Misty Water Colored Memories

On an audio tape of a recent staff meeting, MAS supervisor David Johnson is heard telling workers:

That old shit that we used to do is over with!  I tell you every day, CYA – cover your ass.

ABC24 ran a segment about the recording but I can’t find the clip on their website.  Here is an alternate source for the vid. (Thank you Clarice!AddedABC24 now has the clip on their site.  (Thanks Samantha.)

Am I the only one who hears Mr. Johnson reminiscing about days gone by and gets Barbra Streisand stuck in my head?

16 thoughts on “Misty Water Colored Memories

  1. “Cover your ass”? For real? THAT’S his instruction to employees?

    How about “We do things right and by the book! If you see something that needs to be done, you do it. If you see a problem, you report it. If you think something’s not right, you do something about it. The public will not see us as professionals worthy of respect until we start acting like professionals worthy of respect!”


  2. He would not have to tell his workers to CYA if they did things correctly and legally in the first place and treat animals with respect! It sounds as if the department needs an updated procedure manual and then follow it. Oh wait, perhaps they did as it states in the City of Memphis 2010 Annual Report in the Administrator’s Report for MAS by Matthew Pepper:


    I would love to see the Policies and Procedures Manual for MAS!

  3. When I watched the video, the problem seemed to be for the employees and the reporter. How he spoke to them, the cussing??. Forget the cussing,!! Hell my problem is that he was telling them CYA, and stated that he was doing the same. As far as I am concerned that is admission of guilt and he should be removed from his “J-O-B” A-S-A-P….Is there something in the water there in Memphis that causes sudden integrity elimination? Should have that looked into..If my employees talked like that, and did such a piss poor job, I am quite confident they would be out the damned door.

  4. I wonder if in the long version he was any more specific about how to perform better. Forgive me if I doubt that he referred to the shelters that have stopped most of the killing, and how they did it. I am not a prude regarding language, but to speak to your staff in a work setting like that just underscores the lack of anything resembling professional conduct at this facility. And speaking of the facility, what a shame they chose to take those precious resources and build the typical “prison shelter”, instead of looking around at the far superior alternative, as described here and in the videos linked to this site– http://www.shelterrevolution.org

  5. The presenter says she’s told that Mayor Wharton doesn’t speak to his employees like that but does anyone remember this little gem?

    How is the rep Wharton sent insulting Memphis citizens who are offering to volunteer any better?

    That supervisor should not have the position he has. He’s obviously immature and is more focussed on protecting the staff than the animals they’re torturing. God what a chook raffle.

  6. On the CYA thing, although it sounds bloody terrible, to be fair I don’t think he meant this in the context of “keep torturing animals just be more careful about not getting caught”. I think it was a poorly chosen phrase but he was basically saying he’s not going to protect anyone any more and they all need to start doing their jobs properly.

    Makes you wonder who it was that recorded this conversation though and what their motives were. Obviously this guy is someone at least one staff member is gunning for. Such a shame they’re not putting their surveillance talents to use to help the animals.

      1. So Idlewild Blue, do you think the supervisor is part of the problem or the solution? Would the animals be better off with or without him there?

    1. I got a mixed message from it: All this that you’ve been getting away with you won’t any more – so long as you ‘cover your ass,’ that is (as I interpret it in this context) do the minimum your job requires.

      On the other hand, he did sound exasperated beyond all patience by the workers’ refusal to do even that minimum, and judging from his complaints our suspicions regarding the work ethic at MAS are confirmed: no-one there does squat if they can get away with it.

      1. One thing I would like clarification on is the stuff they used to do and get away with – what is that exactly? An extra ten minutes at lunch? Not enough starch in the uniforms? Something else?

      2. Not no one Eucritta (although I know it feels that way), we’ve seen at least a couple of people do their jobs properly. It sounds like this supervisor and of course god knows who above him, have been enabling this standard of behaviour. I wonder how he came to be supervisor and if he was promoted from within? It’s much harder to dob in your mates. I agree he’s not asking anyone to go above and beyond but even if people just do their job it would be an improvement (it won’t reduce the kill rate though). I know when you’re working in a place surrounded by slack arses who would rather smoke and have coffee breaks every 10 mins it can be a real test for anyone’s work ethic to keep putting in 100% because you end up doing everybody else’s job as well (my partner is in this situation at the moment). Especially if you’ve got a weakling supervisor who thinks he’s doing people a favour by protecting the slackers and bullies (if they’re getting off on torturing animals then there’s no way they’d hesitate to bully anyone who dared to go against them).

        And Shirley, I agree I also wonder if there was a staff meeting about the recent allegations and how they were going to be addressed? If there’s anyone out there who has a recording of that meeting I’d love to hear it ;)

      3. He says, ‘no more play time,’ which suggests to me something more serious than stretching lunch break. But yeah, I’d like to know what it was.

        As to what it wasn’t, what strikes me as I think about it – in the clip provided, I don’t think he mentions the animals. He talks about phones not answered, memos – memos unheeded? untyped? – the filthy trucks, broken equipment … but not the pets ostensibly under their care.

  7. He sounds totally frustrated with those employees. Like he’s beat his head against the wall and has gone over and over those things. I think the CYA was a poor choice of words on his part, but I think he meant that HE would not be covering for anyone any longer.

    We can pick apart his language and his choice of words, but he was passionate and I’m ready for someone to have a higher level of expectations for MAS and it’s employees.

    And I’m sure whoever recorded that didn’t have to look far for inspiration. Memphis area (Collierville) football Shawn Abel recently lost his coaching position in a very similar incident. His pregame speech to his team was recorded by a disgruntled student and posted on the internet and went viral…

  8. I know exactly what he meant by “memos not taken” or “phones calls not answered.” I’ve called to report real abuse to dogs right here in my “hood” and had to call & call & call before I ever got a response. Days or weeks after the facts I would finally hear from them, “There was no problem,” or “What was that address again?”

    I applaud the guy for giving them hell. Employees complaining about the LANGUAGE was only a smoke screen for the MESSAGE.

Leave a Reply