I think perhaps one of the most important things to remember is that there are many sides and points of view to every story, including this one. There are hundreds of employees at the RMWB who work hard every single day to improve our region, keep our communities functioning and do their jobs to the best of their ability. I believe their stories have just as much value as those belonging to anyone else, and so I am happy to share one story and perspective with you.
My correspondent asked to remain anonymous, and I respect their wishes as what has value here is their story, not their identity. I appreciate you reading what they have to say with an open mind - and remembering that every single person has a story to tell, even if we may disagree with their perspective.
Spring is finally here, the sun is out, the birds are chirping, the season of change is surrounding us,from nature through to federal/provincial/local politics. With Spring and change, comes the enviable cleaning or flush required for that change, and that's what I want to speak about here.
Leaders in the RMWB all strive to provide for our employees and our community a higher quality of life. Some of us go above and beyond, working excessive hours without compensation and using our own hard earned dollars to make a "higher quality of life" a reality. Some of us routinely pay for appreciation lunches, office gifts, birthday parties, special events and minor project expenses with our own money. Our duty to our employees is to celebrate their victories and their accomplishments, and if necessary, foot the bill with our personal credit cards. While some leaders within the organization may have spent tax-dollars on questionable items, we have no context as a community to why those dollars were spent.
Perhaps that paltry $300 in soaps was used as a "thank you" to compensate non-unionized employees ineligible for overtime for working extra hours on an important project, that if paid out would have easily been in the thousands, if not tens of thousands for their time and effort. One comment I saw earlier stated, "Under what circumstances would it EVER be acceptable to purchase scented soaps with tax dollars?" To that, another comment stated, "What about a bathroom?"
We are so blind-sided by the shock of public servants spending OUR communities money, that we do not take the time to put those expenses in context. When will it end, when we've cut all expenses but the absolute basics?
How many of our residents would continue their jobs if they provided no training, no compensation aside from base rates, no lunches/travel/conferences, no buses, AND expected you to work extra hours unpaid?
If we scare away all the staff that are hire-able by other companies, we'll end up with a large population of employees that are only there because they have too much to lose (ie: pension), which is VERY typical of government. In turn, those employees do the bare minimum to retain their job, because there is no incentive to try, there is only incentive to not get fired. When we end up with a team of leaders and employees doing the bare minimum, our residents suffer the results.
As a community, we need to "rip the bandaid off", move past this entire thing, and start focusing on whats important: Improving the quality of life for our residents and our community. Part of that, includes looking after and retaining the employees of the RMWB.