What did Wheeling Trustees know that ours Don’t?


Nothing – our trustees know all about our manager, where he came from, what he did and what he’s done.  Make no mistake – they cannot claim they didn’t know.  The information was and is still there, they just chose to ignore it.  So, the better question is, why don’t our trustees take the same action that Wheeling’s did?

Why is workplace bullying an important topic to residents?  Because – it dramatically decreases employee morale and productivity.  Not to mention the fact that eventually, a bully will cause lawsuits to occur (as he did in Wheeling – in 2009, when a former employee sued Wheeling AND Manager Rooney personally for Slander/Libel in Cook County, case number 2009-L-007329 – OH, and guess who Wheeling and Manager Rooney’s attorney was: Klein, Thorpe and Jenkins, OUR Attorney! and the same firm that “investigated” former HR Director Mogren’s complaint … hmmmmm)

Countless articles have been written on the subject, and i’m sure that we’ve all had a chance to go through some type of training in our own workplace that proclaims that harassment and bullying tactics are forbidden.  But what happens when the bully is a top level Manager?  Who stops the bullying when the bully is the person that is supposed to be the one to stop it?

The Workplace Bullying Institute, a national foundation, defines workplace bullying as:

Workplace Bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators. It is abusive conduct that is :

This definition was used in the 2014 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey.

That study by the way, indicated that 30 million Americans were the target of workplace bullying – lets just say it’s not rare, and 25 states are in the process of developing a law against it, including ours.  Would you like to see what a workplace bully looks like?  He can be seen the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month at our Village Board Meeting.  But in case you have seen the board meetingsPortrait-VillageManager: This is the face of the very definition of a work place bully.

As we’ve pointed out, the investigator found that the Manager can be perceived as intimidating and threatening, and former HR Director said he was manipulative, intimidating and threatening.  The very definition of a workplace bully.

How many examples do we need from this guy?  Abusive conduct towards public speakers, abusive conduct towards employees, 3 separate formal complaints, management by crisis, a leadership style that stifles robust debate and intimidates employees into going along with whatever agenda the Manager has – they all lead us to the same conclusion: MANAGER ROONEY IS A BAD MANAGER, AND IS BAD FOR THE VILLAGE OF CARPENTERSVILLE.  In case people still have doubts though – let’s hear what Trustees in Wheeling had to say when he was quickly let go from Wheeling back in 2009 (a mere 2 months after the lawsuit against him and Wheeling was filed): from DailyHerald.com, written by Madhu Krishnamurthy, published 9/23/2009 – Trustees Pat Horcher and Dean Argiris said that in a poll taken Monday night among the six trustees and Abruscato, Rooney had lost support of five of them. and Horcher said some trustees complained Rooney did not keep them fully informed about village business.  and “It wasn’t about personality conflicts and it wasn’t about politics,” Argiris said.  “There were serious issues.  This was a business decision by a majority of the board.”  and “I believe it was hurting the village keeping him on and that’s why we need to move on,” Argiris said.  “His style … the way he would do business eventually it would hurt the village, if it hadn’t already.  And these were issues that never seemed to be going away.  They needed to be addressed.”  

The similarities are striking.  Why is that our Village Board can’t take a hint from another Village board?  His style .. the way he would do business, eventually it would hurt the village, if it hadn’t already – IT ALREADY HAS!  Most residents don’t understand what a bad manager like this can do to a village.  But, most understand what a bad manager can do to a business – lower productivity, disengaged employees, lower quality work … bad morale is a business killer.  ANY good business owner will agree, I’d venture to say that even Business Consultants would agree.  Leadership by intimidation is an absolute killer of any business – and folks, a village is no different in that way – but it is different in another way.  If customers don’t like the quality of a business’s service or product, they chose another business.  It’s not nearly as easy to chose a different village to live in – and the residents and business owners suffer a much greater potential loss with poor morale of their village employees.  Just in case though, here’s an article which puts this perfectly: by Angela Lindsay, in the ARTICLE posted on savannahnow.com “This, in turn, can cause high turnover, low productivity, a loss of innovation, a loss of trained staff and work effort directed away from productivity to as the victim tries to cope with the bullying,”  (Anyone else remember that Kathy Haley, our finance director just left to take a job 1 hour away and for less money?)

The University of Louisville did a study and published a position paper on this very topic.  You can read the full .pdf HERE, but one great portion that relates to the work environment is: How Bullying Affects Organizations:

Each of the individual consequences listed above can be very costly for the organization. Costs of bullying generally fall into three categories:

  • ƒ Replacing staff members that leave as a result of being bullied. 
  • ƒ Work effort being displaced as staff cope with bullying incidents (i.e., effort being directed away from work productivity and towards coping). 
  • ƒ Costs associated with investigations of ill treatment and potential legal action. 

Bullies do not run good organizations; staff turnover and sick leave will be high while morale and productivity will be low. Stress, depression and physical health problems result in time away from work that is costly in terms of workers’ compensation and lost productivity. The health problems experienced by victims of bullying result in a sense of helplessness and negative emotional states among employee(s). Low self-esteem and a negative organizational climate suppress creativity and hamper employees’ abilities to respond to difficult situations or challenging goals. The breakdown of trust in a bullying environment may mean that employees will fail to contribute their best work, do not give extra ideas for improvement, do not provide feedback on failures and may be less honest about performance. 

What isn’t discussed by these articles however – is a less obvious feature – when the Bully is in a high level of management, their behavior is often mimicked by their subordinates.  After all, if the Manager can do it and get away with it, how can any other employee be held to a higher standard?  It sets the stage for a frightening breakdown in civility and professional behavior, not to mention “customer service”.  Folks, the warning signs are all there, and our trustees are simply IGNORING them, hoping that it will pass over and won’t damage their political futures.  workplace-bullyingWill it take a costly lawsuit against the Village to get our Trustees to do the right thing?  Make no mistake – some of the things that the manager has said about employees could easily (if it isn’t already in the works) spawn another Slander lawsuit.  (for all those lawyers out there reading – we’re talking Pro Se Slander, not pro quod.)

We’ve been reminded multiple times that Manager Rooney is a Lt. Colonel in the Army Reserve, and certainly he does not hesitate to bring up his service any time someone questions his leadership skills.  The image of the 2 employees might be acceptable in Lt. Colonel Rooney’s military service, but Manager Rooney being a bully simply has no place in a civilian workforce.

Honestly – admitting that the Trustees were wrong to keep such an aggressive bully, FIRE Manager Rooney, and spending the time to learn where all the problems now and righting our metaphorical ship is about the only thing that would save our elected leaders from a very contentious political campaign season.  The decision our Trustees have made, to bury their heads in the sand and not address the issue IS their own political demise.  The truth can only be hidden for so long and I say that time has past, and I ask all residents in town to start asking questions, submitting FOIAs, getting their answers, and go out and vote the incumbents out of office in  April.