Friday, August 2, 2013

Hofstede Staff Timer, It's Been Awhile


Up until yesterday, it had been 680 days since the Diane Hofstede staff timer had been updated.  But the process of entropy had almost surely continued unabated during that time.  There just HAD to be staff members who were fired or left or were temps or all of the above, who would have reset the timer if I'd known about them.  Sort of like a Schroedinger's staff member who is neither hired nor fired until I find out about him or her, at which point they instantly lose their job.  Who can really know the state of existence of a Hofstede staffer?  All we know is that the level of chaos likely stayed the same or increased.

I heard rumors, of course, but nothing from a source who would even want to give me information off the record.  So the timer remained in that state until yesterday.  That's when multiple credible sources told me three very interesting things...

...which, for the record, are unverified but deemed both substantive and reliable enough for the journalistic bar of the blogosphere.

First, that a staffer has left Hofstede's office, perhaps as recently as within the last twenty-four hours.  It is unknown if the departure was a firing or a resignation.  It is also unknown precisely how many staff members have left, which is why astute readers will see that the taff timer jumped from twenty-seven to twenty-nine.  And I'm not even sure that's accurate.

The second item, in regards to staff member #28, goes like this:  A recent staffer left under rather unsavory conditions.  Allegedly, this worker was a temporary employee (who hires temps for city council staffer positions?  No, really, who does this?) who was pregnant.  She asked to be brought on as a permanent employee--or as permanent as one gets for such a position--in order to qualify for medical insurance for herself and her child-to-be, and so that after maternity leave she could do something quite rare in the pantheon of Ward 3 employees:  return to her job.  That request was reportedly denied, and this staff person no longer works there.

So...a great office environment for women...in the 1950's.

Thirdly, there are rumblings of a lawsuit.  Such a suit could bring charges forward for just one former or current staff member, or it could be multiple suits.  Goodness knows there are enough  eligible plaintiffs to form a class action.

And finally, I received a challenge during the composition of this post:  try to use a really obscure word and weave it into the body of the post.  This assumes that as the S. S. Hofstede sinks on to November, there will be ever more staff departures.  So in an attempt to make the articles more interesting, I took him up on it, and today's word of the day is "entropy."  Although I threw in a reference to Schroedinger's cat just for kicks.  For those of you unfamiliar with what, precisely, entropy is, the following example should suffice:

Entropy is a measure of chaos, of the degree of disorder. The higher the entropy, the more disordered, the messier things are. Hofstede's office, for instance, would be in a high state of entropy while other council members' staff situations would be examples of low entropy.

You can see a state of low entropy clearly because the slightest flaw is immediately distinguished from everything else.  It's noticeable and even newsworthy when longtime political staffers move on to different opportunities.

High entropy is noticeable for its extreme disarray.  Often, no matter the attempts of anyone else, it can be nigh impossible to return a dysfunctional environment to a low entropy state.  No matter how many new employees are brought on board, and no matter how good the newest ones are, it still looks like a mess from the outside.  To those in the midst of a high entropy state of being, however, everything can seem downright normal.  Like somehow you're supposed to churn through dozens of employees.

With Hofstede overwhelmingly losing the endorsement of her own party, I'm willing to bet that the third ward will see more turnover before November.  So I'm issuing a challenge:  Send in comments or emails updating this blog with the exact number of staff departures over Hofstede's tenure, and keep track of that tally as events progress.  When you do, submit an obscure word, term, phrase, or phenomenon.  Whichever ones I like best, I will incorporate into upcoming posts on the topic.


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