Thursday, May 12, 2016

Failure to Follow Unwritten Hiring Practices?

Rick Outzen did an article yesterday regarding the "finding" by Russell VanSickle that

"I find that neither Schmitt nor Glover was attempting to manipulate the hiring process to include or exclude any particular applicant. However, Schmitt and Glover believed incorrectly they were capable of handling the hiring process without an interview panel and without any guidance from HR. They both used poor judgment to conduct the hiring process in a manner they both agreed had not been done before."

"Additionally, their failure to properly conduct this particular hiring round coincides in timing with a disturbing level of animosity each showed toward HR, which is evidence that they intentionally ignored the proper process under the mistaken belief that they knew better than anyone else how to approach a hiring round for new firefighters."

unwritten-hiring-practice-not-followed-by-chiefs

We need to break this down as a CEO would, you know like a Strong Mayor, a leader...not a King. Someone looking to lead a management team, not rule over a Kingdom.

  • "I find that neither Schmitt nor Glover was attempting to manipulate the hiring process to include or exclude any particular applicant."

As a leader reviewing this report, this finding shows clearly there was no intent on behalf of Schmitt and Glover to sway the results.  So as a leader, I'm relieved and encouraged that anything from here on out regarding this issue is a process matter which can be addressed.

  • "However, Schmitt and Glover believed incorrectly they were capable of handling the hiring process without an interview panel and without any guidance from HR."
In this finding, at worst, Schmitt and Glover, in the investigator's opinion made a mistake ("believed incorrectly").  However, there is no documented hiring or interview process.  Why not? The fire department has written procedures for everything, they have too!  In this matter, interviews were scheduled, conducted, and evaluated using a new procedure.  Is the new procedure any more documented in policy and procedure than the old procedure, NO!

As a leader, I have to ask:
  • Why was no formal hiring procedure in place and documented?  The City must stop running on the institutional knowledge of the long term employees telling us "how we did it in the past" and document policies and procedures so the organization establishes expectations as to how things are done.  This is a management issue.
As to guidance from HR, VanSickle shows the two-faced aspect of his analysis.  Chief Schmitt and Glover are criticized for not involving HR.  However, hiring of firefighters and the process used to do it is clearly in his job description in place at the time.

Job Classification: Fire Chief
Job Code: 1043

Essential Job Functions:
  • Supervises all administrative matters of the Fire Department, such as hiring...

As a leader, I'm done with this one.  
  • Policies were not documented.  We can fix that!
  • Undocumented policies can't be broken.
  • Was the action taken, although new and undocumented within the scope of the employee who in this case was the department supervisor?  Yes
  • Management issue and as the leader, the action is to bring the team together to fix the issue.
"They both used poor judgment to conduct the hiring process in a manner they both agreed had not been done before."

Opinion of someone not there who has had my HR person (with a vested interest) chirping in his ear.

As stated,

  • Policies were not documented.  We can fix that!
  • Undocumented policies can't be broken.
  • Was the action taken, although new and undocumented within the scope of the employee who in this case was the department supervisor?  Yes
  • Management issue and as the leader, the action is to bring the team together to fix the issue.
The last finding was:


"Additionally, their failure to properly conduct this particular hiring round coincides in timing with a disturbing level of animosity each showed toward HR, which is evidence that they intentionally ignored the proper process under the mistaken belief that they knew better than anyone else how to approach a hiring round for new firefighters."

First, how do you have a "proper" undocumented process??  Your reaching Counselor.

Secondly, this is a reflection on no one other than Eric Olson's management.  Eric Olson is the City Administrator.  

Sisson works for him.  Schmitt works for him.  Olson should have been a manager and sat his employees down and clearly instructed them what MUST happen.

Eric Olson this statement is an indictment of your leadership of the City.  

But analysis like this is beyond the Drive By Mayor on his way to another photo op.


6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sisson and Olson set up the Chiefs to fail in order to fire them.

They passed the drug tests and they needed to find a way to fire them so they change the HR procedure and have the Chiefs interview and hire without giving them written instructions, or guidelines.

(No matter what the Chiefs did, they were going to find something with the process to fire them. Sisson and Olson knew this was their ace in the hole.)

Firing 25 year career employees for something that the City did not have written policies, or training for would not fly anywhere but in Pensacola.

This administration knows the Council will be upset, but will take no action against the Mayor, Olson, or Sisson.

I blame the entire City Council for this mess. You have had ample time and numerous warning of how corrupt Hayward's administration was.

You have power. Use it.

Cut the funding. Don't approve the budget. Stop the outside lawyer contracts. Vote no confidence for Olson and Sisson. Start the damn recall already.

Get off your damn asses and REPRESENT.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous @ 10:17 has hit the nail on the head. The mayor and his side-kicks are getting away with this only because they are being allowed to do so. The two WORST city council members in this affair are the two African Americans who have sat on their thumbs and watched it happen. Hey, we didn't put you in office so that you could eat the free pizza and keep your mouths shut...!!!

Anonymous said...

Epic fail once again by what has to be the biggest group of goof balls ever assembled. Even their own handpicked lawyer is an idiot! I hope Van Trickle made a lot better of money on this deal because I have a feeling that after people see his craftwork on this assignment they won't likely be impressed. He has basically provided the smoking gun which should have quickly ended Olson and Sisson's careers. Instead, Hayward further demonstrates his confidence in these two imbeciles. If anything Chirf Schmitt end Chief Glover should be getting a medal for being able to sustain the highest rated department in the city in spite of the incompetent leadership above them.

Anonymous said...

Written or not written, follow the procedures! Don't play games with employment practices! The level of ignorance about business, employment and employer/employee relationships is amazing!

Anonymous said...

Written or not written??? You can't be serious! If it's not written, it's NOT a procedure. Follow the directions. But, there are no directions. Well follow them anyway. Like getting directions from a blank piece of paper.

Anonymous said...

In my mind, this alone proves that this was all a set up from the start. Who can believe than an unwritten policy is somehow enforceable? This was a classic modern-day lynching.