Birgitta Meade of Decorah sends the following letter to the editor:
Thank you Paul Scott for being willing to conduct some investigative journalism. If you charged for subscriptions, I'd buy them for all my friends and relatives who care about Decorah.
Community members have noticed in the last few years that many of our well-loved public and private institutions have experienced sudden inexplicable disappearances of bedrock employees. The staff who are left behind keep dutifully grinning and saying "Buy our stuff !", but they are scared for their own jobs and we can smell their fear. Good, kind, capable people are brought in to replace those who have been purged. The newbies are instructed to ignore those who speak up or ask difficult questions because they are "naive" or "cynical" or "living in the past." But everyone suspects deep down that a secretive and authoritarian management style is slow poison.
These institutions lose credibility with the public as they embrace a lean mean corporate business model. In their pursuit of the "bottom line" they foolishly discard that which is easily lost and cannot be bought back, trust.
People and organizations are ultimately judged not by how they treat one another when times are good, but how they treat one another when times are difficult. I think the people of Decorah are big hearted and forgiving - even of cruel mistakes, but the mistakes need to be openly discussed so that they are not repeated. The mistakes that are kept secret fester.
I applaud your efforts to challenge the people of Decorah to cast aside the willful ignorance that has kept us from first acknowledging, and then correcting, and then moving on from trust destroying business decisions.