The Island County Free Press received a copy of an anonymous letter from a County staff employee. The letter is published in its entirety:
What’s going on at Island County?
Recently the Administrative Services Director – Michelle Meyer resigned. The news came in a memo from her to directors. She had only been with the County for 6 months. Why is she leaving?
Apparently, the job required the Commissioners to relinquish control of some functions – HR, IT and GSA to the new Director. The Commissioners created the position because they wanted out from under making these decisions. They said they wanted to focus on the public facing needs of the County. But the Commissioners did not heed their commitment to move the control to the new Director. Instead they favored the old guard and let them run roughshod over process and policy. This made the new Director a scapegoat instead of a change agent.
The new HR manager who reported to this Director totally disregarded her as a manager. This came with the blessing of the Commissioners. Why?
The HR Manager – Catherine Reid (a disbarred California lawyer) was co-opted into becomming ‘the Commissioner whisperer’. Instead of doing her HR job she now spends her days politicking the Commissioner offices and talking to them one-on-one. If she’s not in their offices, they are in hers. This enables them to secretly make deals behind the scenes without meeting as a group. Meeting as a group requires a public meeting. Heaven forbid the public know how messed up the management of Island County has become with fiefdoms abound.
Melanie Bacon was the previous HR Director and is now Commissioner of District 1. She has her finger on the scale. Her role is to protect Catherine Reid and advocate for her promotion. It is likely that Commissioner Bacon will work to promote her into the Administrative Director position. Catherine doesn’t have the skills to perform the job, but politics will overrule that aspect of need. Catherine is Melanie Bacon’s confidant and tells her what she wants to hear. In turn, Melanie tells her what to do and say. This comes at the detriment of not performing her HR job. This back-room behavior is very likely illegal as it is meant to get around the public meeting requirement.
From all input gathered, Catherine Reid is simply a terrible communicator when it comes to County needs. She sends randon emails as her method of communication. Meeting with Directors or departments to take in and provide information does not happen by virtual or in person meeting. Policies seem to randomly occur with no concurrence of staff. Then when new policies don’t seem to be workable, they are retracted. Catherine does not have the respect of County Directors or Elected Officials. Human Resources is a real mess and likely a facade for other functions. Nobody seems to have faith in the County HR policies or trust in the hiring and equitable wage decisions.
You must ask yourself, “with so many good candidates on the market, why would Island County hire a disbarred California attorney to be the HR Director?” She has no past HR experience. A review of her resume indicates that after being disbarred for filing false documents in California she worked as a union representative for one of the county unions. Then she was hired by the County. It all stinks. This woman does not tell the truth, appears corrupt and needs to go.
As a citizen of Island County, I recently started researching why so many things controlled by the County such as the handling of the pandemic have gone awry. This isn’t the case with all Counties, why ours? This is a direct result of the bad behavior of our three elected officials. As I research and discover the cause of why things go terribly wrong so many employees of the County have been willing to tell their story. It appears that employee turnover in the past six months has been enourmous. Now you add the disbarred lawyer into the mix, and it has become what appears to be a cesspool of corruption, skirting of laws and lying to the community. And, this is only month two of this commission, what will be next?
The Island County Free Press is committed to transparency and accountability within Island County. If you have a story for the Free Press please email: firstname.lastname@example.org