Alanna’s Kabel To Health Department Employees: Don’t Screw With Me! Don’t Complain To The Mayor

Alanna Kabel
Mess with Alanna Kabel and it’s see you later.

Whoa! If you’re a city Health Department employee don’t mess with Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Alanna Kabel. A recent “Memorandum” issued by Kabel to Health Department employees about “Chain of Command Policy” makes clear “Employees are not to skip the chain of command and contact the Mayor’s Office directly under any circumstances. Failure to follow the chain of command policy will be considered insubordinate behavior and may result in disciplinary action.”

Just imagine this: Mayor Bill Finch is out for a nice lunchtime stroll and he runs into a Health Department employee.

“How’s everything going?”

“Just great, mayor.”

“What’s new in the Health Department?”

“Everything’s just ducky, mayor.”

“Let me know if you need anything.”

“Well, mayor, come to think of it, we have this problem …”

Bam, you’ve violated the policy. So is this Kabel’s way of shielding the mayor’s office from problems? Or maybe mayoral personnel can’t be bothered? Suppose a Health Department employee uncovers corruption that involves a supervisor? This policy states “Employees are not to skip the chain of command and contact the Mayor’s Office directly under any circumstances.”

You can effectively lead the way in improving proactive communication in the workplace, check out Perelson’s article to learn more.

Talk about government by tyranny. Nothing like a gag order. The language below consists of the memorandum Kabel sent. The Mayor’s Office is copied on the letter. So is CAO Andy Nunn and Labor Relations Director Larry Osborne, just in case someone violates the policy and is written up. Health Department employees were required to sign that they received the memorandum.

Alanna Kabel, Asst. Chief Administrative Officer

Re: Chain of Command Policy

Within any organization, a well defined hierarchy of authority, communication, and responsibility is essential to effective management. This is commonly referred to as a chain of command. Within the Health Department all employees are to adhere to the following chain of command policy when an issue warrants management attention:

• All such issues are to be first brought to the attention of the employee’s immediate supervisor.

• If the issue remains unresolved, the employee may bring said issue to the attention of the Acting Deputy Director of Health once the employee has notified their immediate supervisor of same.

• In the event the issue is still not resolved, the employee may bring said issue to the attention of the Acting and/or Director of Health once the employee has notified the Acting Deputy Director of this intention.

• The decision of the Acting and/or Director of Health with regard to the issue will be final.

Employees are not to skip the chain of command and contact the Mayor’s Office directly under any circumstances. Failure to follow the chain of command policy will be considered insubordinate behavior and may result in disciplinary action.

Thank you for your cooperation.



  1. This is directed at one employee someplace, right? Someone whom they can’t fire and is making a serial pain out of him/herself.

    No mayor would want to be as disengaged as this memo details, I don’t think.

    It’s almost as if the writer of this memo got together with every OIB critic of the mayor who claim he is disengaged and concocted a letter to prove it.

  2. This is the action one has to take when appointed to a Dept. they have no clue how to run. The policies and procedures are unknown to them. They rule by intimidation and retaliation. They depend on certain individuals to help them perform their duties because they are clueless and incompetent to say the least. Remember though, they are connected! They know someone important! WOW! They are a dime a dozen in the City of Bridgeport. What is one to do? Where do you go if you have real issues to deal with? In the military they use the chain of command. A military member is also give the Right to Request Mast. Which means to bypass the Chain of Command and go right to the top! The C.O. The Man, The Commanding Officer! What a bunch of Assholes!

  3. *** The military runs on the chain of command concept for just about everything and it works! If used correctly it can save lots of time and embarrassment on the part of those in charge and doing their job. Running to the Mayor’s office every time you can’t get your way is a perfect example of not following your chain of command! Making everyone from top to bottom accountable for their jobs and what goes on in the workplace makes for a better work environment for all. Paper trails and following union contract-approved codes of employee conduct if fair, can help in keeping records on good and bad management and employees. I am not familiar with Ms. Kabel’s personal administrative work, good or bad so I will not comment. *** On the outside looking in? ***

    1. Mojo, are you condoning this letter? If there is something seriously wrong in a dept or if an employee sees something wrong or corrupt, then it is his obligation to tell the mayor without the threat of disciplinary action. This is pure and complete bullshit. Alanna should be brought up on charges of intimidating and bullying. There are laws against such behavior.

    2. Jim Callahan // Apr 18, 2012 at 2:46 pm
      To your posting

      And they helped her write it while appearing to be disengaged. But probably in the Wood office of the Finch/Wood administration.

  4. Alanna, this is commonly referred to as a gag order. What exactly are you trying to cover up that employees cannot speak up “under any circumstances?” I hope the rumors about the FBI are correct because this is some serious shit.

    1. Alanna is telling her department the Mayor would rather read about a serious problem in the Post (or even here on OIB) rather than have a chance to solve the problem before it becomes an embarrassment (or an FBI agent shows up at his door).

      I think we should support; nay, encourage Alanna on this.

