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BEPPLE: How Cavers just made his job harder

Image Credit: Compilation/Jennifer Stahn
October 30, 2015 - 7:41 AM

I can't remember when I have received an email with from a coworker, let alone a superior containing swear words. No matter how tense these things get, there are other ways to say things. Respectful workplaces are important everywhere, including in politics.

In August Coun. Donovan Cavers was sending multiple emails to City of Kamloops CAO David Trawin and other city staff laced with "f*ck". Cavers called staff's judgement into question. Mayor Milobar briefly raised the issue of censure against Cavers.

In sending the emails, Cavers went too far. He crossed the line.

Cavers has since apologized and the possibility of censure has been dropped. But the damage is already done.

In politics, as in everything else, it's all about relationships. Politicians have to be masters of relationships to get elected. They shake hands, kiss babies and attend hundreds of events to make sure as many people as possible know them.

Cavers is a master in building relationships in the community. Not everyone agrees with him on his opposition to Ajax. But those who do, know his position. He's done a great job getting his message out. It's gotten him elected twice.

But once politicians are elected, they need the help of bureaucrats. Politicians need good relationships with staff. It's staff who do the grunt work of drafting policy, doing research and ensuring regulations are followed. Politicians may have the vision, but it is staff who put it into practice.

My guess is that Caver's job just got a whole lot harder. It's not that staff won't do things for him. It's just that they're busy people. They have multiple things to do. Cavers' request may not go to the top of the pile. Or, requests from Cavers might not be given as thorough of a review.

My experience working with city staff is that they do an outstanding job. They had no problem telling me they disagreed with what I wanted to do, yet would still work with me on an issue I wanted to bring forward. Their job is to support politicians. Politicians set policy, bureaucrats put it into action.

Coun. Cavers needs to concentrate on convincing the other eight members of council on what to do about Ajax. Staff will do whatever direction council sets.

He also has to learn to accept that staff may not agree with him. But that doesn't mean they won't support him.

Berating staff won't get them to do what you want. Likely things have gotten harder for Cavers. Now it's time for him to concentrate on relationships, both with staff, and also his council colleagues.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
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