To the Editor:
The Jan. 8, 2007, article, “Turnover A Symptom of Strife,” about significant internal staff challenges confronting the Connecticut Bar Association should concern all CBA members. Attorneys expect our professional association to be run with integrity and managed efficiently for the benefit of members. The internal strife at the CBA, if it exists as reported in the article, could affect member services. But of more immediate concern to me are the issues raised in the article of governance, leadership and process at the CBA.
The executive director of the CBA is quoted as saying that he had “never seen any document like this before in this format” and he did not have time to read it. If, as appears to be the case, he had the employee survey undertaken, it strains credulity to believe he did not look at the survey results or that he did not have time to look at them “in this format.” Moreover, it is disingenuous to say it is an unfair attack because he does not know who made the comments when he undertakes an anonymous survey. All this must be very demoralizing to the remaining employees.
The elected leadership’s reactions were mixed at best. The president in office when the survey was taken claimed to be unaware of it. The immediate past president reacted to the survey by, among other actions, appointing a committee to look at the matters raised. Why were the members of the committee not given access to the survey results? They may have heard a different version of matters when they met with the staff and the cloak of anonymity was removed.
In any event, it is not clear why a reorganization such as that undertaken would address the employee morale issues raised by the anonymous survey; the consultant hired by the CBA made recommendations to address the concerns raised in the survey which did not involve a reorganization, but we are not told that any have been implemented.
More generally, where were the CBA president and the Board of Governors when staff members quit in droves? Bar leaders should be kept informed and demand accountability from the executive director. All members of the association deserve an explanation about the functioning of our association. Nowhere is the truth of the allegations contained in the employee survey comments refuted. I believe that the morale and organization of the staff is of concern to the membership so that the level of services provided is maintained at the highest level.
The past president’s remarks implying there is another side to the story which he refuses to explain is dismissive of concerns that the membership may have after reading the article. The current president and Board of Governors should communicate with all members outlining how they have examined and addressed the issues raised in the article and their appraisal of the current state of affairs, as well as how they are making sure that the level of service to members is not negatively affected. I believe that they owe us no less.
Thomas A. Klee, Esq.
Law Office of Thomas A. Klee