or “dear.”
Ocker concluded, “If the councilmen are serious in their commitment to being good stewards of taxpayer money, much change is needed.”
Council members did not immediately respond to the comments, other than to wish her well.
However, elected officials represent the taxpayers, who do have an interest in, and the right to know what’s happening inside their public offices.
Sunbury City Council members and Mayor Kurt Karlovich should review and discuss these concerns and report back to their constitutents on their conclusions and any plans for modifications.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Digital Editor Dave Hilliard.