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Mayor's Office

Memo to City Employees
from Mayor Chris Beutler


Dear City Employee:

If I were a City employee, I'd expect these things from a Mayor:

Those are reasonable expectations. I accept them and will do my best to honor them. If I don't, you can quote this email to me chapter and verse, and tell me where I let you down. I will listen.

You deserve to know what I expect of City employees as well.

An area where I have high expectations is how City employees should treat the public. The simple answer is Awith civility,Ē unconditional civility, even when we are not being treated with respect. Even in those circumstances when people yell at us, curse at us, insult us or hang up on us, we must not respond in kind. Regardless of how it began or who started the incivility, I want City employees to respond respectfully, professionally and courteously.

You can defend your ideas vigorously. You can and should share information and formulate solutions. You have a right to speak clearly, vigorously and authentically. But when you are on the City clock, these must be done in as civil a fashion as possible.

When we face anger or frustration, the best solution is to try to understand the personís point of view, rather than denying the validity of their feelings. Once we understand the source of the personís concern, we can share our knowledge and formulate solutions.

Our first resort is to listen. Our last resort is to politely exit an exchange that has become profane, contains ethnic, sexual or personal slurs or is threatening in nature. In those circumstances, the person behaving inappropriately should be politely referred to the department head or the Mayor's office.

The standard is no different in a public forum with public officials. Use appropriate titles and formal names unless you have been invited to be informal. Respond with respect and civility no matter the topic or tenor of the discussion. I don't accept provocation as an excuse for unprofessional conduct.

The standard is no different in an internal exchange with fellow employees. These people are your teammates. Never be disrespectful or unkind.

You have my feelings on this matter. Now I want yours.

If this expectation is unreasonable or unclear, I want to know it. If this is a standard I should not expect or apply, I want to know why. If there is something about dealing with the public I don't understand, I want to understand now.

I'm asking you to tell me candidly and confidentially what you think. You may email me at mayor@lincoln.ne.gov. I will read your thoughts even if you choose to send them anonymously. When two weeks of discourse between us is over, I will write a letter to the editor of the Journal Star explaining the expectations I have of City employees. I will tell the public what they have a right to expect from City employees under the Beutler Administration.

I am grateful to City employees for the hard work and great results you produce each and every day. I am proud to be your Mayor. I hope by working together on this issue, we can set an example for others to follow.

Sincerely,

Chris Beutler
Mayor of Lincoln


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