When I first read the Olympian article titled,” Agency draws heat for $600,000 spent on morale workshop,” it was tempting to get swept up in media-sponsored outrage. Rather than get upset, I read the entire article and saw that DSHS like any large enterprise has an investment in keeping and retaining an engaged workforce.
With budget cuts being the norm since 2008, state employees have been abused and neglected like the children DSHS caseworkers manage. No cost of living increases, pay and benefit cuts, staff reductions, and larger workloads have left state employees with rock bottom morale. When DSHS finally has the leadership and the gumption to take small steps to address morale and engagement issues, KIRO radio and The Olympian step in to expose the supposed misuse of funds.
Then like a perfectly choreographed musical, Republican state Sen. Mark Schoesler chimes in with his outrage that feeds the Tea Party extremists. He was quoted saying that the attempt to improve employee morale at the small average cost of $200.00 per employee for a two-day workshop is an outrage to taxpayers.
It’s time to stop grandstanding and start to recognize the value of a well trained and supported workforce. With the November elections around the corner, we can expect more abuses to state employees if the Senate remains in Republican hands.
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