  5. What is workplace bullying? It is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the target) by one or more perpetrators that takes one or more of the following forms:
    1. verbal abuse
    2. offensive conduct/behaviors that are threatening, humiliating or intimidating
    3. work interference–sabotage–which prevents work from getting done

  6. Why is workplace bullying a problem? Because it triggers a host of stress-related health complications–hypertension, auto-immune disorders, depression, anxiety and PTSD.

    Often it is the least skilled who attack the best and brightest workers because of the perceived threat they imagine. When the perpetrator has the power to deprive his or her target of a livelihood and the economic and health security the job represents, bullying is an abuse of authority.

  7. Just one more piece of evidence this is the most politically corrupt administration in decades. The arrogance is staggering. Not just the Health Department but all across the City Hall Annex, employees go to work each day terrified of what Wood, Nunn and now, again, Kabel will do. One wrong look or remark and they are on threat of suspension. This is unbelievable–really. Unbelievable. Not an accident that DuBay Horton’s blood pressure hit the roof. Are we really living this reality??? Oh and by the way, tolerating it??? Bill Finch is a total loser. He lucked into this position because no one else would step up, he hired a bunch of losers who are retaliating for all the injustices they think they have suffered over their lives and now he thinks he is the second coming of Christ–and by the way, the guy doesn’t even believe in God. Finch, Wood, Nunn and Kabel need to go–asap. There must be someplace far away that would take them.

    1. Kristin DuBay Horton is not the only employee made physically ill by this administration. The mayor, Adam, Andy, Alanna and Larry O. target people who they don’t like or who are older and close to retirement and they try to break them. It is surreal at times, the things they do to people. Other managers and employees know it’s wrong but they stay silent for fear of their own jobs. Instead of staying silent, they need to get together and file a class-action suit.

  8. I wonder how many people, besides myself, come back from lunch every day and see John Gomes outside and wonder what could have been if people had put their money where their mouths were.
    Instead we go through the motions wondering what’s next or who is next to be run off and replaced by a friend of.

  9. This post leaves me a little confused. What Mrs. Kabel did here was simply reiterate what looks to be a standard policy until …

    “The decision of the Acting and/or Director of Health with regard to the issue will be final.

    Employees are not to skip the chain of command and contact the Mayor’s Office directly under any circumstances. Failure to follow the chain of command policy will be considered insubordinate behavior and may result in disciplinary action.”

    What I don’t get is how she feels she has the authority to supersede overarching City Employee Policy. Is this the way the Employee handbook is written? Is the Health Department a different universe than the rest of the City Departments? Does the City maintain silo-managed Human Resources functions for each department? This memo smacks of: Something has happened that Mrs. Kabel did not care for, and instead of risking singling out the individual she is trying to get her point across in a blanket manner and can claim she has not engaged in any disparate activity. Well, now she singles out a whole department instead. Nice going, Alanna!

  10. Kabel does not have the authority to impose so drastic a policy. This is tantamount to egregious harassment. Affected Health Department employees should sue.

  11. A qualified Labor Relations Director would have cautioned Alanna against sending such a letter. yahooy is correct in that you cannot impose a policy which discriminates against/targets a select group of employees. That is illegal.

    While Andy and John Marshall Lee are dissecting the budget, they should look for the line item that pays outside attorneys hired by the City to defend discriminatory actions against employees. Also look for a line item that compensates the employees (and their attorneys) for actions taken against them. My guess is these lines will total over a million dollars.

    Besides the obvious legal issues and costs, stuff like this creates a hostile work environment; negatively impacts worker productivity and causes increased health care costs. It is bad, bad management.

  12. Tom McCarthy is a labor attorney and must know this is unethical, illegal and immoral. However, he wants to keep his overpaid/no-show Deputy Director job so he keeps his mouth shut. Plus, isn’t Alanna his cousin? You can’t make this stuff up.

  13. Where is Warren Blunt on all this? After all he works or at least puts in his time at the health department. Where is the state on the issue of a health director? We know Kabel is not qualified for this position.

  14. The workplace bullying doesn’t apply to councilmen Warren and Rich, only the people who actually work for a living. There is no health director unless you count the acting director from Trumbull/Monroe who is under Alanna’s thumb. This is an effort to dismantle the health dept and cut the services to those who need them most. This is easily done if there is no director and the employees are under a gag order.

  15. Harley, thanks, I forgot Paoletta. These two idiots are supposed to look after the people of Bridgeport and that includes the city workers. It amazes me grown men like these two have no backbone. They spend their time kissing political asses just so they can have a job they are not qualified for. How do you do that? Does it mean you have no backbone? How do you face your family and your kids knowing you are a spineless piece of shit? Maybe one day I will ask both of them.

    1. The Bridgeport Kid // Apr 19, 2012 at 10:50am
      To your posting

      No one you would want to know unless you find affinity with vicious, petty, punitive behavior. Trust me on this. I know.

  16. Alanna Kabel has no business being in the position she is in. She has no skill or experience in managing a Health Department. This fact alone could put the people of this town who need those services at great risk. The liability, in this regard, to the city is huge and a completely unnecessary risk. We as citizens deserve to have a Health Department that is fully functional and managed by a person who knows what they are doing when it comes to preserving the health of the community. Shame on Testa for putting her in this position. Shame.


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