Author Krista Tibbs

Politically Untenable Suggestions

In Commentary, Integrity & Freedom on May 20, 2012 at 11:06 am
On the 360-degree feedback for my annual evaluation at work, one person commented that sometimes I make “politically untenable” suggestions. I have been trying to figure out how to interpret that. Fifteen people provided feedback for the evaluation, and I don’t know which one said it, nor does it matter. What matters is why it was categorized as a criticism.

In my mind, “politically untenable” means that the opposing political powers-that-be or public have a stronger voice and more influence. My suggestions are always what I understand to be the right thing to do for the people we serve given the data available. So the opposition is either a legitimate difference of opinion about the right thing to do or different priorities and constituents and/or lack of information (willful or otherwise).

I think in all these situations, it’s not a bad thing to have the discourse and to get all the information and motives into the open. I have said before that I believe two people can have the same data and legitimately reach different conclusions. Sometimes you just have to pick one and get behind it. But if you never make sure that both sides have all the information, then I don’t think there can be a legitimate conclusion. And if no one ever speaks up because they’ll get shot down, then the bullies win.

My job is currently funded through a grant, so maybe I’ll have a job next year and maybe I won’t. I’m prepared for either situation. I’m not a political appointee or an elected official, so I don’t have to worry about getting votes. There is no more perfect position from which to make “politically untenable” suggestions.

So if I don’t say what needs to be said, then who will?

I think there is only one answer to this criticism on my evaluation. It’s the same one I gave when I was falsely accused of plagiarism in high school: Thank you.

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