Sunday, September 29, 2013

They never knew it was this bad!

Over the last year there have been many comments left on my blog about the low morale within the municipal work force. Some people have chosen to ignore this issue, blow it off, there have been comments made that it's always been this way. At the Coleman sportsplex last Wednesday a presentation was given to all members of the municipal organization including Council, Administration and CUPE members.
I was told that the most common reaction from council members was "I never knew it was this bad". Which surprises me due to the fact that it seems almost everyone in the community knows their is a problem the issue was even touched up on in the Municipal Inspection.
Let's talk about the report and comments that came out of it I'm sure some of my readers will be very familiar. The report looked at many area's within the municipality I will go through them in order.

1. Decision Making Process:

"The impression is that decisions are made by leadership with little or no employee input or discussion; that this is the way it is going to be, and if you don't like it, there are other jobs out there".

"The most common sentiment was many feel they cannot get answers they require to do their work effectively, or that decisions are not made in a timely and efficient fashion"

2. Communication

"Lack of open, clear communication within the MCP was perhaps one of the strongest themes to emerge from the interviewees. It was described with such words as "deplorable" and "non-existent"

"Secretive" and "lots of closed doors" were terms used to describe the communication from leadership to employees"

"people are fearful of negative repercussions if they speak freely and their opinion differs from mangement"

3. Change/Change Management Processes

"The overall message from interviewees is not so much that the decisions are faulty (although some feel this way), but that the changes could have been better managed and communicated"

"Most employees feel if the changes were not "shoved down their throat" or managed with an "iron fist", the outcomes could have been much less divisive"

"People have simply not felt involved and engaged in the process for change to be successfully implemented in this workplace"

4. Human Resources Responsibilities

"In short, there is significant ambiguity and lack of effectiveness in this area"

5. Relationships within Peers

"At the employee level, there was no significant patterns of concern regarding difficulties withi working groups or between the working groups"

6. Relationship between Union and Management

"While many express that this relationship has, historically, not been "perfect", the theme is that, currently, the relationship is the "worst it has ever been".

"The union perceives management is saying "bring it on" in terms of grievances. There are those that believe the objective of management is to "break the union".

"This opinion, that it is a "difficult union", was not shared by any member of past MCP management interviewed. The perspective from this group was "just listen to them and treat them with integrity" and you will be able to work together effectively"

7. Effectiveness of the Union

"Those who feel either unsupported by their union, or perhaps feel it is not effective at this point, are left feeling "they have nowhere left to go" for help, as many do not trust management either"

8. Performance Management Systems

"There appears to be a system to review individual performance only at the management level, and isolated pockets within the organization".

9. Training and Development

"Some felt they had the support of the MCP and their managers to take courses and training as needed. Some felt the option to do so was limited by whether you were a "favorite" of the manager"

10. Rewards and Recognition

"There is no organization-wide rewards and recognition system in place"

11. Feeling Valued and Respected

"The overall feeling amongst most staff is that they do not feel valued and respected for the work they do"

12. Stress and Morale

"The majority of employees indicated they are experiencing significantly high levels of stress in this workplace. Longer term employees stated "morale is lower than they can remember".

Previous management and HR interviewed have chosen to leave, primarily because of the environment, indicating "they have never seen anything like it" in their years in the workplace".

"They say "people used to be so proud to work here", and "this should be the best place to work".

"Despite this core strength, engagement and initiative is dwindling. Many are losing hope; simply "waiting for the next election", where some believe a new administration will be appointed and thus translate into a more positive workplace environment".

13. Leadership

"For almost every interviewee, leadership issues were at the center of their concerns".

14. History of the CNP

"Many interviewed, did, however, speak to the "revolving door" of senior management in the MCP, particularly in recent years".

15. Disciplinary Management of Inappropriate Behaviors and Harassment

"The broad perception held by the majority is that discipline is not handled in a fair and consistent manner. There is a belief that some employees have been "persecuted" or "targeted" simply because they did not always agree with management. This belief was asserted by both unionized employees and previous management interviewed".

"There is also the perception that significant breaches of confidentiality, and allegations of harassment, have attracted no through investigation, disciplinary measures of appropriate action of any kind".

"Another stream of commentary suggests that some unionized employees have behaved disrespectfully towards members of the current management team, refused to comply with certain directives, or failed to cooperate with other employees because of residual hard feelings (changes in the fire department for example)".

"In sum, the approach to misconduct and allegations of harassment appears to be inconsistent, often avoidant, and not always even handed".

16. Team Building/Social Activities

"People will no longer attend social gatherings and activities together because they are too divided"

"Prior to this administrative period, interviewees said social events were fun and well attended".

17. Roles and Responsibilities/Workload

"Many feel as though vacant positions need to get filled in a more timely fashion, as their workloads are impacted in the intervening period. Many also spoke to a lack of mentoring or transitioning when moving into a new role. Succession planning also seems to be absent. There was not seen to be a clear and consistent process for job postings".

