Looking at revelations of overly secretive behavior within the MA Department of Transportation, I quote from a Boston Globe story:
[O]ne transportation consultant . . . compared the atmosphere to President Nixon’s White House.
The consultant, C. David Taugher, wrote in a March internal report, “How deep does the culture go where nobody says anything, even when they know they should?’’Then, I implicitly raise these questions:
Can't we draw lessons from process improvement in hospitals -- the power of transparency and a just culture -- and apply them in the political environment? Isn't it worth trying? Wouldn't it represent a powerful form of leadership for elected officials?
Here's my conclusion. Do you agree?
It is, indeed, an unusual organization that does not look for scapegoats when something goes wrong. The press coverage of the DOT this summer has made clear that a fear of blame underlies the senior officials in the agency. It is precisely at a time like this that those in charge – in this case, the governor and the secretary of transportation – must make it clear that their goal is for lessons to be learned, not to punish for real or perceived lapses. Holding someone accountable does not mean firing him. It means that the person has acknowledged the error and is committed to improving the organization’s capability for the future.
It will be a measure of this governor’s commitment to transparency if his administration adopts such a just culture and his cabinet head acts thoughtfully to change an environment in which the public is put at risk.