The Rhatt Watch is “spot on” regarding the Council doing something about Employees who are not performing to the best interests of White Springs.
One thing White Springs has never done is to have a Supervisor, or in the case of a Police Chief, a council meet with an employee. In this case, The Rhatt Watch specifically discussed the Police Chief who the Council has the right to hire or fire/ There needs to be a write-up document in place, stipulating what is not being done in accordance with one’s job description and what is required by the Town’s policy. All employees, including supervisors should have a review of their performance, done by the supervisor with acknowledgement to the Council of the findings. This then determines whether or not the employee or the Supervisor in this case will receive an increase in pay or ultimately be terminated if things do not improve.
We understand the Town Council cannot terminate a Supervisor whether it be a Town Manager or Police Chief on a whim in spite of the Law regarding “At Will” employees because it becomes a risky move for the Town from a legal standpoint. The town needs a practical and fair process to help reduce its liability. Moreover, it’s best to give supervisors plenty of time to improve and to provide them with the tools they need to get there. The problem is that in all of these years, there has been nothing but praise for Town Managers and Supervisors who have not done their jobs and that is risky business in itself since the Town of White Springs has a charter, ordinances, job descriptions and the law which should be followed. Complaining to the blog or having the Rhatt Watch warn you is insufficient if you do nothing.
So Town Council, here are a few things to keep in mind before you get to the “termination” step, but it must be done prior to termination, or else any such violations cannot be proven and thus deemed as though they never happened..
You need to write everything down. You can start with a listing of items which have not been done in the past to make White Springs better. On the document which must be reviewed with the employee, you will allow their comments as to why the performance was a failure and then the Supervisor/Employee must acknowledge the document by signing it along with signatures of the Town Manager or Council Members. If you do not mark something down, it can be argued it did not happen. And a signature of acknowledgement by a supervisor/employee is required.
The Council clearly needs to communicate its expectations not only by job description but by pointing out the problems which have occurred because the job description and requirements of common practice for one in their position are not followed. For instance allowing drug dealers to be at our library and our parks where needles and other paraphernalia are thrown on the ground where children can be hurt. Not contacting the appropriate authorities when a crime happens, or if one knows there are drug dealers in town, brothels in town, etc. It does not matter whether these are friends, for instance of the Police Chief, they need to be taken down or the Police Chief will have to go. White Springs does not have to put up with these criminals ruining the reputation of our Town any further
The Council will require a progressive discipline policy to be establish to ensure every issue is handled consistently and fairly. That is not something which has ever been done. In that manner such a discipline policy will assure that there is no discrimination because of race creed or religion. This needs to be done post haste. This is something our Town Council when making policy about our hires has never done and it is necessary for the Betterment of White Springs as well as Staff. And there should be no exception to any of the terms of the disciplinary policy, which will necessitate an attorney’s assistance. No more praise for poor employee performances Walter. If the rules are written, they must be followed in accordance with Policy. All employees should receive a copy of the written policy and sign their name in acknowledgment as well as affixing the date of acknowledgment.
Feedback needs to be given when a job is well done or if there is further failure in what is being performed. A Performance improvement plan must be initiated and will be part of the disciplinary policy. This includes plans to follow-up on, hold regular follow-up meetings.. Employees should sign this form after you’ve discussed it with them. This doesn’t mean they have to agree with what you’ve documented. Their signature simply indicates that they have received the counseling on their job performance.
Specific feedback on how they are doing will be required. If the results are mixed, share with them what they are doing right as well as what they are doing wrong. You don’t confront your employees as our current Town Manager has done to Yvonne. The counseling form should also express that improvement needs to be immediate, marked (noticeable) and sustained. But you do not request the employee or expect the employee to do jobs which they have not been hired to do unless training is provided, with an increase in pay or rating once they have achieved what they have been required to do or have accepted.
When all else fails, then the employee must be terminated despite your efforts for the employee to improve. Prior to the termination, all performance-based documentation must be reviewed and your legal council must ensure your case is supported, justified and sound. Confirm that you are following all state-specified wage and hour regulations and that you have followed all contractual agreements with the employee/supervisor, after speaking with legal council as to the validity and enforcement guidelines of such termination
While your goal is not to make anyone feel bad, you should also not disguise a performance-based termination as a “layoff” or request the person to resign as the Town of White Springs has done frequently, but of course this request has been done to individuals who have performed their jobs well such as Kevin Pittman and John Davis. That is why we need a fair and just Policy Councilors, so it is time you did your job and have such a policy drafted, with your Town Manager or the Council following up on violations of policy. Our White Springs Council has had no shame nor have prior Town Managers. And as I have mentioned previously, they could have placed themselves and the Town in jeopardy because there are remedies for those who have been FORCED to resign.
So Town Council, you need to set a policy relating to disciplinary actions and follow ups. Now unless something is so grievous we cannot just fire someone even if it is at Will if performance has not been discussed or the lack thereof before the firing or else we will be subject to workplace discrimination and retaliation, which is the area most Employees are winning suits, since there is no proof nor can there be proof that someone just immediately being terminated was not retaliated against.