By Monica Alonzo
By Stephen Lemons
By Jason P. Woodbury
By Dulce Paloma Baltazar Pedraza
By Ray Stern
By Pete Kotz
By Monica Alonzo
By New Times
Who's going to listen to a bunch of people who say their boss is a bitch?" says another ex-manager. Especially when she comes out on TV and says: `Look at these poor homeless people. For $6 a night, we give them everything.'"
A third person who used to work for Orton says: You can't believe the number of times I would go back to my office and say, `Is it just me?' The thing that did me in was when I'd be driving home at night and I'd be crying. I'd never felt that way in my life."
Orton managed through very subtle intimidation," recalls Wendy LeWin, a former case manager at CASS who quit last September. She's now social-services coordinator at Casa Companera, a nonprofit agency that serves Central American refugees. Mary gave the cold shoulder to people who spoke up and complained. She'd try and make a fool of us in meetings, which she was real good at doing.
She's an extremely intelligent woman," LeWin says of Orton. In some ways, I respect her a lot. In terms of her management style, I don't like it at all."
Barb Tennis, former volunteer coordinator at CASS, says talk of staff burnout" is a cop-out by the board and management. That's very convenient to hide behind," she says.
Tennis, who was fired last April during a dispute with Orton about a leave of absence, filed a lawsuit last week in Maricopa County Superior Court against CASS, claiming breach of contract and wrongful discharge.
Nonprofit [agencies] have a moral duty to take care of the human concerns of their employees," says Tennis. A homeless shelter should know better than anybody else. Believe me, I met so many homeless people who lost their jobs due to similar situations. I'm just damn lucky that I have a husband who makes a decent salary."
Orton says she wasn't aware that Tennis had filed a lawsuit and couldn't comment on Tennis' termination. It's illegal for me to talk to you about personnel matters," she says.
Orton acknowledges she had a personality conflict" with one top manager. When that person quit last summer, Orton says, she was forced to consider how she treats her staff. She admits to being demanding." I have a tendency of being so wrapped around the task that I forget about the people," she says. Clearly, there were issues, and if I wanted to remain CEO of this agency, I had to change."
Orton describes the problem the way any executive would: I've done quite a bit of introspection. It's a stressful job, and I have very high standards for integrity and job performance, and I need to be very up-front about it."
Last July, Orton says, a friend at the state Department of Economic Security, one of the agencies that funds CASS, talked to her about her management style. She said I get so intense that it's construed as a put-down," Orton says.
Since that talk, Orton has carried a note in her appointment book. Be a light, not a judge," the note reads. Be a model, not a critic."
part 2 of 2
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