ACHTUNG: This is not a “fair and balanced” story. It is an editorial by the editor.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.” — Albert Einstein
Not long ago, I called out Dorr Township Trustees Patty Senneker and John Tuinstra for their ugly habit of micro-managing. They’re still at it.
The two failed in their attempt Monday night to hold up the appointment of a part-time maintenance worker during a critical time when the needs are high for snow removal. The reason, they said, was proper oversight, but it really boiled down to their micro-managing and lust for power. All they really accomplish is annoying their colleagues on the board and delay work that needs to be done.
Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary describes micromanagement as “…especially with excessive control or attention on details.” Dictionary.com defines the process as to “manage or control with excessive attention to minor details.” The online dictionary Encarta defines micromanagement as “attention to small details in management: control [of] a person or a situation by paying extreme attention to small details.”
Wikipedia notes, “The notion of micromanagement can be extended to any social context where one person takes a bully approach, in the level of control and influence over the members of a group. Often, this excessive obsession with the most minute of details causes a direct management failure in the ability to focus on the major details.”
Both Tuinstra and Senneker have exhibited classic symptoms of this disease in different areas of governing in the past, insisting on intruding into library affairs, workings of personnel in the fire department, even hiring a person to clean the township hall.
Senneker in nearly every meeting spends an inordinate amount time demanding to know what every expense is, however small, as if there is some tomfoolerly occurring. Has she no shame?
Classic definitions of micro-managing say it “frequently involves requests for unnecessary and overly detailed reports (‘reportomania’). A micromanager tends to require constant and detailed performance feedback and to focus excessively on procedural trivia (often in detail greater than they can actually process) rather than on overall performance, quality and results. This focus on ‘low-level’ trivia often delays decisions, clouds overall goals and objectives, restricts the flow of information between employees, and guides the various aspects of a project in different and often opposed directions. Many micromanagers accept such inefficiencies as less important than their retention of control or of the appearance of control.”
There can be little, if any, doubt that both Tuinstra and Senneker, under the influence of pseudo watchdog Bernie Schumaker, have been trying to micro-manage virtually everything they’ve encountered since being elected to the board in 2012. Both were soundly trounced at the polls last August in their attempts to overthrow Miling as supervisor.
This board has spent too much time wringing its hands over minor issues such as tape recording meetings and hiring new people to replace those who have quit in anger and disgust. The result has been a lack of action on more important public matters.
The on-line dictionary and Wikipedia said, “The micromanager takes essential management practices to extremes and interferes with employees’ ability to do their jobs properly, while creating undue stress for them.”
The result was Dorr Township for a time was a revolving door for employees in a hostile and confrontational work environment.
Dorr Township in the last year has made strides toward better government, but it still is getting pulled in the direction of crony-style politics and micro-management that threatens to impede positive progress.
The terrible twosome’s behavior has gotten so bad that usually mild-mannered Clerk Brian Boot, at first their ally, has had to restrain himself from making public remarks he might regret and Supervisor Jeff Miling, also an ally a couple of years ago, has made caustic comments.
Tuinstra and Senneker should cease and desist in their power quests and stop getting in the way of honest attempts to govern effectively. And voters should remember in 2016 when this pair seeks re-election.