Thursday, February 21, 2013

What political talk at work is permitted?

To what extent is "political" talk permitted at work?

Let's say, particularly, at the McHenry County Sheriff's Department, where "Seldom Seen" Nygren gets paid $145,000/year (or more) and is believed to spend a considerable amount of time away from the office and leaves the running of the Department to the Undersheriff, who is already an announced candidate for election in 2014.

What's the rule at MCSD? Is any political chatter allowed? Is any legal?

What if deputies want to support a challenger in the 2014 primary election?  At what risk to their employment future dare they either mention a challenger's name, express support for a challenger, or fail to express support for the Undersheriff?

Suppose a sergeant or lieutenant or captain asks a rank-and-file deputy what he thinks about the Undersheriff or if he plans to support the Undersheriff's bid for election.

What a loaded question! It's one that a rank-and-file deputy cannot answer without stepping out to the edge of the plank. Therefore, it's a question that should never be asked. Never, as in n-e-v-e-r. Either at work or away from work.

Then what happens if a deputy wants to support one of the challengers? It'll take about two split seconds for word to get back to the supervisors.

Is it possible to have a rule that deputies can freely support anyone they wish and, so long as they do their jobs well, they will not be punished? Or do they have to live with the risk of retaliation or retribution?


MrBullValley said...

Retribution at MCSD never...

Curious1 said...

I think their are realities in life. You are more protected in the public sector if you try to have your boss replaced than in the private sector. However human nature being what it is if you try to drive someone else out of a job they are less likely to be as concerned if you keep yours. We have a wonderful array of choices in life but you always have to weigh consequences.