Saturday, September 12, 2015

"TEAM PLAYERS" Coverup Wrongdoing

(Actual words of entitlement spoken by then-Commissioner JONES on October 22, 2011 to arresting officers from SAPD)

There's a "team-building training" by the Florida League of Cities scheduled for City Commissioners in St. Augustine on Thursday, September 18th. Cancel it. It is not announced on the City's website, and it's a waste of time and money.  It's also a Sunshine violation.

Commissioners have in the past publicly used words like "team player" as a complement, while insisting that their City Managers were doing a perfect job, even when our City dumped a landfill in a lake.

We don't hire Commissioners to be "team players," and the use of this trite trope from corporate America is misguided. "Team player" is a Nixonian phrase that indicates someone who will coverup wrongdoing; "not a team player" denotes someone who will not commit crimes.

In Abrams v. Baylor College of Medicine, 581 F.Supp. 1570, 1574 (S.D. Texas 1984), affirmed in relevant part, 805 F.2d 528 (5th Cir. 1986), the Court rejected pretexts for discrimination in refusing to send Jewish physicians to a program in Saudi Arabia, including a "team player" requirement. A "team player" does not blow the whistle or criticize management.

"Team player" is freighted with the speech-chilling implication that one is willing to "go along to get along," say what management wants to hear, and do what one is told by managers, no matter what the ethics or legality of the situation. In the political corruption case of United States v. Salvatti, 451 F.Supp. 195, 197-98 (E.D. Pa. 1978), one witness testified that "when she complained to the Mayor about Mr. Carroll's pressure, and advised him that the proposed payment to the Sylks would be totally improper and probably illegal, the Mayor chided her for not being a team player." See also Fitzgerald v. Seamans, 384 F.Supp. 688,697n7 (D.D.C. 1974), affirmed, 553 F.2d 220, 224 (D.C. Cir. 1977), reversed, Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800 (1982); Nixon v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 731 (1982) (remarks of President Nixon et al. on need to fire heroic Department of Defense whistleblower A. Ernest Fitzgerald after he testified truthfully before Congress on C-5A transport cost overruns, with Nixon saying Mr. Fitzgerald was "not a team player"); Broderick v. Ruder, 685 F.Supp. 1269 (D.D.C. 1988)(sexual harassment at Securities and Exchange Commission); Tomsic v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co, 85 F.3d 1472, 1474 (10th Cir. 1996); Geddes v. Benefits Review Board, 735 F.2d 1412, 1416, 1420 (D.C. Cir. 1984) (Washington Metropolitan Transportation Authority considered workers' compensation claimant not a "team player"); Davis v. California, 1996 WL 271001 (E.D.Cal.1996); Schloesser v. Kansas Dept. of Health & Environment, 766 F.Supp. 984 (D. Kansas 1991); Stradford v. Rockwell International, 48 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. (BNA) 697, 49 Empl. Prac. Dec. P 38,828,1988 WL 159939 (S.D.Ohio); Seymour M. Hersh, "Annals of National Security: The Intelligence Gap -- How the digital age left our spies out in the cold," The New Yorker, December 6, 1999 at 58, 62.

See letter to City Commissioners below.  We don't need Team Players.  We need independent leaders with integrity.

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