An Open Letter to the Presidential Candidates:

Dear Senators McCain and Obama,

We appreciate your interest in the position of President of the United States. Surviving this far into the screening process has been an arduous and daunting task. You both wish the best for America. You differ on which road to take in order to arrive at the destination. We get that.

We recommend that both of you stop telling us about your vision for America. It is our vision that counts — you seek to be our employee. Start by listening to our visions for America. The Hiring Board can take exception at being told what we need. We wrote the job description and posted the job opportunity.

We live in real America, not Washington, DC, and here’s what we’re hearing in our neighborhoods: It’s okay to have party differences. Differing opinions make for balanced decisions. Stop looking for contention, find common ground and work from there. We know this is hard, especially in the Beltway, but we stockholders would sure appreciate seeing actual work accomplished. Spend time on matters where you can make a positive impact, and don’t point fingers or lay blame. We anticipate successes not excuses. If something “ain’t broke”, don’t waste our time on it. We are paying for, and expect positive results while you’re on our clock. America is an owner controlled enterprise. We have a bottom line — economically and socially. Utilize our resources, including our time, prudently.

If hired, occasionally you may be required to work independent of our supervision. Give us examples of your prior work product, specific decisions you made, and the reasoning behind them. Tell us about some failures. If an outcome was unsuccessful, how did you correct it? How will you apply that experience in the future? Your first mistake on a point is often a training matter. The same mistake twice is a judgment issue.

Don’t tell us negatives about each other. That’s whining, and we don’t want whiners infecting our corporate team. We want a cooperative, team oriented workforce. Our company has been in business over 230 years. The Hiring Board is adept at its job. We want you to tell us about you. We will decide which of you will make predictable and sound decisions while advocating for our vision. You can want the job, but it will be filled based on our needs.

You seek the CEO position. We will require you hire ethical, moral and qualified managers. As we will hold you accountable for the entire operation, we expect you to hold your managers responsible for their teams. We expect you and your managers to keep the lines of communication open — we are a 24/7 business. You must set realistic and flexible guidelines for subordinates. America is a large and diverse organization – one size often doesn’t fit all. Local flexibility has high value. These are deal breakers for us. If you are hired and we detect problems in these skill sets we will take strong corrective action.

It is easy to lead when all is going well. Sometimes “things happen”. When they do, tell us at the first reasonable opportunity. Seek our counsel. We will help find solutions. It’s our company and we’re vested in its success. We promise to listen to your recommendations, and will demand the same respect from you.

Thank you for your interest. We have your contact information and after completing our review of your resumes, we will let you know our hiring decision in November.

Bob Cotterell, Jr.,
Roseburg, OR
Member, America’s 2008 Presidential Hiring Board