"I Don't Know" is not the right answer


The Blogland wonders if Lillian McBride, Richland County's director of elections, had Ozzy Osbourne's "I Don't Know" on her mind, but considering her inability to discuss the operations of her office and staff during yesterday's hearing with Richland County legislators, it's obvious she doesn't know much:

Everyone goes through changes
Looking to find the truth
Don't look to me for answers
Don't ask me, I don't know

Summoned to explain a series of problems which resulted in major delays in casting and counting Richland County votes, which included some Richland County voters waiting until 11:30 pm to cast ballots on Election Day, McBride seemed to evade answer after answer.


“My district, from your numbers, required close to 100 machines and it looks like a little over 50 were deployed — I still don’t know why,” Garrick said. 
McBride the process has been dragged out because of legal challenges and the need to be certain. “I don’t want to give you inaccurate information.”
Garrick concluded, “Who should the delegation hold responsible for what happened?”
McBride answered, “That is for the delegation to answer." 
Neal also questioned McBride about battery failures in machines.
“As soon as we find out, we will let you know,” McBride said.

If that's all the information information McBride can offer after three weeks, it's hard to see how much more forthcoming she'll be later on, when time has allowed peoples' attention to go elsewhere.

As a human resources professional, I know that mistakes happen and when people learn from those mistakes and sincerely work to make things right, it's often best to allow them to do so. But when they don't understand the mistakes or don't seem to take them seriously, it's usually best to fire them. That's also the opinion held by 94% of the respondents on a readers' poll on The State website.

Legislators shouldn't over-think the situation at hand. It's not a political matter - it's a personnel decision. In this personnel decision, the manager failed to manage, created a nightmare for thousands upon thousands of customers, and then tells the bosses to stuff it when they ask for answers about what went wrong.

Ask yourself what you'd do if someone like that worked for you and then it's easy to see what to do with McBride.

Fixing the problems with what went wrong with Richland County elections may be a complicated manner, but the first step seems simple: clean out the elections office and start over with qualified people who can manage the office.

1 Response to ""I Don't Know" is not the right answer"

  1. Felix Lee 30/11/12 11:41
    The best way to show incompetence is to say "I don't know" to things that one should know. The public deserves to know.

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