Kinzel says he and Cedar Fair headquarters will stay in Sandusky

Posted Friday, December 18, 2009 12:36 PM | Contributed by Jeff

While Cedar Fair’s ownership is about to change, many factors will stay the same. Kinzel said he is contracted to stay on as CEO and will have an option to extend his contract if he and the new owners of the company reach an agreement for an extension.

Read more from The Sandusky Register.

See also: Amusement park sale throws industry for a loop, from AP via Google.

Friday, December 18, 2009 1:00 PM
RPM's avatar

I thought Kinzel’s comments sounded very naive. If the new owners want a new CEO, Kinzel’s contract means nothing; they’ll just buy him out. I have a hard time believing that Apollo wouldn’t want to make management changes. Kinzel’s just fooling himself if he thinks he’s going to be around in 2013.

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Friday, December 18, 2009 1:07 PM
CoasterDemon's avatar

I hope the park looks to Holidayworld for positive changes.

That, and making Blue Streak 'classic' again :) Hey, we can dream! I'd probably love the place again...


Billy
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Friday, December 18, 2009 1:18 PM
Jeff's avatar

Employee benefits won't change because they've already reduced them as well. They cut sick time, which is the most asinine thing ever. Exactly what you'd expect from a clock-watching culture.

He said there were no regrets over the acquisition of the Paramount Parks and that Cedar Fair would have been fine if it weren't for economic downturn that has cut into attendance and spending.

Perhaps he should regret that his ineptitude and ego have erased millions of dollars of wealth for unit holders. I sure wouldn't want that on my shoulders.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Friday, December 18, 2009 1:25 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Jeff said:
Exactly what you'd expect from a clock-watching culture.

In defense of clock-watching, some jobs require one to actually be there for the work to get done. I imagine most theme park positions are this way. The rides don't run themselves - it's not like you can put 4 hours in and get a days worth of work done as a ride-op...or sweep...or whatever.

Sometimes a job requirement isn't "get x done" it's "be here to do this as needed."

But yeah, not entirely your point, but I just wanted to defend clock-watching a bit. It's not always evil and backwards thinking and is sometimes necessary.


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Friday, December 18, 2009 1:42 PM

Before I got laid off, I worked for a sheetmetal company doing deliveries. If a customer expected and planned for a delivery at a certain time, he expect me to have the load down there at or before that time. When circumstances were within my control, I never missed an appointment time.

I think being on time to a job is not an unreasonable expectation. Then again for me "on time" means I'm ready to start work at that time, not pulling into the parking lot.


Coaster Junkie from NH
I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!

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Friday, December 18, 2009 2:02 PM

Is he really clueless and naive enough to think that him and all his cronies and family members and everyone else he has hand appointed or annointed is safe once someone else owns the company? Hopefully new ownership doesn't screw a lot of the lower level hard working full time people that have been busting their butts and getting crapped on by upper management for years, but you can't tell me they are going to do nothing with the structure of the company.

I guess I wouldn't expect anything else to come from the lips of a guy who has said quarter after quarter that the company is in sound financial condition and sends out memos to employees about how everything is just fine and they are firmly in control of their financial destiny. Looking at and understanding the balance sheet and loan covenants a couple years back signaled that this day was coming, but the words in press releases and conference calls didn't convey how desperate the situation was. I feel sorry for people who trusted his word and let emotion drive investment decisions.

Him, Falfas, Crage, and anyone else at the corportate level are all going to be lucky to be around in 6 months.

I know it's not really that uncommon, but having the CEO as chairman of the board or on the board at all really shouldn't be allowed. With all the regulation out there, you'd think there would be rules about this. The board's job is to watch out for the interests of investors and having a high ranking executive on the board conflicts with the idea of corporate governance and fiduciary duty.


-Matt

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Friday, December 18, 2009 3:05 PM

Kinzel is 100% correct. Payroll is the one and only cost that each park can control with managers having the tolls to suceede. Our park watches payroll daily, weekly, monthly, and at the end of each summer. Being weather sensitive, you have to be on top of it constantly, but also balance out the needs of customers.

From Cedar Point down, they harp on payroll budgets, even when I was there in 1990 and they owned only Valleyfair. All those guys you know and love, DK, Falfas, and the other senior guys will still operate the company.

