Like their private industry counterparts, local Government professional executive managers have evident public profiles that often leave them open to criticism and attacks from many avenues, including disgruntled employees and dissatisfied unions. However, unlike a private enterprise manager, the very nature of local government management with its
Regulatory function and its public persona open the local government professional up to other forms of criticism and attack, which can stem from the political nature of policy formulation, conflicting opinions, and associated emotional reactions. As in private industry, these attacks can lead to newspaper articles with quotes and statements that reflect negatively on the manager’s professional reputation.
Were it just the local hometown-printed newspaper that used to be consigned to the basement archives, and you might be able to survive the attacks after the issue dies down. However, digital journalism may remain visible on the web forever and is difficult to remove, even legally. Negative search results may be permanent, but the negatives may multiply over time due to the way specific software works.
The popular concept “to Google someone” makes digital information readily available to anyone with access to a computer and the will to search. To compound this problem, people often tend to believe search results reflect the truth. The permanency of digital journalism and its ability to impact your reputation negatively is exacerbated by several factors.
Newspapers report facts as documented by statements or quotes from people. These statements do not connote truth but, simply put, are the opinions of an individual from their perspective with their agendas. As William Faulkner so infamously stated, Facts and reality don’t have much to do with each other. For example, you are a manager in a community with seriously declining revenues that has provided wealthy employee benefits over the years.
You recommend reducing employees’ benefits, outsourcing certain services, and reducing the number of employees to maximize the use of revenues. Employees and unions, wishing to maintain the status quo, actively and successfully campaign to elect a new governing majority composed primarily of former employees, some who were terminated for cause by the City! How do you think these newly elected officials’ quotes-‘statements of fact’ might be driven by their political agenda more than conveying reality?
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