I went to the YMCA Saturday and as per my usual routine I took the time to sit in the lounge area and scan the Telegraph Journal. As I read I came across a column by Kurt Peacock entitled; “Request for proposal raises question: is city hall a good employer?” I worked my way through the article I came across “City hall’s own analysis suggests that over the last three years the average utilization rate for employee assistance was 15 per cent, translating into roughly 125 employees needing some form of assistance dealing with workplace or life issues in any given year”.
My mind immediately flashed back a few years ago to when John Ferguson was being sued by the City of Saint John Pension Board for “suggesting” the Saint John Pension Fund was not being properly managed. After the defamation trial and the dust settled we learned through the proceedings that the Pension Board had been using LTD (long term disability) as a “human resource management ” tool. At the time I was in the process of conducting my own LTD survey. Moncton had 5 employees out on LTD and when i requested the LTD numbers from Saint John City Hall they refused to provide the numbers. We later learned that the LTD numbers for Saint John was 120 employees give or take a few. That worked out to approximately 14% of the city employees missing in action. How is it possible that two cities engaged in very similar work activities could have such a broad LTD difference?
When I got home I decide to do a bit of research on my own. A report by the Conference Board of Canada stated:
We know that Saint John has had a history of high employee absentee rate, the question is why?
High absenteeism is a symptom, it’s not the problem. Is it possible that Saint John City Hall is still clinging to a hierarchical, non inclusive, don’t think just do as a say, model of management?
An antiquated, bankrupt model where the guy that has been patching the roads for the 25 years is told what to do and when to do it by a “superior” that lacks practical experience and is still wet behind the ears?
Sam Walton the founder of the largest retailer in the world Walmart build an empire by using management by walking around and listening to his employees…and taking advantage of their experience to build a more competitive and more efficient company. . Rather than treating the symptom give the City employees an opportunity to rate City Management by participation in the annual Aon Hewitt Best Employer competition and we MAY begin the process of solving the City’s high absentee issue.
What do you think Council?