Denice was met by a delegation in the lobby of the administration building. She asked three questions.
Where is the best coffee?
Where is the lady’s room?
Where is the IT office?
After dismissing most of the delegation, Denice was guided to the bowels of the building where IT ran its shop. Denice scanned across the bull-pen and noted the relative youth of the workers. She told the IT head, “I need an assistant. I am looking for somebody between thirty and thirty-five. I am looking for somebody who does not plug into social media during work hours. Further, I need to use a soundproof conference room to interview them. Find me four workers who meet my requirements. If I cannot find who I am looking for I will interview another four.”
“After you choose the four candidates but before you inform them, I want you to turn off all their computer access and authorities.”
Coffee in hand, Denice awaited the first candidate. He was tall, his hair was meticulously styled and he wore a suit. Appearances are important everywhere, but especially in Southern California.
Denice said, “Shut the door.”
The young man complied.
Even before he sat down, Denice commanded him, “Sing the first verse of The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
The man, looking baffled, said “I don’t sing.”
Denice said. “This interview is over. Tell the next candidate to come in.”
Only one candidate burst into song. She was a mousy looking Hispanic woman named Liz Huerta. Denice gave Liz the job.
Fifteen minutes after informing the head of IT that she was losing the services of Miss Huerta, the head of IT informed Denice that one of her employees had filed a complaint with Personnel. Apparently, Liz was fifth highest seniority in the department. The head of IT said the complaint would lock up the transfer.
After freshening up her cup of coffee, Denice said “Send the four people with higher seniority than Liz back into the conference room. I will resolve this.”
Not surprisingly, the tall man was one of the four high seniority workers. In fact, he was the employee with the highest seniority.
Denice said, “I need an assistant and I need that assistant today. There is a clear, obvious solution to this problem but I am not going to put it to a vote. I will let seniority decide.”
She looked straight at the man with the highest seniority. “Do you want me to implement that solution?”
The man smirked. “You bet I do.”
Denice said. “All four of you are fired. Mz Huerta is now the high seniority employee.”
“All four of you will exit the building. Your personal effects will be packed and delivered to your homes. Charges will be filed and you will be jailed if you do not turn around and immediately leave the building or if you deviate from the path to the nearest exit.”
“This decision is not subject to appeal.” Denice said.
The man started to object “You can’t do that!” he said.
“You should have read your employee manual while you were an employee. As a former employee you are not even allowed to contact Human Resources. Attempts to do so will result in legal consequences.”
“You have five seconds to exit this office.” Denice said.
Denice had weaknesses but being indecisive was not one of them.
Denice said to the head of IT, “Get with Human Relations and transfer Mz Huerta. She is my Executive Assistant. She needs an office and all of the computer horsepower you can give her.”
Denice looked around the conference room. “Is there any problem giving her this room in the interim?”
The head of IT shook her head “No.”
“Then I want her computer in her in ten minutes. We have work to do.” Denice said.
Denice would not have been surprised to learn that news of her firing four, high seniority government workers within 30 minutes of entering the lobby was spreading across the organization like wildfire. In fact, that was part of the plan.
“Is it OK if I call you ‘Liz’?” Denice asked. Liz was fine with being called ‘Liz’. Denice said, “You can call me ‘Boss’”.
“One of the reasons you got this job is because you did what I asked you to do. You did it the best you could without arguing or demanding reasons. I am going to be asking you to do lots of things that don’t seem to make sense. The way we have been doing things is not working very well. SD-LA is a sick city. The one thing I know is same-old-same-old is not going to work.”