LETTER: Witherell Board Chair is a Boss, Not a Leader

Submitted by Barrett Burns, Greenwich

I read with great interest Brian Raabe’s letter to the editor (LETTER: The Town of Greenwich is kicking seniors to the curb. Jan 27, 2023) about Witherell. I don’t know Mr. Raabe but his letter is right on the money. It’s quite well written and, more importantly, he is right.

A poorly performing or a highly successful organization is always the direct result of the quality of the senior most management. Those at the top usually fall into two categories: either the person is a boss or a leader. A characteristics of a boss includes blaming others for an organization’s poor performance, is usually short sighted and usually focuses on extreme cost reductions to save the day (yet in reality one can’t save one’s way out of problems ) bosses react to challenges rather than anticipate them.

Leaders on the other hand, are inclusive managers, anticipate bumps in the road to manage through them, don’t blame others for mistakes and attract top notch direct reports who want to work for them, LLP all combining for success. Organizations always prefer to work for a leader, not a boss. A leader can see around the corners in front of them. A boss does not.

Larry Simon is a boss, not a leader. His relentless squeeze on expenses, for example, has a direct correlation to Witherell’s poor performance. It’s easy to take a knife to expenses but instead of cutting excess, he cut into the muscle of the organization as the saying goes, sending the organization into a downward spiral.

By contrast, Witherell , under the leadership of Board Chair David Ormsby, was a top notch five-star rated organization….one that physicians consistently recommended and families confidently used. Not now.

Witherell can reverse its downward spiral not by outsourcing its functions to third parties but starting by replacing Larry Simon with a leader who can rebuild the organization.


Barrett Burns