Clearly, Mary Suhm's In No Rush To Find a Library Chief, as She Names Another Interim

k_sweckard.jpg
Kris Sweckard
Received a note earlier in the day that on Tuesday, Mayor Mike, Comerica CEO Ralph Babb, Serita Ann Jakes (Mrs. T.D. to you) and a host of city council members are meeting at the North Oak Cliff Library Branch for "a major announcement" that will involve the "unveiling of [an] e-book collection and new high-tech library resources" courtesy, who else, Comerica. Also on the guest list: Corinne Hill, still listed as the interim director of the Dallas Public Library system -- though not for long. She's outta here February 15, choo-chooing to Chattanooga.

She told Brantley why a few weeks ago -- in large part because the city's taken forever to either take the "interim" off her title or name a replacement, which the city manager was was supposed to do by Thanksgiving using either Hill or two other finalists whose resumes it appears we can now forget all about. Why? Because, per the Mary Suhm memo you'll find below: "We will continue a nationwide search for the next director of the Dallas Public Library with the assistance of an executive search firm specializing in identifying the best candidates for major, urban systems." But time is of the essence, she insists, as Nashville, San Jose and a few other "major library systems" are also "searching for new leaders."

But in the meantime, Suhm has appointed yet another interim -- and someone with whom we're quite familiar, Kris Sweckard, who, for the last eight years, has been in ... the Office of Environmental Quality and the man behind its so-called Efficiency Team. (My, how prescient.) But lest you think that an odd job swap, Suhm reminds that prior to his coming to work for the city, Sweckard was in management consulting with PricewaterhouseCoopers focusing on "process improvements, change management, and technology implementation." Oh, that reminds me: You really must watch House of Lies. Anyway. Mary Suhm Memo on New Interim Library Director
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31 comments
Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

Just any one can not lead a Library.Library science is a learned profession.

Judd D. Bradbury
Judd D. Bradbury

Kris is a talented and thoughtful leader at the city. The proof will be Kris tenure as interim at the library will be thoughtful, smooth, and without controversy. Kris left consulting to spend time with his family. Many of us that have spent a lot of time in consulting make this decision. If this is difficult to understand make a job change and go into management consulting. The average stay is 3 years so buckle up.

Edward
Edward

I'm always suspicious of anyone who has Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Deloitte, or any other of those efficiency/change management/etc. consulting firms on their resumes. Typically, they get paid a lot of $$$ to come into a company and 6 months later tell you the same thing that the CEO's secretary could have told you in about an hour.

Larry
Larry

'focusing on process improvements' means mindlessly shuffling people around in experiments to save a nickel, but spending $$ doing it.

what a geyser of guano.  But this is the Dallas way.

Insider Out
Insider Out

Mary Oh Mary. She's at it again. Stretching the truth, setting up the permanent appointment of Kris Sweckard as Library Director and, last but not least, confirming that the FOM (Friends of Mary) exists.

First of all, Sweckard has not been the Director of the Office of Environmental Quality for eight years. It's been two years and he has done nothing but use the time to promote himself. He's been nothing more than a secretary for the Gas Drilling Task Force organizing tours, scheduling meetings, taking notes and drafting correspondence. Clearly, he is not the brains behind the research and committee. That's belongs to the a different Director (Teresa).

Secondly, all of the so-called savings generated by the Efficiency Team when he was the Director of a department of a handful of people are made up numbers. Honestly, if that team generated that much money in savings and improvements, then why is the City facing another $90M deficit for the third year in a row? Why is the City still as screwed up and more dysfunctional than ever? If that team did such a great job, then why was the office eliminated from the budget 3 years ago? How does someone continue to earn a Director's level salary in a department that was eliminated?

Note in Suhm's memo that she hint that the search for a permanent Library Director will take a long time due to other cities who are searching for one as well. Earth to Mary Suhm: the City of Dallas is the largest city with the largest council-manager form of government. It has one of the largest budgets for a municipality. And the Library budget used to be one of if not the largest until you got pissed off and started slashing away at the budget. The Library Dept became the sacrificial lamb to balance the budget.

Everything in Suhm's memo points to Sweckard becoming permanent Director. He has no experience whatsoever in Library Services. He's never worked with that department. But after serving as the Interim Director for a year while Suhm runs the department, she will say he has the experience to be permanent. Watch what happens. That's called management by Mary.

