Tuesday, October 23, 2012
The following letter to the editor (not available on-line) was in today's edition of the Pass Herald that, I think, reiterates while expanding on much of what I said in my post of yesterday Decoux, Da Mayor: Just doesn't get it
Without respect for the members of this community you are not leading
The following letter was sent to Mayor Decoux and council.
I am a Rate Payer, a mother of a Fireman and a wife of a Fireman. Most importantly, I am a citizen of the Crowsnest Pass. I have heard your CAO speak on the radio and have read documentation of your responses to the Rate Payers in your special meeting of Oct. 9, 2012. I have concerns regarding your leadership, your vision and most importantly your implementation of that vision.
I recognize change is difficult for everyone at every level of life. How change is implemented is the critical element that determines how well people accept and embrace change. You are currently under a great deal of criticism due to the methods you have used to bring about change.
It is well known within any organization that the process by which you bring in change is more critical than the change itself. Companies, individuals, and governments can make wonderful changes but if not done right will not have the backing and support of people.
Your process has left this community angry, hurt and bewildered. Your lack of attention to a good change process has led many citizens of this community to feel under-valued, bullied, and hurt. This is not the fault of the citizens but of the leadership.
As I said before I am a mother and spouse to Firemen. Your CAO refers to them as employees and due to their protest expressed justification in sending them termination letters. He has portrayed them as unprofessional and discredited their countless years of committed service to this community.
I have in the past 17 years watched my family members leap out of bed in the middle of the night, stand for hours on a roadside flagging traffic in brutal conditions and attack structure fires. They deliver food hampers, host activities for charities and go to schools to teach youngsters Fire Safety. Yes, they were provided a pittance of income for some of these efforts but in their minds they were doing it as volunteers and the funds provided to them was of no consequence. The pride they felt at serving their community was immense. They met each challenge with professionalism and commitment.
Your CAO took the opportunity of a demonstration to strip them of that pride and devalue their incredible contributions as volunteers. I found it intriguing that the Reporter of CBC repeatedly and accurately referred to our Firemen as Volunteers and your CAO repeatedly referred to them as employees. This diminished their contribution and implied a Master/Servant relationship. Despite his insistence that the Firemen were employees the local paper now has an ad "recruiting volunteer Fire Fighters." Where is the honesty, integrity, and ethics in our leadership?
Members of the Pool Board have as well received termination letters. More volunteers devalued.
You speak of a master plan, moving to the future, bringing the Crowsnest Pass into the 21st century. Is that a lofty enough goal to destroy the community spirit in the process? Truly the end does not warrant the means.
Your devaluation of Volunteers within this community has caused the anger and the opposition. You cannot lead people by force. A good leader sets out a course, engages people and encourages and supports along the way. A good leader recognizes the strengths and contributions of those they are leading. You, as a Mayor and Council need to learn how to lead a change process if you want it to be successful and if you wish to remain in a leadership role.
Lastly I must comment on your remarks that you were voted in to bring in change. Yes, change was needed as we previously had a Council that was very divided. You have achieved unity within Council but to agree with each other yet not be connected to the community, what good is your unity? Without solid communication, on going consultation, and respect for the members of this community you are not leading.
What was leadership, after all, but the blind choice of one route over another and the confident pretense that the decision was based on reason?