This blog is for Local government officials, public employees, civic leaders and small business. Gabe Gabrielsen shares Pearls of Wisdom that offer insights to will help organizational leaders and career professionals improve their professionalism and enhance their personal impact.
The Pearls of Wisdom posted on this blog were gleaned from a 30 plus year career in government. If, or your colleagues, have harvested some real gems that you think are great Pearls of Wisdom will you share them?
Its easy! Just click here and send them to us. Our pearls are intended for individuals who are Public Officials in Local Government how any pearl that makes sound business sense or can help a career professional or business leader reduce their learning curve will gladly be accepted.
my career in local government, there were numerous times individuals running
for public office would boast that when they get into office they were going to
clean house, get rid of waste, and fire unnecessary public employees to reduce
the payroll.Man, that rhetoric sure sounded
good during the campaign; however from what I have observed, 99% of locally
elected government officials found terminating a public employee very unpleasant.Most agonized during the termination hearing.
Many wanted to give the employee a
were concerned what the impact of the job loss would have on the person’s family.Some dreaded the thought of confronting them
in the local community.Worst yet, some
knew the employees either as a friend of the family or as a member of a local
organization. Consequently, terminating local
government employees took a toll on most local public officials.
County Administrator I had to wear the black hat many times and I came to believe
there were only seven valid reasons to terminate a public employee.Whenever I based my decision to recommend terminating
an employee on one of these seven reasons, I never missed a night’s sleep or had
regrets. I share these reasons with you
in the hopes that you can benefit from them. I know from personal experience, these seven reasons
will pass any court or union test and I vehemently believe if public officials don’t
enforce these reasons, they abdicate their responsibility to the public they serve.
1)Theft.Anytime a local government employee is caught
stealing or misappropriating government resources, terminate immediately.
Employees who steal from government are not
taking from the corporate coffers; they are stealing from every taxpayer and resident
in the community and therefore have no place whatsoever in local government.
of government records.Government records
are public documents; they are part of a community’s official history and need
to be accurate.If an employee falsifies
public records, terminate immediately. Examples would be: filing false
expense vouchers, exaggerating hours worked on a time sheet, and backdating or
postdating government/department transactions.
of license or certification.Many government
employees, by virtue of their positions, are required to possess a state
license or academic certification.Job
announcements always state: must possess a valid XXX or YYY at the time of application
(i.e. valid state driver’s license, CDL commercial driver’s license, a social
worker license, appraiser certification, etc.).Should an employee lose his or her ability to maintain required licensing
or certification, terminate immediately.
to meet physical requirements of the job.This one gets a little tricky because of workers comp and ADA requirements.However if an employee is no longer able to
physically perform their duties “with reasonable
accommodations”, terminate immediately. Clear examples would be: a law enforcement
officer who loses both legs in a car crash while in a pursuit or a clerical
person who loses eyesight during a home accident. (Both, by the way, were real world issues I
experienced.)A law enforcement officer without
legs cannot chase a suspect nor can a sight-impaired clerical person file or type
5)Incompetence.Some employees, public as well as private,
find themselves in positions where they are academically qualified for, but ill-suited
for, a particular job. Though they have
the knowledge, they may not possess the personality or the temperament for a position.
If training, mentoring or coaching
cannot help an individual achieve minimum standards or performance expectations,
with irate members of the public or consistently being able to remember all
required tasks are traits not every individual possesses.
the influence of drugs or alcohol. Units
of local government have drug and alcohol policies.Should an employee return from lunch under
the influence or engage in alcohol or drug consumption while on duty, terminate
immediately. Never condone such incidents
or let the person go home and sleep it off; I guarantee it will come back to
tardiness or absenteeism.Every municipal
government I know operates on a tight budget.When employees fail to arrive on time or show up when required, they put
their government function in jeopardy. Oversleeping,
car problems, unique home situations, etc. cannot take precedence over the
stated job requirements.If excessive tardiness or absenteeism continues
after an employee has been given two written warnings, terminate immediately.
sincerely hope these seven reasons make sense and allow you to make good