“The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say 'I'. And that's not because they have trained themselves not to say 'I'. They don't think 'I'. They think 'we'; they think 'team'. They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don't sidestep it, but 'we' gets the credit.... This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.
- Peter F. Drucker
As the Village and the Town of Ossining move forward on the consolidation of their courts we are reminded that change is difficult, never perfect at the beginning, can be fine tuned, and in this case a step forward.
Yes, there will be bumps in the road but we will work through them with all involved creating ownership of not only each person’s responsibility but also of the process.
August 31, 2011 the Village and Town Boards had an open informational meeting. While not all financials were displayed they will be on the Village and Town web pages by end of day Sept 1, 2011. The permanent staff from the Village will move over to the Town. One probationary employee will not be moved to the Town. We were able to find employment for this one individual with another community. The appointed judges will also not move to the Town because in a Town judges are elected.
This pro-active, progressive move was done to create a more efficient court and with good oversight and management will result in savings to the taxpayers. Productivity is essential for any operation to work efficiently. It was suggested at the meeting last night that the Boards should go into a room, over a weekend, determine who to fire and come out on Monday morning with the results. I totally disagree with this philosophy. Unless you are in the business of dissolving companies and in the process killing morale, you do not want to do that. I with my 35 years of Management Consulting experience have never seen that method of consolidation work.
The caseload from the Village will begin to be transferred so that the there is a fair transition. Scheduling will be the responsibility of the Town Judges of which there are two presently. There will be an election for a third judge in November, along with Judge Fried who is running for election. Working with the Village, County (Asst. District Attorneys) and the Town; the Judges will be responsible for employee scheduling as well as caseloads.
This decision was not easy and took a tremendous amount of work. I for one want to thank all levels of government, the administrative courts, and the Village and Town administrations for the long hours and hard work that went into this process. While communication may not have been perfect it is something that we can all work on. There will be meetings during the transition and no less than once per quarter after the process begins. All functions will be reviewed to ensure the community that there is justice for all. Changes and/or adjustments will be made quickly to ensure the success of this endeavor.
Leadership is a skill that requires insight and being non-judgmental as well as being open to different opinions. A leader must be willing to let people do their tasks, report back on their findings, work with (in this case) the Boards and together come to a determination.
Briarcliff Manor has unique challenges to work out, but together, if they choose to participate we can overcome anything especially with the help of the administrative courts. With their budget cycle beginning June 1, 2012 we have a great opportunity to get the new courts up and running, overcome all the challenges, and move this process into a more regional court. I hope we can accomplish this goal.
Village of Ossining Trustee