Several of my friends work for a department of my municipal government. The municipality is small, having about 30 000 people and is in Canada. It also is not covered by any provincial freedom of information type requests.
The department in question has a few dozen staff and a annual operating budget of several million dollars. There are four tiers of staff in the department: the manager, the supervisors, and then general staff, some of whom have lead roles and others who do not.
The previous long term manager, let's say Jordan, retired in the fall. Jordan's director refused the first name proposed to act after Jordan departed (this person was the usual replacement), instead asking for another name. This name was Sam (age 31), someone from the lowest rung with no management or supervisory experience, but with social connections to the then director. Sam had occupied this entry level role for about 9 years.
Fast forward several months:
- The city has finally finished hiring a new permanent manager for the department, Sam.
- There is a new permanent director, Kim, who oversaw Sam's permanent recruitment.
Sam is now the new boss, but has ethical baggage (in addition to a lack of respect from Sam's new underlings), which is causing issues.
During Sam's acting tenure, and before, Sam has been observed violating a number of policies and ethical standards, for example:
- Misusing city vehicles (partially documented)
- Altering time sheets after the fact (retroactively changing vacation to work time, not documented but witnessed)
- Frequent absenteeism
- Occasional instances of sexist behavior (certainly not regular)
I won't speak to other reasons why Sam has earned this dislike, but there are many, but these aren't related to ethics but competency and managerial skill
But, a key issue, at least my mind as an observer, is that Sam did not have the requisite experience necessary to be screened into the recruitment process. Namely, "4 years of supervisory/management". In Sam's work history there is one prior job that potentially involves managing other people, event manager for a term in university for the student union.
The evidence for falsification is:
- Sam's work history clearly does not show 4 years management/supervisory capacity (documentary evidence)
- Sam has been witnessed claiming "creativity" in resume drafting to be screened in
And the falsification would have to be presented at least twice explicitly:
- The resume itself
- The e-questionnaire that served to screen candidates (and allows minimal interference)
This is a difficult topic to bring up with the director, Kim; however, as Kim may have let nepotism play a role in hiring Sam: Sam's father-in-law professionally mentored Kim for many years. The fear of something fishy is augmented by the fact that either:
- Sam did not use as a reference either Sam's supervisor or the retiring department manager (having worked for them for 9 years), OR
- Kim never followed up with them (confirmed with both potential references)
My friends dislike working for Sam, in some cases they may quit. Some of them may have also applied for the managerial job and are worried about being cast as simply being bitter they lost. In one case a friend went for the position to simply reduce the possibility of Sam gaining the job. Now they are frustrated and feeling helpless that they'll be stuck with Sam.
I've suggested that they make a formal complaint about the resume and the job qualifications (there are other missing parts, but these are less severe) under the city' ethics policy. The city manager would be compelled to investigate & maintain confidentiality on the part of the complainants. I've suggested holding off for now on the other ethics issues, as they may be less effective in achieving any result. If this resulted in nothing, then perhaps new options might be explored.
Other options that have come up are:
- Leaning more heavily on the union when conflict inevitably arises (it did during the acting period)
- Leaking to the local newspaper which has had sympathies previously for analogous issues
- Suck it up and accept life isn't fair and remain quietly bitter.
I worry that they will allow the last option here to happen by default. Is my advice good? Or are there other courses of action that can be taken? In at least one case an employee is willing to risk employment.
Names are not real, and can be interpreted as feminine or masculine
Yes, I know, small town workplace politics...