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Study: State worker mentality makes Sacramento State a management challenge


The Sacramento Bee - July 24, 2012

Employees at California State University, Sacramento, are difficult to manage because of a "state worker environment" fostered by the school's bureaucratic neighbors, according to an report commissioned by officials and obtained by The Bee.

Interim Vice President for Human Resources Christine Lovely asked McKnight Associates Inc., aWestlake Village-based university HR consulting firm, to follow up on a 2006 study that examined the school's Office of Human Resources. The firm gave its findings to officials in April, noting that the university's grievance caseload at the time was two to three times that of any other CSU campuses surveyed.

The numbers:

Sacramento: 114
Long Beach: 52
San Jose: 46
San Francisco: 38
Northridge: 37
Fullerton: 32

Sacramento State's Office of Employment Equity last year fielded 77 formal complaints of discrimination, harassment, retaliation and other types of civil rights issues, McKnight reported, and spent$83,885 for outside firms to investigate employment issues.

"It is also noted that grievances from the CSUEU union account for about two-thirds of the total," the report says.

McKnight said that the same problems existed six years ago, and cites a key passage of the 2006 report as a big reason:

"There was a consensus among those interviewed that the campus culture presents a challenging workforce to manage. It was most frequently described as a 'state worker' environment greatly influenced by its close proximity to the bureaucratic attitudes of State offices. It was made clear by mid-level administrators that a high level of 'management fatigue' in dealing with this environment has historically been present."

We verified the report's authenticity with Sacramento State. Here it is: