I am sure I am not making it on the CDPHE Christmas card list after this story played on the CBS news.
Fairly or not, the interview came out harsh. I do stand by my statement that the initial response was a failure. It needed to be clearly and succinctly stated and I would do so again. It is my opinion, I knew while I was saying it that it would come out harshly and I do not think it is even a remotely unreasonable one. I want to be perfectly clear that that is not a personal attack on the actual people involved though. I am sure that it feels like it but in these kinds of situations I do not believe that it is people that fail but systems and processes.
A long time ago I had a job as a quality/process control engineer in a manufacturing plant. At one point I had to blow the whistle on aspects of the production process to the highest levels of the corporation. I expected the workers involved to hate me. On the contrary they thanked me. The truth was that everybody involved truly wanted to make the best product possible but the process and culture was systematically forcing them to do otherwise. In an enlightened response the leadership of the corporation came down hard on responsible management and the negative cultural forces instead of the workers. I and others were given the full authority to fix the process and the pressure on the workers to do the wrong thing disappeared. Quality went through the roof and I developed a gratifying relationship of mutual respect with the workers involved. I learned a valuable lesson that I will never forget. The overwhelming percentage of people do the best possible job that they can given the processes, resources, systems and cultural pressures that they are working with.
I honestly hope that somebody takes my opinion to heart and thinks about improving the system. I have no doubt however that the people involved at all levels including CDPHE, Suncor and the Tri-County Health Department are good people. Fathers, mothers, daughters and sons just doing a job the best they can with what they are given.