Herman: Male or female? You make the call.


Let’s play “Guess the Gender.” The rules are simple. I’ll tell you some facts. You’ll attempt to guess the gender of the person in question.

This one should be easy. I’m guessing you’re going to guess male.

Fact one: An Austin city employee, instead of doing the required research, inserted a bunch of made-up names in a report.

Hmm. Male or female?

Fact two: Many of the names were of questionable taste.

Slow down. Let’s delve a bit deeper before you jump to a conclusion as to the gender of the city employee in question.

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In an April 5 notice of disciplinary action, David Hood of Austin Energy placed an agency employee on six months of disciplinary probation because, “Your conduct is considered inappropriate for the workplace. …”

“You are expected to refrain from using behavior or language that is disruptive, unprofessional, offensive, threatening and/or disrespectful including, but not limited to, horseplay, gossip, profanity, the mishandling of information, or communication that is untrue or inappropriate in a professional work environment.”

One must ask this: What fun would work be without horseplay or gossip? And is horseplay also frowned upon for jockeys?

The city disciplinary report includes details of the Feb. 5 offense: “Recently, you sent an email as part of a work assignment that contained made up names with references to bodily functions and carrying a sexual connotation.”

“As part of the work assignment you were to determine 21 names that were missing from a Multi-Family Rebate Program data migration operation. Despite being given multiple options to secure the names such as searching the hard files, using different databases or contacting other agencies, you intentionally chose a different path in which to secure and acquire the correct names.”

Sometimes it is good to choose a different path. Sometimes.

The report continues: “Contrary to the options given to you, you chose not to follow those options and instead you intentionally used the following made-up names in your email.”

What follows is perhaps the most comprehensive list of this type I’ve ever seen. One must ponder whether the employee knew these names or did some research to compile the list. Either way, impressive. Immature, but impressive.

Join me now as we travel down memory lane back to the sixth grade:

“Dick Hertz, Ima Dumas, Dick Johnson, Al Coholic, Oliver Closeof, I.P. Freely, Jacques Strap, Seymour Butz, Hugh Jass, Mike Rotch, Amanda Huginkiss. Ollie Tabooger, Ahmed Adoudi, Ima Weiner, Moe Ron, Tess T. Khols, Lee V. Mediately, I.M. Adope, Stu Piddiddiott. Isabel Wringing and Anita Bath.”

The employee was told, “These names are both offensive and highly inappropriate in the workplace.”

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In the “mitigating or aggravating circumstances” section, it’s noted that the offending employee “stated to (an investigator) that ‘You know I have no filter.’”

Supervisors noted, “You have been warned previously about making inappropriate comments in the workplace.”

Hence, six months of probation.

So, what do you think? Male or female? As usual, I know what you’re thinking. But good for you if you know a female who’s enough of a Stu Piddiddiott to do something like this. Though it’s not a credit to my gender, it takes Tess T. Kohls to do something this dumb.

I’m opting not to report the male employee’s name. You can find that detail in an online post by my colleague Elizabeth Findell, who came upon this report as part of her coverage of Austin City Hall. Not much gets past her.

Seems like the punishment could have been more severe than six months of probation. He could have been told to Lee V. Mediately.

One more thing: Lest we think one gender has a monopoly on typing dumb stuff, I respectfully call your attention to Kendall Pace, the recently resigned president of the Austin school board.



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