Friday, August 26, 2011

Victoria Manor Request for Information

Earlier this week it was announced that City of Kawartha Lakes Council has directed staff to issue a Request for Information (RFI) for the management of Victoria Manor.  The idea is to explore how a company who specializes in Long-Term Care might improve the delivery and quality of resident and family services at the Manor.

Unfortunately, an editorial that appeared in Kawartha Lakes This Week on Thursday, August 25 (Our Opinion: Victoria Manor plan raises more questions than answers) contained some inaccuracies and we wanted to take the opportunity to provide the correct information. The comments and the City’s clarification are provided below:

“So in typical City of Kawartha Lakes’ fashion, two months later the City announces it is looking at hiring an outside firm to manage the entire facility.”
The operational review was presented to Council  on July 26 by Klejman and Associates Consulting Inc. Although the report did not specifically include a contracting out component, it was a consideration identified in the original Terms of Reference for the review. At that meeting Council directed staff to prepare a report on the implementation of the consultant’s recommendations. This report was presented on August 16 which is less than a month later.

The City will be issuing a Request for Information for management services. Should an external third party service provider be considered, management team staff would be employees of the company. However all other staff would remain employees of the City of Kawartha Lakes. No final decision has been made, we’re just looking at the options. We think this is a responsible thing to do.

“If eight managers are let go (and even if they are hired by a contractor), the City will likely have to pay severance to those individuals. Those costs should be factored into any equation on supposed savings.”
The purpose of exploring this option is to provide support to management and staff to assist them in providing resident and family services. Over the mid to long-term a net reduction in operating costs would be a goal however we actually expect costs to increase in the short term. Currently we don’t know what the costs will be, that’s why we’re requesting information.

The decision to explore this option is not a reflection on the current management team at Victoria Manor. These people are professionals who care about the residents and have been working tirelessly to provide high quality services in compliance with the Long-Term Care Homes Act. If Council decides to enter into a management contract we hope the company would appreciate the knowledge and experience the current team members have to offer. 

“Does it make sense to pay an outside firm a fee to run one facility within one municipality? Usually companies leverage their expertise by developing a methodology and applying it in various markets which brings the cost down for each customer.”
This is exactly why we are exploring this option. If we contract management and corporate services from a Long-Term Care focused company we can strengthen the management of Victoria Manor and maintain or improve the delivery and quality of resident and family services.

These companies have corporate offices devoted to the overall management, direction and support of their homes. They have expertise in development of policies and procedures based on best practices in Long-Term Care, implementation and compliance with the Long-Term Care Homes Act, development and implementation of quality management programs, financial management expertise specific to long-term care, capital planning, HR planning, staff development specific to Long-Term Care, information to support planning and decision making, and back-up for vacancies that occur in individual homes’ management teams.

The City doesn’t have the same extent of corporate Long-Term Care specific knowledge and expertise to support the Manor’s management team. It’s an economy of scale issue that makes it hard for the City to operate Victoria Manor as effectively as it should.

“Without seeing any other City privatizing its long-term care facility, we don’t see that opportunity.”
Obviously the editorial wasn’t written by the reporter who attended the media briefing since this question was asked, and answered. 

There are other municipal homes with management contracts in place. The City of Kingston has engaged Extendicare to assist them with the management of their home, Rideaucrest.  The northern municipalities that own and operate Algoma Manor in Thessalon purchase management services from Specialty Care. There are a number of other municipalities currently looking at this option.

The City is not looking to privatize the facility. We cannot sell Victoria Manor to a private company. By law we need to own and operate a Long-Term Care home.

The issues arising from the [consultant’s] report must be dealt with and it’s not responsible to slough them off by delegating them to a private firm.”
Under Provincial law, we cannot delegate any of our responsibility for owning and operating Victoria Manor to an outside company. Clearly that is not our intent.  We are simply looking for information on potentially contracting out management services.

Council’s Committee of Management, which consists of 5 Council Members, will continue to have responsibility for overseeing the operation of Victoria Manor on Council’s behalf.

