|School Board Candidate's
'Scientology' Business Tactics
Once Profiled in WSJ
|Wall Street Journal
Excerpts from WSJ Investigative Report (click
here to read article)
Scientology Methods At Allstate
"After taking the classes, territorial-sales
manager Jeffrey Swanty talked
constantly about management by
statistics, says David Richardson, the
former Allstate manager who attended
the course with him. To apply the ideas,
Mr. Richardson says, Mr. Swanty
developed a system under which the
worst-performing agent and the
worst-performing manager in his
territory would be required to reach a
series of daily, weekly and monthly
goals. Frequently, Mr. Richardson says,
the goals were unreachable, requiring
that business be doubled or tripled
within a short period.
"It allowed management by intimidation.
It was vindictive -- a way to try to
remove people," Mr. Richardson says.
"We would harass agents" by calling
them constantly and visiting them
repeatedly. (Mr. Richardson had his own
run-ins with Mr. Swanty and was
reprimanded at least once.)
One incident that employees still talk
about involved William Wesler, a
35-year-old Phoenix manager, who was
suffering from lymphatic cancer in 1990.
Everyone in the office knew about Mr.
Wesler's condition and his efforts to
reduce stress as part of his treatment,
Mr. Richardson says. Nonetheless, a
month after taking the Hubbard training
course in July, Mr. Swanty placed Mr.
Wesler on a rigorous program to
improve his performance.
The Hubbard course materials
During the following 120 days, Mr.
Wesler was supposed to double his
district's sales, hire at least one female
and one minority agent, attend
public-speaking classes and enroll in a
college course on interpersonal skills,
his August 1990 job evaluation states.
He also had to meet with Mr. Swanty
every other week to receive an
evaluation of his progress.
"It was a workload for three people,"
says Mr. Wesler's widow, Sherry Scott.
She says her husband completed most
of the work but quit in October 1990. He
died in May 1992. "When I saw Jeff
Swanty at the funeral, I turned and
walked away," says Greg Peterson, who
had worked for Mr. Wesler and says he
watched Mr. Swanty's behavior change
after the management classes. "I feel his
actions worsened Bill Wesler's health,"
Mr. Swanty acknowledges that he was
impressed with the Hubbard course
materials but says he didn't implement
much of the program because he feared
it would create too much paperwork. He
says he didn't know at the time that Mr.
Hubbard was connected to Scientology.
He knew Mr. Wesler was ill, Mr. Swanty
adds, but denies he treated him unfairly
in light of his declining performance.
"We treat people with dignity," says
Edward Moran, an in-house Allstate
lawyer who also denies that Mr. Swanty
was unfair. He says Mr. Wesler was
having serious problems with managing
and communicating with agents for
some time before he received his
negative evaluation in August 1990. In
addition, Mr. Moran says, Mr. Swanty
began drafting the evaluation in June,
before he took the Hubbard lessons.
However, the performance review is
dated Aug. 14.
Across the country, a number of agents
were making complaints similar to those
voiced in Arizona. Lawsuits and Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission
complaints were proliferating; more
than two dozen have alleged fraud,
harassment or discrimination by
Allstate, often in connection with
wrongful-discharge cases. One manager
joked about forcing so many to quit that
they would have to bring in "body bags"
to cart them away, while others
described agents with low productivity
as below the "scum line," workers said
in pretrial statements related to these
|School Board candidate Jeffrey Swanty
with Loveland Mayor Cecil Gutierrez