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LETTER: Huge and growing problem

Mission had a reputation as a good and viable employer

It is abundantly clear to me there is a crisis of leadership and management occurring at the District of Mission, starting with council and extending to the chief administrative officer.

The resulting exodus of senior staff is a huge problem.

As a former senior manager in the organization, I know virtually all of the people who have left.  To describe their departure as “resistance to change” is self-serving and an insult to the good work they have done.

In my opinion, bullying and micromanaging are symptoms of insecurity and lack of true leadership. Unfailingly, these tactics destroy morale, innovation, and desire.

My experience of the district’s management and union staff was always that they are predominantly innovative, industrious, and committed servants of the people. They understand their job is to provide good service to their community.

It will take a long time and great expense to replace the skill and experience of those who have left, and those who will be leaving as soon as they can find other positions. Their loss negatively impacts on proper administration and governing, planning and development in the community, proper regulatory enforcement, and good management and maintenance of the city’s infrastructure (worth hundreds of millions of dollars).

Mission’s had a reputation as a good and viable employer. That is now in question, and will make hiring equally competent staff even more difficult than it already is. But according to the CAO, there is no hurry to replace them and they will all be replaced with far superior and less costly versions. In my experience, that is a pipe dream.

(For the mayor) to rationalize this huge and growing problem as nothing more than “a resistance to change” is pure folly.

But it is not just the bullying and micromanaging that are a problem. Council’s inability to conduct itself in a mature and respectful way, either with each other or with staff, is very troubling. The conduct of these elected representatives has been ghastly, and frankly embarrassing for Mission’s citizens.

Is there any valid reason for a vote of non-confidence in a mayor? What does this say about everyone involved in such activity, including the mayor? More importantly, what does it indicate about the ability of these people to conduct the public business, when they literally behave worse than school children?

Fair and open debate is both welcome and necessary, but the boorish behaviour of most of these individuals is almost stunning.

For all of this, shame on all of you.

Clearly some significant behavioural change is required, and soon. Failing that, the positions that need to be changed, and the people who need to be replaced, are obvious. One wonders how resistant to change they will be?

Dennis Clark

(former director,

corporate administration, District of Mission)

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