November 2007

We’ve heard it said many times before that athletes aren’t, or shouldn’t be, role models for our children. After all, they just play games.

Seems adults shouldn’t view the business side of sports as a role model, either. This, especially so after the management cowardice recently exhibited by the New York Yankees executive team in its handling of now deposed manager Joe Torre.

First, I’m not a Yankee fan, so I am neither pleased nor disappointed with Torre’s departure. What did interest me was how this situation was managed.

As managers, we know that managing means being unpopular sometimes, and that takes courage to make a clear choice and stand by it. But the Yankees, now run by George Steinbrenner’s sons, tried to spin this situation so that they might appear classier than Torre. They made him a bogus offer, knowing that he’d have no choice but to decline it because he’d view it as disrespectful. Sure, the Yankees expect to be in the World Series every year and management has every right to demand their manager takes them there. But why not just fire him, or in this case, not renew his contract? Were they worried that he’d file an unemployment claim against them? No, what they did was try to make Torre seem disloyal by making it appear that he was the one to jump ship.

Would we do that to someone on our staff or crew? George Steinbrenner would not have, either. He was rarely popular, but he was respected, which is what managers need to be effective.

One final note: We at Superintendent’s Profile graciously thank all who attended and exhibited at the recent N.Y.S. Highway & Public Works Expo. Show coverage begins on page 36. We look forward to seeing all of you again next year. P

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