Apollo didn't make any changes with NCL, and they did not touch Harrah's, which has a Board of directors and a payroll with golden parachutes that make Cedar Fair's look like pocket change.

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Friday, December 18, 2009 5:47 PM
Jeff's avatar

Please. That's a fifth grade approach to running a company. Payroll is not the only thing you can control, and cost does not exist in a vacuum independent of income.

I agree with Matt that I've never been comfortable with situations where a board is chaired by the CEO. I don't think that kind of inbreeding is ethical (neither is putting your kid in charge of a park, I suppose). That it's a common practice doesn't make it right.

And you knew what I meant, Gonch, about clock watching. You know I'm not talking about seasonals or blue collar work. For professional, white collar workers, there is zero correlation between time spent in the office and contribution to the company's mission (which, by the way, is to make money regardless of what the official mission statement says).


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Friday, December 18, 2009 6:03 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Yeah, I kinda did, but I think this is one of those "not black and white" (as you like to say) things - I don't think it's as simple as saying there's no correlation. There's way too many factors in terms of both the position and the goal to make a blanket statement like that.

I get your aversion to the whole 'clock-watching' thing (and agree to a degree), but I certainly don't see it as a rule.

And besides, I think it's a matter of an employer wanting your time, not just your results. If you can get to point A in less hours than required, then great! You should be able to go well beyond point A in the time we require you to be here. They're paying for you to work your magic for a certain number of hours per day, not until an arbitrary goal is achieved.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Friday, December 18, 2009 6:38 PM
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Friday, December 18, 2009 9:25 PM
Gemini's avatar

We're heading into one of my biggest pet peeves: the myth that time + physical presence = results.

Paying for time instead of results is backwards and outdated. First, results are not proportional to time. If I pay someone to do a job, how long it takes to do the job is irrelevant. At some point, we reevaluate whether the results produced is worth the money paid and adjust as necessary.

Everyone here who can probably give an example of someone who puts in time without any putting effort in their work. But if that person is putting in the time, the employer is sadly getting what they're paying for.

I know I've mentioned it before, but I'll do it again. This book oozes common sense.

Last edited by Gemini, Friday, December 18, 2009 9:26 PM

Walt Schmidt - Co-Publisher, PointBuzz

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Friday, December 18, 2009 10:31 PM
Jeff's avatar

I never said it was a black-and-white issue... only that clock watching in the context of the people in the organization I'm referring to is asinine. What's worse is that there are a great many people working there today who only have their position because of their longevity. The former food guy at CP was just such a person.

I can't tell you how thrilled I am to finally work in a place where they get it. If you need to bail for a couple of hours to run some errands or something, no one cares. If you can work from home, no one cares. The measurement is not the time, it's what you produce from your work. Most white collar jobs are not factory production gigs; Nothing is gained by being physically in a space during designated hours. In every job in my line of work, for example, you can bet I'm at least thinking about the work a good portion of the time I'm not there.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Saturday, December 19, 2009 12:45 AM

If you manage a team and you have to constantly be there to manage your team, you are failing.

It is unfortunate that this particular company is arrogant enough to think people from the outside can't understand or contribute to the already existing culture.


This can't be that easy!
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Saturday, December 19, 2009 1:42 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

It's a hamster wheel. Am I paying the hamster for a desired result X number of spins per day or 8 hours of spinning?

If I only need 100 spins per day, then sure. I don't care how long the hamster takes, he has to do 100 each day and I'm cool. Those 100 spins are worth what I agreed to pay for them even if it takes just two hours each day.

But what if I just need as many spins as possible? Why would I pay the hamster for just 100 spins? I want him here for the entire day spinning the wheel.

Now I know the correct retort to this. What if the hamster still only does 100 spins (or worse, less) in that entire day? Wouldn't I be better off paying for a certain number of spins (results) and know what I'm getting for my money?

Well, then I suppose that goes back to something Walt said:

At some point, we reevaluate whether the results produced is worth the money paid and adjust as necessary.

So, as a clock-watching employer, I do that too.

Everyone here who can probably give an example of someone who puts in time without any putting effort in their work. But if that person is putting in the time, the employer is sadly getting what they're paying for.

Everyone here who can probably give an example of someone who does just what is expected without any putting effort in their work. But if that person is getting a predetermined result, the employer is sadly getting only what they're paying for.

