I was appalled to see the Ouray city manager’s performance appraisal printed in The Watch. And I found the city council’s asking for the public’s anonymous input as part of the appraisal process almost as horrifying.
To clarify my comments are not subjective, I don’t know Patrick Rondinelli, the county commissioners or local politics. I am writing to state there is a right and wrong way to do things and publishing confidential personal information is just plain wrong. While Colorado state law allows it, that doesn’t mean performance appraisals should be made public.
Encouraging anonymous input from the public is a flawed concept. Not having to sign your name encourages malcontents to respond and take potshots. The only legitimate anonymous input in a review process is when a 360 or some other appraisal system solicits feedback from a variety of sources, such as bosses, peers, and employees. In that case, subordinates should be protected by having the option to provide their thoughts anonymously. Bosses and people who don’t report to the reviewee don't need protection. With the exception of employees, comments from people who are not identified have no place in the mix.
Other more appropriate methods can be used to obtain feedback, monitor and address concerns about personal interactions and conflict resolution. On the public customer service side, a simple one would be to set a goal for the manager’s and the staff’s performance in this area. To measure this, distribute a brief survey at the time of the encounter asking constituents to describe their experience dealing with the town staff or manager and whether their needs were met.
A performance review is an evaluation of performance developed by the boss(es) for the employee, and those are the only two parties – human resources excepted – who should have access to this document.
– Eve Becker-Doyle