To the Editor:
I’ve sent this letter to Andrew Kendall, president of The Trustees of Reservations.
Everyone knows that to play fair, you can’t change the rules in the middle of the game. For a controlling authority to arbitrarily and unilaterally change the way events are scored once the game begins is, without question, contrary to every accepted principle of fairness. As such, it speaks for itself. Yet this is what TTOR has done in the Babson matter. As a result of TTOR’s flawed management restructuring, David Babson was inadvertently set up for failure and then made the scapegoat for an incident that was not his fault.
TTOR hired David Babson to be the superintendent of its Chappy property. Like his predecessors, he was to be the person in charge and responsible for managing all aspects of its operation. And then with a management restructuring, TTOR put another person, the engagement manager, on that property, tasked with generating more cash flow for TTOR under the banners of education and community outreach. (Reasonable people question whether the blatantly commercial aspects of this reorganization are a good fit to TTOR’s charter, but I digress.)
Until then, Babson was like his predecessors, was in complete control of the property and able to make changes to staff assignments to fulfill his mandate. However, the engagement manager came on without staff and took staff from Babson by assuming responsibility for the income-generating tasks that, until then, were in the superintendent’s domain. Those staff were mostly engaged in the sale of tee-shirts, beach tours, kayak rides, and fishing parties. However, they were always available as and when needed as determined by Babson to satisfy top priority needs, such as bird monitoring. But on the day of the incident, a request from Babson to the engagement manager for a staff member to cover a bird monitoring need went unanswered, and a needed bird monitor’s station was not manned. And that was the direct cause of the least tern endangerment issue which drove Babson’s forced resignation. Facts on the ground pose the question: Which is more important, generating cash flow or protecting an endangered species?
The president of TTOR has the responsibility and the authority over all of TTOR operations and personnel. It is rightly so, as like a ship’s captain or aircraft’s pilot there can be only one person in command if they are to be held responsible for a successful outcome. Until recently, our Chappy community had had regular reports as to David Babson’s outstanding progress on the Chappy superintendent learning curve. You had put a second person, the engagement manager, like a second captain or pilot, with a competing agenda in a position to dilute, and in certain areas to control, Babson’s authority and actions. And yet you held Babson entirely responsible for the endangerment issue. You call that fair?
TTOR must correct its flawed Chappy property management structure to restore the one property, one man rule before hiring a new superintendent, who will otherwise face the same no-win, set-up-to-fail, situation that was imposed on David Babson by TTOR’s mid-game rule change.
David Babson and his family deserve justice and fair treatment which has been absent in TTOR’s treatment of them thus far. Fair treatment demands that they be made well and compensated financially and otherwise, to repair the damage that this TTOR management failure caused.