We respect Kawartha Lakes This Week’s right to publish their opinion however they also have a responsibility to be factually correct. Hopefully this info will clear up any confusion!

For more information on this issue, including Questions & Answers click here.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thanks for the opportunity…….

To begin with I am very pleased with the recent announcement of Al Horsman to the position of CAO for the City of Kawartha Lakes. Our goal at the outset was to identify and select an individual with strong leadership skills and enthusiasm for the future of the City of Kawartha Lakes. I am very confident we have achieved this goal.

You should know we received over 40 expressions of interest for the CAO position and, after a thorough review and consideration of all applicants, our recruitment process selected Al to lead the City of Kawartha Lakes organization forward. As you may have seen in yesterday’s press release, Al has a very impressive background. I am confident his experience and contacts will serve you all well in the days ahead. 

He will be in the office beginning June 27. I plan to work with him for as long as necessary to review the activities I have been involved with and also to ensure he is introduced to as many of you as possible. My objective is to assist him in getting up to speed quickly across many fronts. This will not take long.

It has indeed been my pleasure to be associated with you over the last five months. I say that with sincerity and honesty. I have met many new faces and I have gained an appreciation for activities and life within the Municipal sector. Frankly, I have enjoyed (almost everything) that I have experienced since February although going sideways on Hwy 7 on black ice one morning in April was certainly annoying!

For sure it has been a challenge for me given my three days a week in the office, on average, during this interim period. There are many areas I would have liked to have explored to a much greater extent however I simply did not have the time. I most certainly regret not having the chance to meet every employee of the City of Kawartha Lakes at one time or another.

I have many good thoughts and feelings for the people I have had the opportunity to work with since February. In this regard, I have no doubt the City of Kawartha Lakes is in the process of getting positioned for a very positive future in the days ahead.

Of course, there is still, much to be done, in all areas of the organization. At the end of the day, the success of any organization comes down to the people and processes in place. I have tried to focus on both during my time here. I most certainly will be encouraging Al to do the same. Where we have positive momentum going we need to stay focused to ensure this continues. Where it has yet to start, for whatever reason, we need to get this underway.

Here is my wish list and challenges for you all moving forward. These thoughts are not in any particular order of importance.

1.   If you have a roadblock impacting your job performance or job satisfaction, deal with it. If you can’t get it done through your line of command, then we have a bigger issue.

2.   Remember who pays your wages. Our customers are the taxpayers. This is the reason you are employed by the City of Kawartha Lakes. We all need to go out of our way to serve this group. If you do not currently feel privileged and honored to
do this, you need to either change your thinking or work elsewhere.

3) What training or support do you require in order to do your job 
to a higher level of effectiveness or satisfaction? Talk about this with your manager. More importantly, arrange to do something about it.

4)   You will get a lot more satisfaction if you focus on the positives    
     and not the negatives. The negatives can be changed. Take
     responsibility and do something about it. Nobody likes
     negative attitudes. People with positive attitudes are a lot more
     interesting and fun to be associated with. Avoid people with
     negative energy and those who want to live in the past.

5)   And finally, one of my favorite topics, change. I doubt there is any area of our City’s operations that would not benefit from some form of change. Don’t accept the status quo. If I was staying on there is more change I would like to see. I believe you probably feel the same. So, I encourage you to be proactive and do what you can to make positive and productive change happen. Take responsibility and develop a sense of urgency to step out of the box!

In closing, let me simply again say “Thank You” for the opportunity to work with you.  I wish you all great success in the days ahead.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My perspective on recent organizational changes

If you have read any of my three blogs to date you should have picked up on one overall theme within each, namely I support and encourage change. Let me be clear on this statement. I do not support change for the sake of change. I do support change however when the action or actions fix problems or clear roadblocks preventing us from moving forward in a positive and proactive manner.

So with that in mind, over the last few months we have been making some changes to the structure of this organization in selected areas. Rest assured the changes that have been made to date have not been made without careful thought and reflection. In every instance, consideration has been given to many, and I mean many, factors. Since I have been here, I have listened to the input from a wide range of perspectives and also been given access to reports and data from the past and present which has certainly been of great value in helping to identify and shape the changes that have been made thus far.