And, finally, we have witnessed another example of a FOM (Friend of Mary's) be appointed without going through any sort of selection process. I've witnessed clerks go through an application and selection process 100 times more challenging and competitive than what I've seen Friends of Mary go through. That's how the city ends up with unqualified jerks running City Hall. While the rest of the work force is faced with salary reductions, the only people getting the extra bucks are the FOMs and their spouses who work for the City.

One more catch. Anyone else notice that the appointment of an Interim Library Director resulted in the promotion of two new Assistant Directors in the Library Delartment? In fact, one of the appointees is going to be co-Assistant Director with an Assistant Director who has been in place for years. In addition to not mentioning the existence of that Assistant Director, Suhm also failed to point out the existence of yet another Assistant Director who used to work as her secretary/assistant. Another FOM with little work experience and no supervisory experience. Waltzed into her Interim Assistant Director position 6 months ago and was handed the position permanently a few weeks ago. Was that position posted? No. Was that appointment ever announced? No. Life certainly is good if you are a FOM.

So let's re-cap management of money by Mary. Appoint an Interim Director and you now have 4 Assistant Directors including two who serve as co Asst. Directors. And two in the bunch have absolutely no knowledge, experience or understanding of Library operations. Corinne Hill leaves and now Queen Mary is throwing money and resources back at the Library.

Anyone else see a problem here that Pizza Mike and others fail to see??

Dallas O--can you guys get the salary history for the past year's executive appointments of the FOM Club--Kris Sweckard, Joey Zapata, Mike Frosch, Ben Collins, Molly McColl, Sheila Robinson, the new nameless Assistant Director of Human Resources, Stephanie Cooper, Juanita Ortiz...

Roadsidecouch
Roadsidecouch

Just put an add in an online job board and take the 5 best resumes of the hundreds you will receive as finalist..  It's a hell of a lot cheaper than a search firm and will probably get the same kind of result, because that is what they will do.  They will just charge Dallas a gazillion dollars to do it.   But I suppose city hall can't be bothered with mundane tasks like that.  Then again, maybe they should try the novel approach of promoting within the system.  Does wonders for employee moral when someone is allowed to work their way up to the top.

claytonauger
claytonauger

Not mentioned here is the fact that Mr. Sweckard is currently helping steer the City through re-writing of the gas drilling ordinance. Two more meetings of the Task Force he's been staffing and then it lands in the Council's lap.  So what message does his abrupt re-assignment mean to that issue?

disgusted anonymi
disgusted anonymi

Just ANOTHER example of poor management, bad decisions.  How much more will people take? How much longer will this go on?  As long as we have the incompetents running the city, that's how long...

Willie
Willie

It is a sad fact that the City of Dallas has never had much commitment to quality-of-life projects and departments.  These aspects of governance aren't in management's vision of the city, whether short-term or long-term, UNLESS some company steps up with some dough, which means things will then be done half-assed.

DoubleOJoe
DoubleOJoe

"an e-book collection and new high-tech library resources"

Meaning they bought a flash drive and an iBooks subscription?

NewsDog
NewsDog

And this is how we get a "World Class' library system. 

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

The City of Dallas should look at the City of Chattanooga for a prospective replacement.  Word has it they've got a pretty good person running their library department.

Formula One
Formula One

It's not April 1 yet. Is this a joke? This Kris Sweckard guy is a joke. What an unbelievably bad decision. City Council - wake up and get Corinne Hill back ASAP. Morale at Dallas Public libraries has officially crashed. Obviously, Suhm wants a yes man without a backbone. She just got him. What a mess.

Formula One
Formula One

Judd, you obviously don't know how things work at City Hall. Suhm has no family and expects everyone to work the same way she does. No life and all work.

Kris covers his ears and eyes at the first sign of trouble. As has already been written on this blog, he is weak which is one of the many reasons staff (not just his own staff) do not respect him. He has huge shoes to fill with the departure of Corinne Hill. He will never come close to filling those shoes. No way. The transition will not be smooth. Library staff are FURIOUS that someone whose only qualification is being a friend of Mary Suhm's will be in charge of the library at this very critical time. With the addition of Sweckard, that makes two unqualified friends of Mary's working at the top in Library Services.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Well, this IS the city that paid a consulting group $600k to determine how a gorilla got out of its exhibit at the zoo.  