If I have to pick a side, I guess in the end I'd personally rather have a great mind, a great worker, a great talent, putting time in to do whatever they can to better my company, rather than someone just doing only what they have to and then walking away.

There's a time to pay for a result and there's a time to pay for time. I don't think either is right for every situation.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Saturday, December 19, 2009 3:10 AM
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Saturday, December 19, 2009 2:56 AM

Jeff said:

I agree with Matt that I've never been comfortable with situations where a board is chaired by the CEO. I don't think that kind of inbreeding is ethical (neither is putting your kid in charge of a park, I suppose). That it's a common practice doesn't make it right.

This is the one that really drives me nuts. I don't know his kid or how well he has done at Carowinds, Star Trek, or his other previous jobs. But it's obvious that anyone equal or slightly better than him (hopefully no one extremely better than him) he'll get to jump them just from the fact he's the CEO's kid. May be one (of many) reasons he wants to stick around to make sure he can guide his sons career.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009 3:34 AM

Lord Gonchar said:


If I have to pick a side, I guess in the end I'd personally rather have a great mind, a great worker, a great talent, putting time in to do whatever they can to better my company, rather than someone just doing only what they have to and then walking away.

And if a company insists on treating its employees like 4-year olds, or like they can't be trusted, or won't give them credit for doing anything they do beyond "what they're being paid to do," the company will quickly find out it has a bunch of employees that will only do what they have to and walk away.

Seriously, Gonch. How long would you continue to "do whatever you could to better a company" when the end result is bonuses and raises for the execs, and your benefits gets cut?

Frankly, I hope they do keep Kinzel on until 2013-- only to pick up trash along the midway-- nothing more, and pay him accordingly.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009 3:42 AM
Jeff's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:
But what if I just need as many spins as possible? Why would I pay the hamster for just 100 spins? I want him here for the entire day spinning the wheel.

Did I not say (twice) that the kinds of jobs I'm talking about aren't those kinds of jobs? People like software developers, creative people (including marketing) and especially sales people can't just turn it on and off. At best, as a code monkey, I can get five hours of solid productivity a day. And I can't tell you which hours those are either. If I'm staring out the window and can't engage, I go home and maybe try later or something. Grown ups in these kinds of jobs can, and should, be trusted to meet their responsibilities.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Saturday, December 19, 2009 4:15 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Jeff said:
Did I not say (twice) that the kinds of jobs I'm talking about aren't those kinds of jobs?

Sure, but all the things you listed could be those kinds of jobs. Are you telling me no one can write code for a predetermined number of hours per day? That I can do sales calls at 3am because that's when I'm feeling engaged? That I can't finish that new marketing campaign by Friday because I haven't been 'on' since Tuesday?

Seriously, I really do get it. Hell, I'm up at 4am discussing this. I am all about being on your own schedule and being productive. I totally dig it. I appreciate it and I know it can work. But that still doesn't mean it's always right or that expecting time to be put in is wrong - on pretty much any job.

Grown ups in these kinds of jobs can, and should, be trusted to meet their responsibilities.

Grown-ups in any job should. But sometimes it does make sense to make the responsibility be to put X number of time in doing what you do. I would trust that most grown-ups can meet that responsibility too.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Saturday, December 19, 2009 4:16 AM
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Saturday, December 19, 2009 8:06 AM

RatherGoodBear said:


Frankly, I hope they do keep Kinzel on until 2013-- only to pick up trash along the midway-- nothing more, and pay him accordingly.

If they payed Kinzel accordingly for picking up trash (a job at CP I know very well) he'd be a no-show the next day, worse yet, have a heart attack and keel over. Of course, he might realize that the job is tougher than it looks.


Coaster Junkie from NH
I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!

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Saturday, December 19, 2009 10:07 AM

This discussion reminds me of a Dilbert cartoon which went something like:

Wally: Is it okay if I work from home one day a week?

Boss: How would I know you were working?

Wally: How do you know I'm working when I'm here?

Boss: When you're here I know you're unhappy and that's the same thing as work.

I agree that there are a lot of jobs for which flex time works well and other jobs for which it doesn't work well. Technology is increasing the former. And a lot of folks can be trusted to get their work done and others can't.

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