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Think twice about $57K for branding
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
I worked for a company that bought into one these ‘branding’ programs that the city is considering. Part of that package was a ‘brand ambassador’ program for the employees, which consisted of beginning of shift meetings with lots of stretching and sharing, setting goals, talking about our experiences, and high- fiving and giving attaboys to our fellow employees, all of which was constantly referred to by management as ‘fun’, but was generally considered bull pucky by the employees. There were many more meetings as well, and lots more organized ‘fun’ than an average day on a cruise ship.
Rather than being ‘fun’, it was a huge pain in the patootie for those of us that had an actual job to do. The stretching, sharing, and validating morning meetings made me think of something a Maoist or Stalinist Mr. Rodgers might have dreamt up. If you did a really great job as a ‘brand ambassador’, you would earn points to a title as a black belt, green belt, or some other nonsense. My fellow employees hated it, too. We felt that we should be recognized for our skills and experience, rather than on how much we bought into the party line. 
I’m sure that these programs look wonderful to someone in human resources with way too much time on their hands and someone else’s money to burn, and once the company plunks down tens of thousands of dollars they are committed, and everybody had better fall in line and start having ‘fun’ or else, if you know what I mean. Fortunately, I was able to retire early rather than have to put up with all of the nonsense. 
I would encourage the mayor and city council to think twice before laying out $57,500 for a program that ‘Dear Leader’ Kim Jong Il probably wishes he could get a percentage of. Who knows, he may have created the concept. I’m sure that ‘King of Fun’ is one of his many titles.

 Stephen Breacain