Rocky Anderson

Maybe Mayor Rocky Anderson isn't such a bad guy after all.

A new employee opinion poll — taken in November but made public this week — shows most staffers in the mayor's office have a good sense of teamwork and high employee morale.

Anderson pressed the local news media this week to give some coverage to the poll, which he says counters the idea that he is a cruel, demanding boss and hard to work for.

"The results of that survey are so counter to the way the media has been portraying what's going on here," he said. "In fact, the survey reflects that the morale in this office is better than in any other department in city government . . . We love each other."

And the survey said so.

The report, which was tabulated by NCS Pearson and the Brigham Young University Statistics Department, concluded that "there does seem to be a strong sense of teamwork in the Mayor's Office." Also, surveyors concluded "job morale is very high for those that work in the Mayor's Office."

The survey is done semi-annually for all departments at City Hall.

Anderson took some political hits two weeks ago when he fired long-time friend and communications director Deeda Seed, who complained that Anderson often berated her and mistreated her. Christy Cordwell, another good friend and the mayor's personal assistant, quit the same day and has hired an attorney who specializes in workforce-related lawsuits.

City Council members have widely agreed with Seed's comments saying they are tired of living with Anderson's sometimes gruff style.

The survey's positive results did little to dissuade council members who insist Anderson's style is hurting city business. They point to the fact that 41 of Anderson's former mayoral employees have left the office during his tenure. Also, more than 30 of Anderson's mayoral appointees have left City Hall during the mayor's tenure.

"It's not a leadership style that I think is very effective," Councilman Eric Jergensen said. "I just know from our end it's very difficult to work with this administration."

Anderson maintains it's difficult to work with the council and often complains that they take too long processing his initiatives.

Like Jergensen, Councilman Dave Buhler downplays the employee opinion survey, which he regards as "kind of like polling your family. When you've got an office holder who hand-picks a staff, I would hope that they all support him," Buhler said.

Local low-income housing advocate Tim Funk believes the friction between the mayor and the council is making it hard to work with City Hall. Funk is concerned about a very low-income hotel project on State Street between 200 South and 300 South that the city owns. He says the rift between the council and the mayor is making it hard for city staffers to develop policy enabling it to be a good landlord for the tenants.

"The conflict between the mayor and the city council is fine except it puts these people in jeopardy," Funk said.