18. Safety

"There are also concerns about the safety of crumbling infrastructure for the community, and the inabiliy to get a direct answer on how to proceed when it appears to be a safety risk".

19. Fire Department

"The emotional fallout of the changes in the volunteer based fire department is widespread, impacting both the community and the MCP".

20. Compensation and Benefits

"No issues of significance were raised here"

21. Organizational Structure

"No issues of significance were raised here".

This report was carried out by "Diverse Solutions" a consulting company out of Calgary, I am led to believe that the municipality and CUPE split the cost on this (around $10,000 each). The report indicates that there was 60 interviews conducted including past, present, management and union employees. For anybody that attended the Municipal Inspection presentation or the ratepayers meeting last week the public was informed that this was a second version of the report. My goodness if the first was worse than this then we really are in trouble.
In the last three years there have been how many policies, procedures and bylaws put in place to manage our community while at the same time the municipalities own back yard is in a mess.


Anonymous said...

10. Rewards and Recognition

"There is no organization-wide rewards and recognition system in place"

umm... paycheque perhaps

airmiles for coming to work everyday?

rewards and recognition is for kindergarten.

Anonymous said...

The tone for what is happening within the municipal organization has been set a the municipal table.

In the Ministerial Report, the consultant is stating that councillors should not be giving instructions to the CAO outside of council resolutions.

We all know, from the Mayor's own newsletter that he has a daily conversation with the CAO.

No other councillors are having this much interaction with the CAO. If the morale on the street and among the volunteers is low, how can it be expected to be high within the municipal workforce? Why would this be a surprise to our councillors, unless they are not listening to the community?

Anonymous said...

You would think that a CAO making $15,000 a MONTH would have worked and gotten things straightened out or at least brought this to council. Why are we paying this clown?

Also heard the fire chief was promoted to be in charge of recreation. Is this true?? If so, couldn't we get someone with a background in recreation rather than a fire chief to do this job??

Anonymous said...

This I know for sure.The mayor new about the problems and did nothing to help.

Anonymous said...

The mayor run to the radio station and blamed the administration and the workers.

Anonymous said...

Boo hoo. Let me get my kleenex ready. They are no different from the rest of the world. Grow up.

Peter Rosner said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Peter Rosner said...

A total lack of respect and communication between council, administration and the CUPE. Dean in your experience what is it going to take to turn this around besides a change in council.

Anonymous said...

06:00 PM This is the point. When Bruce decided to blow up everything and change us,he did not pause for a second, to consider we are not that much different from any place else. In three short years they have done big disservice to our community. No boo-hoo needed.

Anonymous said...

If the Fire Chief is indeed now in charge of Recreation, what does that tell you of his need in the organization. Plus, if this is the case, why the need for a Deputy Fire Chief. We are likely seeing the result of over staffing, over rating of positions and a recognition by the mayor that he screwed.

Anonymous said...

Re this comment:
This I know for sure.The mayor new about the problems and did nothing to help.

Sun Sep 29, 05:31:00 PM 2013

Here is hoping you do not work at the muni. In light of the spelling. Scary.

Anonymous said...

5:40 A typo maybe? Are you the spelling police?

Anonymous said...

Well between you and me, I don't think it was a typo.
Just saying that if people are representing municipality, which is sounds like this one was, they should at least know the difference between
Knew and new.

Anonymous said...

Never mind the spelling crap. That is what this council and admin have excelled at diverting the attention. The issue here is not spelling the report may be about the relationship between the Municipality and it's employees. Isn't it also a reflection of what as happened in this community over the last three years. Different actors but same story line.

Anonymous said...

The fire chief should ride along with the CPO and identify those Municipal lots and spaces that are fire hazards due to lack of weed control. The CPO can issue a ticket to the municipality then and there, and the CPO can record this as 100% muni income unlike hiway 3. Think of the income the mayor can report.

But wait are we not paying ourselves. No matter, it is income. That is how this place operates. One big Circle Jerk.

Anonymous said...

2:26 wrote:
"rewards and recognition is for kindergarten."

I think this refers to a performance evaluation system. These are standard in the 21 century world we are being thrust into. I haven't checked if it's in the Strategic Plan.

Anonymous said...

I logged on to check on the election popularity poll and I see y ou have removed it!!

Anonymous said...

We are awaiting Strategic Plan II _ it will bestowed upon our unfortunate souls on October 10.

Anonymous said...

This place really is in a mess why have we let it get this far?

Anonymous said...

Yah, if you fail with Strategic Plan I, (is there anyone thinking it is a success?), you may as well move to Strategic Plan II

Anonymous said...


Don't know the difference between it and is?

Really....maybe auto-correct with all of the prompts that you get from tablets, phones, and software!!!!

But maybe we all should know that you knew that your new tablet and auto-correct is a pain in the butt.

Bigger fish. To fry that should be concentrated on.