Monday, July 6, 2009

Evals - Follow-up

I received a comment/question from JT that I want to discuss.
A very difficult question. I personally would prefer an objective "totality of job performance" standard, allowing evaluations to include all the tangibles and intangibles that don't necessarily show up in the numbers. Who's going out there and taking some initiative? Who's sitting around just collecting a check? Who does their homework on citations and writes good ones time after time? Who writes citations on items the ALJs and OSHRC have routinely tossed out for over 20 years?

Can that be done? Or is it impossible to get objectivity on such things?

I like lapse time, but I agree that it could very easily create an incentive to cut corners. Also very easy for ADs to overlook difficult or complex cases.
I spent part of my weekend thinking about this, which I hope is a reflection on my dedication to the job and not on how pathetic my life may seem.

I think my answer is that it's a great idea, but it can't work for two reasons;
  1. Not all ADs will be fair. I think most would be fair, but there will always be a few who will just plain discriminate based on race or sex, or who will favor their friends. You can't get around it, it's out there.

  2. The union won't allow it. Why? See number one above. The NCFLL has fought for a long time to make our performance elements objective instead of subjective. They want specific goals with specific ways to meet or exceed those goals. I certainly understand that position, and it's hard to argue against it, unfortunately it does allow for deadwood.
But also think about this, JT noted that it's easy for ADs to forget difficult or complex cases, so how can we expect them to remember all of the intangibles?
I don't know, maybe the answer is to have two different evaluations, one objective and one subject, and allow each area office (ie CSHOs) to decide at the start of each evaluation year which they want to be evaluated on. That seems like a logistically stupid idea to me, but I haven't been able to come up with anything better.


  1. I think that JT's method is used by most supervisors. It's sort of how the performance standards are written, or at least what the supervisor has to put in the narrative to justify any rating other than 'Meets.'

    As for the NCFLL wanting objective performance standards, that's a lark. Joe Dear came closest to establishing objective performance standards (i.e. numeric goals) and got throuroughly trounced for it. The NCFLL was the key reason for Kennedy's support of the amendment that prohibits using the number of violations per inspection in the evaluation of CSHOs. That, combined with the number of inspections conducted, may not have been the most perfect evaluation criteria, but at least it was objective.

  2. RT (also known as JT) Jones11:43 AM, July 08, 2009

    @ Anon: But numbers aren't necessarily objective. Is a CSHO doing a ton of inspections actually effective, writing good citations and focusing on things to get injury rates down, or just a glorified traffic cop writing tickets for the sake of numbers/generating revenue? I think Kennedy's amendment was concerned with government bureaucrats turning CSHOs into the latter.

    @Abel: If the problem with performance review is some ADs will play favorites and/or discriminate, then perhaps the solution is to replace the ADs? :) Easier said than done, I know.

    Question about the NCFLL - what objective performance elements have they succeeded in implementing? Or proposed without success?