Rank and File Scientists Demanding our Rights

Ex-CAPS Board member Lauren Wold view on Blanning & Baker

—–Original Message—–
From: Wold, Lauren
Sent: Thursday, November 04, 2010 10:26 AM
To: Cosentino, Giorgio (CDPH-CID-DCDC-VRDL)
Subject: FW: Regarding CAPS

Hi Giorgio,

My experience with CAPS lead me to believe that it was a money making venture on the part of Blanning and Baker for Blanning and Baker rather
than a true representative organization working on behalf of the State Scientists. I came to this conclusion when it became evident to me that
Chris Voit and Matt Austin (I forget the correct spelling of their names) held a tight reign on the communications between the Board Members and the Board Members’ constituents. With the exception of my PHM co-workers at the State Lab, I was prevented from directly contacting the people whom I was representing. Many of the CAPS members I represented were employed somewhere other than 850 Marina Bay Parkway. Blanning and Baker had CAPS Members’ contact information but would not share this with me. I was told that if there was something I wanted to ask or say to the people in the district I represented I needed to go through the CAPS office or discuss it with the “Inner Circle” (my term for Matt A. and Chris V.). When I did bring up issues at the Board Meetings I was told condescendingly and in no uncertain terms “you are new here” and “we will deal with this”. But these issues that I knew and thought to be issues of concern, at least with PHMs at the State Lab were subsequently ignored and dropped. Also, when I brought up issues such as pay parity, safety at the workplace, reinstating the shuttle bus from the State Lab to BART there was never any discussion at the Board Meetings. All the other Board Members would simultaneously turn to look at Chris V. to hear what he would say which would usually be a vague response and dismissive . Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed with the other Board Members for not wanting to discuss what might be serious options or impediments to moving ahead with issues on concern. Pay and safety are everybody’s concern. The shuttle bus may have been unique to the State Lab employees but the employees elsewhere may benefit in the future with a similar situation. (We did get the shuttle back but it was not because of Blanning and Baker’s input. There were State employees, not even CAPS members, who were very hard working and effective in reinstating the shuttle.)

In my opinion Blanning and Baker ran CAPS in the manner of an oligarchy rather than a democracy where the Board Members and the monthly board  meetings gave the impression of a dynamic, interactive participatory organization. But, again, in my opinion, the “Inner Circle” called the shots and the Board Members were mere impotent figureheads either because they were satisfied enough just to be “in the club” or they were
intimidated by the “Inner Circle”.

Another thing that bothered me was how Blanning and Baker used our lobbyist. Lobbyist get paid big money. Our lobbyist got paid big money.  The amount is voted on by the Board Members “guided” by guess who… I felt that the general membership should be in on understanding what the lobbyist did, does and can do.  The few times the lobbyist came to speak to the Board Members he spent most of the time essentially gossiping about who in Sacramento eats at which restaurant, who is vacationing with whom, who has what kind of boat! I’m not joking! We need to hold him accountable and show us what he is doing on our behalf and prove that he is effective in the job we hired him to do.

Good luck, Giorgio.



September 2, 2011 - Posted by | CAPS HISTORY | , , , ,

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