Insider Out
Insider Out

Larry, you are absolutely correct.

This same shell game is also played every year to "balance" the budget and eliminate the huge gap between revenue and expenses. Problem is that within six months of "balancing" the budget, we hear of yet another budget shortfall for the coming year.

XavierAnderson
XavierAnderson

Mary loves weak men and strong lesbian acting women... should that not tell everybody something....

Anon
Anon

@claytonauger:The reassignment of Kris Sweckard from the task force to the Library doesn't mean a damn thing because he really doesn't do a damn thing. If there any s*** does fly from the task force's work, it sure will not hit Sweckard because he will be out of there. The Suhm mafiaoso protect their own.

The end of the task force means just means Sweckard needs another assignment to justify his $120-130k salary. Actually, he will get a salary increase for being the Interim Director. Corinne Hill, on the other hand, did not receive the interim pay. Why? She never became a member of the Suhm mafia.

NewsDog
NewsDog

Oh, wait. Mayor Mike just said we need to back off the whole 'World Class' thing. Guess that means status quo for Dallas

Former DPL Employee
Former DPL Employee

If only any of you who LOVED Ms. Hill had ever ACTUALLY worked for her, you might have a shred of credibility.  She was not what you think, unless you only wanted a two-faced, attention grabbing diva.  She was more concerned with what shoes she was wearing than supporting her staff or improving any kind of morale.  

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

He's had an odd career trajectory, to be sure.  Who goes from PricewaterhouseCoopers to a job pretty far down the middle-management chain with the City of Dallas?

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

There are two basic fallacies regarding the budget and city funding:1)      that the city will grow enough to off set any budget spending.2)      That hotel taxes etc. will pay for our spending (let those out of towners pay for our spending). Until you come to the realization that the population will not grow enough to cover existing debt nor enough for future debts incurred or that everyone will flock to Dallas from out of town to pay for the city council and staffs squandering then you will have budget problems.   That and not spending your moneys wisely wasting it on consultants, ineptly implemented projects and squandering it on such things as suspension bridges and toll roads in potential flood plains as opposed to fixing streets and funding libraries..

books-r-for-kidz
books-r-for-kidz

If all she cared about was her shoes. She sounds like she was an exemplary Dallas employee and should be commended! 

Formula One
Formula One

Pricewaterhouse Coopers to City of Dallas...you hit the nail on the head. That should tell you all you need to know about this guy Sweckard. He joined the City supervising a staff of five max. Who gets paid over $100k/year to "supervise" a staff of five? A$$ kissing members of Mary Suhm's inner circle, that is who!

In Environmental Quality Office, he "supervises" a staff of 25 and the office is out of control. To top things off, he is totally unqualified as he does not know a a thing about the subject matter. Hence, his staff does not respect him!

So now Kris Sweckard has been handed the Library. Again, a subject he knows nothing about and a huge staff spread across the city. He will flop. But Mary Suhm will be there to cover for his incompetence and arrogance!

Willie
Willie

Someone who hits their peak early on in their career.  They turn into yes men that provide cover for incompetent managers.

XavierAnderson
XavierAnderson

Mary seems to enjoy a good peice of Mahogany wood every now and then it seems......

XavierAnderson
XavierAnderson

Makes you wonder if Mary is enjoying the woods as well.... many swing from both sides of the tree.....

XavierAnderson
XavierAnderson

the challenge is that when you sleep in the forest.... you at some point have to realize that you are not the only one that has done that.  In addition, you have to know that after a while you will become old news and there will be someone newer, younger and more attractive.  Also, once you wake up and realize that you know nothing about the trees- who will be the monkey then.......?  Once the husband realizes that you are not only sleeping at home but in the forest, the real drama will begin.  But if the husband is also sleeping in other places....I guess it does not make a difference.  It is a HOT MESS!!!

Insider Out
Insider Out

^ If this comment was not so sad and true, it would be very funny. Pity the poor souls that do not "catch" what you are writing here about the forest. What is worse is that that forest is trying to be the king of the Marilla Streer jungle as soon as Suhm steps aside. Heaven help us all!

Xavierhampton
Xavierhampton

This is very similar to the person who was recently appointed Asst. Director of Human Resources.  If you sleep with the forest you can manage all the trees.....

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