Rams take criticism for firing more long-time employees

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The Rams took criticism locally earlier than offseason for firing Todd Hewitt, an equipment manager who had been working with the club for 44 years.

Last Friday, they fired two more employees that were with the team since the move from Los Angeles. John Oswald was VP of operations. Lori Fabian was the alumni relations coordinator.  They combined for almost 50 years of experience with the team.

“I put my heart and soul into the job. But it’s an eye-opening experience after 28 years to be told that, ‘We’re going in a different direction,'” Oswald told the St. Louis-Post Dispatch.

The Rams certainly have the right to fire whoever they want, but the moves are seen as a sign of Steve Spagnuolo’s power in St. Louis. Howard Balzer of 101espn.com writes that “it doesn’t feel right.”

Jim Thomas of the Post-Dispatch goes further.

“In my opinion, it’s not a good situation. A lot of the rank-and-file here at Rams Park feel if they worked with the team in LA, or were part of the move to St. Louis, etc., that there’s a bull’s eye on their back. It’s not good for morale,” Thomas writes.

Perhaps the Rams were run more like a family organization when Georgia Frontiere was in the charge.  Thomas and Balzer both cite an “iciness” in the building now, but ultimately winning will warm things up.

28 responses to “Rams take criticism for firing more long-time employees

  1. Maybe Todd Hewitt was right all along. Between all the firings, and using front office personnel for “mock OTAs,” Steve Spagnulo is beginnning to sound like an insecure nut job.

  2. There has to be more to this story than just the one side. I work in management, and I’ve seen too many employees act like they’re invincible because they’ve been with the company for x number of years, or they’ve been with the company longer than some of the managers. It could be that the Rams employees weren’t cutting it, or there was someone else who could do their job better. Just my two cents….

  3. @drumbug7: How can you say that, after half a dozen people – who have held their jobs for over a dozen years and who moved their lives halfway across the country – suddenly all start to suck bad enough to lose their jobs all at the same time?

    Here’s your answer, read between the lines:

    “The low-key Oswald was well regarded among his counterparts in the NFL. Among his many duties were arranging team travel to away games and handling the logistics of setting up training camp during the many seasons the team trained outside of St. Louis. Bruce Warwick, a Steve Spagnuolo hire as assistant to the head coach for football operations, assumed many of Oswald’s duties last season.”

    Steve Spagnulo doesn’t care how long or how well you’ve done your job; he doesn’t value loyalty to the organization.

  4. Kroenke is now the owner, it makes sense that he would want to put his guys or gals in jobs. This is like crying over a staffer for the President being fired when a new President is elected. Maybe Kroenke is spreading this out some. Shaw left months ago, Oswald is gone, and Hewitt’s contract wasn’t renewed.

    I could understand not going on a firing frenzy when you take over the team during the season but he might have someone evaluating positions seeing who needs to go and who needs to stay.

  5. Isn’t Spags one of those ‘religious’ guys? You know… all churchy and Jeebus and stuff? That type is always brutal to the peasants.

  6. Just more indications of how the ‘owners’ work. Screw the players, screw the employees, screw the morale – oh, and screw the fans.

  7. Long term employees are often the worst employees. They think just because they have been there for 20 year they are entitled to the job – and they have terrible performance. I have seen it many times in my life.

    Instead of assuming that it will be bad for morale, it may have the opposite effect. Some younger go-getters may have been upset seeing older employees not pulling their fair share and acting like they own the place. It might have been bad morale to not fire them.

    Bottom line is that a business will rarely fire someone who performs and either directly or indirectly makes the business profitable. Obviously these employees were not.

  8. It’s easy to see that the same pro-owner shills in the CBA matter are now here defending owners for firing long term employees. They are too myopic to see the relationship between the lockout , and the trend to furlough or cut salaries of FO employees. Firing them is just another lockout budget move – not efficiency.

  9. I don’t know exactly how, but surely the compact, cyclonic storm that is Josh McDaniels is involved here.

  10. wow, the Rams owner must be related to danny boy snyder of the Redskins fame. Snyder sues grandmothers who are bankrupt and can’t afford their season tickets any longer, so firing an equipment manager is par for the course for danny. Whoops, I hope danny boy doesn’t read my post because if he did, he would try and sue me.

  11. Hopefully McDaniels doesnt have a say in any hirings. if he does they will end up with a guy who books travel to Seattle for a game against San Fran

  12. So what? New business owner wants to clean house and/or bring his own guys in. It happens ALL THE TIME in business. If you don’t like, start your own business and you can hire and fire who you want.

    Is it a DB move? Maybe. Does it suck for the employees? Probably. But welcome to reality. Nothing in life is guaranteed. Most successful business owners I know didn’t get their by being Mr. Nice Guy and holding on to dead wood.

  13. And one more thing, just becuase you “worked hard” for a business for years or “moved across the country” for a business doesn’t make you special. Were you paid for your hard work? Did you cash your paychecks? Then you were compensated – end of story.

  14. He came from the Andy Reid tree and the same exact things were said about him when he started – like they said keep winning and nobody will care about who was left behind from the old regime.

  15. perhaps the worst run organization from 2000 until 2008, with front office dysfunction taken to a new level when Martz wasnt allowed to call his coaches etc, ty hill draft, scott linehan hiring, ya know, the Jay Zygmunt/John Shaw era(error)…is finally over. and its time to move out the dead weight that these 2 local writers obviously are siding with. it is certain that Jim Thomas cannot stand Spags. he has made his job more difficult by not allowing full access to everything rams…boo frickin hoo…

  16. @drumbug7 …

    Have you ever been through a management change? It’s SOP for the new team to assure existing employees nothing will change, everyone’s job is secure, we’re just going to get a feel for operations, nothing to worry about.

    Start typing your résumé.

    It usually takes about six months before the firings start. Kroenke was approved as the Rams new owner in August; Todd Hewitt was the first of the Rams old-timers fired five months later.

    It has nothing to do with competence, loyalty, or time served. It’s just business. People all over the country have loyally worked 30, 40, 50 years for the same company only to be unceremoniously dumped or have their pension plans eliminated by new management or corporate reshuffling. That’s the way of the world. Don’t assume they brought it on themselves. And never assume it can’t happen to you.

  17. I really wish football would start up again and they come to an agreement. The quietness of the football world has left the media to come up with whatever little story they can find. Employers fire employees everyday. Yes, they moved across the country over 15 years ago, but they got paid good for it.

  18. @smacklayer
    Your comment “Bottom line is that a business will rarely fire someone who performs and either directly or indirectly makes the business profitable. Obviously these employees were not.” could not be further from the truth and it you believe it, you obviously haven’t heard about outsourcing to other countries. Just wait ’til it hits you.

  19. tripg says: May 26, 2011 10:13 AM

    It’s simple math. Fire the old guy, then fill the position with a younger face for half the price.


    Thats a good way to get yourself sued for age discrimination.

  20. The fact you think this is by the hand of Spags is laughable. It’s the new owner cleaning house, not the coach. Why would the coach give a crap about the VP of Operations?

  21. capslockkey says:

    The fact you think this is by the hand of Spags is laughable. It’s the new owner cleaning house, not the coach.

    Why would the coach give a crap about the VP of Operations?


    Gee, I dunno ….. maybe because HE GOT HIS FREAKING BUDDY HIRED TO TAKE THE JOB ??????


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