Here’s why the morale in the AGO is in the dumps:

The February 13, 2008 Letter
On February 13, 2008, Susan Damon, Daniel Goldberg, and I sent a letter to Attorney General Swanson asking her to voluntarily recognize a union in the office. I am attaching this as Attachment C. In this letter, we outlined our concerns about the extraordinary turnover in the office during the past year, as well as the working conditions that contributed to the turnover. The letter was mailed to Attorney General Swanson on February 13 and a copy of the letter was hand delivered to her office on February 14. The letter was not immediately publicized elsewhere.

The February 19, 2008 Letter
On the morning of February 19, 2008, the attorney general sent an email to the entire office berating the three of us who had sent the letter asking her to recognize the union. She indicated that she had not received the letter, which was both mailed and hand delivered to her office at the State Capitol, because she was out sick with the flu. She did not acknowledge her presence at the social committee lunch, which would contradict her claims of poor health. I am attaching her email as Attachment D.

The Attorney General said that our letter “undermined the work of this office” and was “embarrassing to the institution of the office.” The letter stated that the attorney general would have deputies meet with the three letter signers, and that she would also take measures to get her own “sense of the staff.” That morning, you, Solicitor General Al Gilbert, and retired Judge Larry Cohen met with Daniel Goldberg and me. You and Gilbert questioned Goldberg and me for approximately an hour, and particularly wanted to know why we thought a union was necessary, since the attorney general has held “quality circle” meetings, at which attorneys are allowed to express their concerns. At this meeting, I raised the ethical concern I mentioned above. At the meeting, you gave no indication that you wanted to work with us to address any of the concerns we had about the office.

Later that afternoon, I learned that my Complex Litigation colleagues were being summoned to a “quality circle” meetings the next morning. What we pieced together later was that the vast majority of attorneys summoned to these meetings were signatories of Chuck Roehrdanz’s anti-union petitions.

Imagine how intimidating that period must’ve been for Amy Lawler and her pro-union group.

Let’s look at it from another perspective, that of how to motivate people to do their best work. An tyrant-run office is run on threats and intimidation. That’s how they get people to do what they want them to do. It’s inevitable that the employees aren’t productive because they’re constantly walking on eggshells. That’s because they fear the tyrant’s retribution. That isn’t the way to create a productive team.

The best work teams are the ones that have a leader with a commonsense vision and a common goal. Leaders are different from tyrants because leaders listen, then chart a course. Tyrants don’t listen because they’ve already charted a course, which may or may not be practical.

It’s obvious that Lori Swanson isn’t a leader. It’s equally obvious that she’s cut from her predecessor’s cloth, that is, she’s cut from a dictator’s cloth.

As long as Lori Swanson is the AG, the culture established by Mr. Hatch will continue. That isn’t a culture that Minnesotans will embrace.

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