Monday, April 7, 2008

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar: staff changes in the Clinton campaign

Senator Clinton's campaign has replaced Mark Penn. I'm less interested in assessing the strengths and weaknesses of Mark Penn than in providing information about Geoffrey Garin, and pointing out that the Clinton campaign showed extreme professionalism in keeping a hardworking staffer on board until there was a clear conflict of interest which meant he had to step down. Excellent management, in my opinion. If you have ever had to deal with staffing you understand that you cannot just throw people aside without demoralizing everybody else who works for you. If the staffer does not resign precisely when or if you want him or her to do so, you need to exercise diplomacy and tact to find the moment when you can ask him or her to step down or bring him or her to see that he or she must. I have no firsthand knowledge related to Mr. Penn's departure as a salaried member of the Clinton team, and I mistrust any and all rumors and reports about it. My take is the same as the one, I would bet, held by most good business people and employment lawyers.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you saying that so long as Penn remained hard working,it was a sign of GOOD management to keep him around until a conflict of interest became so clear that he became a liability to the campaign?

April 8, 2008 at 11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hire and supervise a lot of subcontractors, and I agree with Heidi that it's best not to fire anyone until you have clear and convincing evidence of a conflict of interest (or other irreconcilable problem). Even then, there's always debate among remaining employees, about whether the firing was “justified.”

Everyone is speculating about Mark Penn's departure. Such speculation reflects one of the problems I've noticed in this primary race. While discussing the candidates, in real life and on-line, many people believe that they can read the minds of the people they're discussing. They think that they know why this or that person acted the way they did; or, they think that they know what others were “really saying” when they said something. The bottom line is that none of us ever knows all the facts surrounding events we have no direct knowledge of, including what motivates anyone other than ourselves.

April 9, 2008 at 4:22 AM  

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