Management mistakes at TTOR
To the Editor:
David Babson is a great guy, intelligent, personable, trustworthy. He is a person of high integrity who dedicates himself to whatever task he takes on. He works hard, but more importantly, he works smart. His work here on Chappaquiddick Island has earned him the universal respect and affection of the entire Martha's Vineyard community. We sorely miss him and are disgusted at his unjustified and callous forced resignation. He's the fall guy for a colossal management failure.
In my and others opinion, the short story is, that David fell victim to the flawed organization of the local branch of TTOR. Once small, this organization grew large without correctly adjusting its organization structure to effectively manage its larger scope. Not required to make a profit provides cover for the inefficiencies that eventually develop. No need to fix the problems — just ask for more money.
David was hired to be totally in charge of Chappy TTOR property; an important asset of TTOR. While David was successfully learning and managing this responsibility, executive management decided to add a community outreach effort called "Engagement" to broaden the base of the community financial support. A person on David's staff was promoted to engagement manager and placed on Chris Kennedy's staff in a position superior to David's. This person remained at Chappy, however; staff to support this new effort was not added, but instead taken away from David's staff. Although these staffers were present on the property, they were totally controlled by the engagement manager and not available to do David's bidding. This seriously constrained David's ability to handle critical needs, like bird monitoring, when they arose from time to time.
A potentially critical situation became reality when David's request for a staff person to cover a shore bird monitoring need was made to, and de-facto rejected by, the engagement manager. This resulted in an incident where a shorebird was allowed to wander into harm's way, but in fact was not injured. However, this incident was reported to the state a week later.
David was wrongfully blamed and forced to resign. He thus took the fall for TTOR management's failure to properly staff an increased scope of work that took staff away from David — staff that would have been used to fill the vacant shorebird monitoring post and prevented the shorebird endangerment incident.
Despite this shabby treatment, David, a classy stand-up guy, holds no ill will for TTOR, the organization that stiffed him, because he believes in their conservation goals. We however see this management structure — like the racehorse designed by a committee — as systemically flawed and worthy as the basis for a business school case study. It demands, not improvement, but comprehensive correction.