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June 26, 2012


The most important question to ask is "Is this a well thought out, forward thinking, collaborative strategy or was it developed by one group and then will be force fed to staff?" Then again, asking too many questions sounds like a dangerous idea at City hall.

I'm not sure what you're trying to say with this post. Are you suggesting that employees will be fired for not agreeing with the strategic plan, because if so I think you're wrong. It's more likely not about agreement and more about those employees who refuse to do the job of implementing the plan because they disagree with its vision. That would be legitimate and justified grounds for termination.

I'm not really trying to say anything, just recounting a conversation from the council meeting.
However I do think if I was a city employee I would think this strategic plan is a great idea, even if I don't, if you see what I mean.

The strategic plan involves spinning plates, brought to us by a CAO who as far as I know still doesn't live in Guelph. This is her science project. When she's all done experimenting she goes home, to Cambridge!
It would appear that only councillor Bob Bell has the ability to see through all this nonsense. Thank God for at least one professional on council who understands critical thinking.

I believe this is the 21 century and draconian thinking of the past should be left in the past. Counsellor Guthrie should just find another place to work at his current hobby, as this hobby is not working for him or the voters of the city of Guelph. As for counsellor Bell and critically thinking, he shows no tools that involve seeing things in an open-minded way. Counsellor Bell flatly does not understand the democratic process. If a vote on any issue does go his way he refuses to let it drop and constantly tries to force a review of that issue till it is slapped into his way of thinking.
The last time I looked as Canadians and as a member of a free society, we are able to form an opinion and speak about my opinion to anyone we feel will listen. Counsellor Guthrie is a scary individual and should remove his opinion on human resources from his list of skills. As an employee of the city of Guelph and a Canadian they are allowed an opinion. What they are not allowed to do is not accept a request to perform a task under their job description or encourage others to refuse to take requests that are within their job description.
When Mark Amorosi our human resources boss responded by threatening city employees, I feel it is he that show be looking for a new career. No wonder this city runs like a broken down piece of junk.
Talking about misconduct, Mayor Farbridge should have corrected the boss of in-human resources.
I do not understand want the issue with this city and it heavy handed way of dealing with all issues, from beavers, deaths of teen age school girls, freedom of information, contractors, tax payers, employees and each others opinions.
This city is an embarrassment to the citizens who live and pay taxes. I do not enjoy telling anyone that I am from Guelph if they are not from the city.
This approach of ``we against all individual who do not think like us`` is childish and far from productive. Individual in a free country are allowed to have an opinion opposite to our own. An education does not mean you are smart what it should tell you is there is so much I do not know. With this insight you should be looking for new information from every where and every one.

I agree, Danny.

Mark Amorosi comes across as a bully here and he reminds me of a certain former CAO and that is truly unfortunate.

No, I think Cam and Mark are right on here. The entitlement years in the public service are over. In the private sector if you don't tow the line you'll probably get only one chance to change your ways, and if ultimately you won't get on board with the company vision, then you're fired. The same must apply to the public sector as well.
Your employer is not a free society, some employers will offer a chance to speak your vision, but once the boss (i.e. manager, CEO, CFO, CAO, whatever) lays down the final plan, it's the employees job to follow orders and get it done or get fired.

There seems to be a chill on this Council around possibly running afoul with the Code of Conduct and what we saw with the Integrity Commissioner -- and it seems that Councillors are being pushed into a very tight box regarding their role vis a vis staff's role.

So I get Councillor Guthrie's reaction, because strategic plans and that sort of thing are clearly a governance matter and absolutely the domain of Council -- so maybe a bit of push back, in terms of their role?

The bigger challenge than staff rejecting the vision and what-not out of hand is more likely the possibility of losing buy-in as a result of actions from the organization's leadership that are inconsistent with those statements, draining credibility.

Unfortunately, the staff that don't support it or stop buying into it won't actually say so. They quit but they may not necessary leave.

If it's a matter of staff not accepting the plan or the vision, then yes, they should find an organization that resonates with them. It is absolutely appropriate for the governing body to name the direction and expect compliance.

If it's a matter of staff losing support because of mis-management that is causing the organization to lose buy-in, then that is something senior management and ultimately Council has to monitor and address.

BTW, Councillor Bell is certainly someone I would name from Council who stands up for bringing transparency and accountability, critical thinking and a rational approach to the democratic process.


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Joanne Shuttleworth is the newsroom lead in municipal affairs coverage for the Guelph Mercury. She is a former Guelph YWCA Woman of Distinction honouree and a past winner of an Ontario Newspapers Award for her work as an editor. You can reach her at jshuttleworth@guelphmercury.com

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