If it weren’t presented in this morning’s newspaper as if it were legitimate news, it would be easy to laugh off this “Top Places to Work” supplement. But what caught my eye was the listing of the city of Jeffersontown as the city’s top mid-size employer.
Upon closer inspection, you find out that the insert is a product of a 4-year-old company with an office in Pennsylvania called Workplace Dynamics, which conducts employee surveys. The company asked 876 local companies to participate in this survey, and a whopping 78 did so. About 9 percent.
Would you be surprised to know that all the ads in the 20-page insert are from companies on the Top Companies list?
This dubiously-presented ranking doesn’t rankle me so much, as least not as much as the gullibility the publication thinks of its readers. An article by Joe Ward on Jeffersontown presents former Mayor Clay Foreman as a progressive leader, neglecting to mention his 20-point loss in last November’s election or any of the nefarious scandals (affairs, drugs, gasoline, police promotions) that he oversaw during his decade in office.
No, what really gets me is that the story fails to even get the name of his successor right. It calls the new Mayor Bill DIERUST. It is, of course, DIERUF.
The story featured Foreman, rather than Dieruf, and quotes him saying how happy the 108 employees are. There are anonymous quotes from the surveys about how wonderful the leadership was under Foreman. Oh, yeah, it also quotes a city director on how great everything is, but they spell Chris Raque’s name wrong, too.
I asked Brad Silveria, a former police dispatcher who is involved in litigation with the city over his firing by Foreman, who told me he thought the ranking was a big joke.
“I beg to differ that under Clay Foreman’s leadership that it was a great place to work,” Silveria said. “He ran the city as his own personal kingdom.”
Sure, Silveria’s got an ax to grind, but the presentation of this “news” supplement as a legitimate ranking is absurd. Remember, 9 in 10 companies refused to participate, and the winners were all hit up for advertising. Amazingly, many of them bought in.
Nowhere in the supplement is there advisory to readers to suggest that the content should be considered any less objective than what’s on the front page. But it’s not.