Bad behavior can damage trust | Letter to the editor

To the editor:

I was not surprised by Doug Schulze’s recent interview, in which he stated one of the reasons for leaving was conflicts with Ron Peltier: “He’s a bully and everything is a second-guess and a battle.” I have watched Councilman Peltier in council meetings where his bullying behavior toward fellow council members and staff is evident. I and others have received dismissive and rude emails from him in response to emails to council about issues that concern us.

This behavior was on display at the Aug. 14 council meeting when he twice attacked a citizen who made remarks in public comment. She stated support for Doug Schulze, city manager, and asked that council members look at the email records of Councilman Ron Peltier because she had observed that he treated citizens as well as colleagues in a bullying manner. Ron justified his attacks by saying she was a “liar” and that he was “pissed.”

Bullying and disrespectful behavior toward city staff, colleagues and citizens undermines trust and communication.

Although there is no specific law against bullying, it has serious consequences: Studies show that it’s a health and safety issue, and often results in reduced productivity and failure to achieve workplace goals. Is this what we want as a work environment for the city staff and council members? It’s not what I want or would tolerate as an employee or manager.

It’s a violation of the city of Bainbridge Island governance manual, which outlines that (a) council members should, individually and collectively, demonstrate the ability to lead and reason together; and (b) city leaders exhibit respect for the professionalism and ethical conduct of the city manager and staff Ron’s behavior does not encourage one to have trust in Mr. Peltier’s decision-making process.

Doug’s comments describing council also ring true. I’ve been struck by recent council decisions, such as the landmark tree ordinance which bypasses city staff by requiring permission from the council to cut down older trees. It adds unnecessary work to their full agendas, and unnecessary publicity to Islanders seeking to manage their property.Doug called the council members “essentially volunteers.” They are public servants and put in a great deal of time, which I appreciate. However, they don’t have the depth of professional expertise as city staff.

I hope that our council will remedy this situation. With the pressures of growth, environmental degradation, and climate change we need an effective council and staff.

GLORIA SAYLER

Bainbridge Island

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