I don’t intend to go into the reasons behind every change in this blog. As you can appreciate, each change was recommended and supported for different reasons. It was encouraging to me that the majority of Council believed the recommended changes were a step in the direction of where this organization needs to move in the days ahead.

I am very positive about the changes underway. I see and feel the enthusiasm of those who are directly impacted. With these changes will come new opportunities for some and I have no doubt you will also soon see new approaches to our traditional ways of doing tasks or activities. This is all good and needed.

I am well aware there are risks and uncertainties associated with change. I am also well aware there are equally significant risks with maintaining the status quo. We are working our way through many of the changes at this time. There will be more changes to our organization structure as we progress through the implications of what has recently been announced.  We want the transition in all areas to be seamless from the perspective of our taxpayers and those we serve in the community. This will take some time and effort but given the caliber of people we have supporting our new direction I have no doubt we will get through this transition period very quickly.

I have received many positive comments about the path we are on from employees and residents. Thanks for your feedback. Feedback is always welcomed, positive or negative. I am well aware there are those who see things differently. I fully understand change is difficult for some. I also understand that various local media as well as some employees, council members and residents of the community have their own perspectives and / or agendas.

In this regard, let me simply say to my mind it is unfortunate the voices of the uninformed or the minority sometimes rise up over the supporters of change. These opinions are not at all positive for this community or supportive of your day to day efforts.

I know the vast majority of you are very proud to serve this city and that you take pride in your work and the services you provide to our taxpayers and our community. In this regard, I encourage you to keep a positive attitude and let the results of our combined efforts speak for themselves. Rest assured you have a large group of supporters, internal and external to this organization, who are 100% behind the momentum we are building. I call this group the silent majority.

I am occasionally asked the question…how much longer will you be here?  (You are not the only one asking!) The simple answer is until Council asks me to leave or until the CAO is hired, whichever comes first. I am willing to stay involved as long as desired or needed. The ultimate goal of the recruitment process is to identify and select the person who possesses the right chemistry and leadership skills to move the City of Kawartha Lakes to a higher level. Our taxpayers, our employees and our Council deserve no less.

Let me close this blog by simply saying thanks to each of you. You’re the reason I stay involved and committed.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

More thoughts from the Interim CAO

It is hard to believe another month has come and gone so quickly since my last update. I have now been here for 13 weeks and I committed to at least a monthly update so here goes.

I am not even sure where to start as it seems there is so many places I could go with comments or thoughts.

Let’s start with Federal politics. Personally speaking, let me simply say I am very pleased our country does not have to endure yet another election at the Federal level for at least the next 4-5 years. It is time we gave our elected officials a chance to run the country and be judged, one way or the other, by their record.

How about Provincial politics? This should be an interesting one from what I have been reading and hearing of late. One set of signs comes down and another new set will soon be evident on our landscape. The signs will no doubt come with promises of reform and better days ahead.

I think it is our human nature and of course our right to have an opinion or, at times, not agree with of those in political positions who lead our country. On a personal note, I have had the opportunity to travel in my career to many countries and many places over the years. I often was given assignments that took me to countries that are considered to be 3rd world. I consider myself very fortunate to have completed work assignments in place like Malaysia, Venezuela, Peru, Columbia, Mexico and Brazil to name just a few. Frankly, after seeing and experiencing life in these places I find it quite difficult to be sympathetic when I hear people complain about life in this country.

Let’s talk about change, again. As you know I have on occasion mentioned my support and encouragement of change. Let me be very clear on this point…I do encourage change and support the concept of change in all areas of both our work life and our personal life. I believe change is critical to our growth and development as individuals and as organizations. We need to be challenged to get out of our comfort zone from time to time. It has been said if you keep doing the same thing you will keep getting the same results. No kidding! I believe we owe it to ourselves, our organization and those who pay our salaries to embrace change and to look at doing things differently when there is a need or an opportunity.

Recently, a number of our employees, including many union leaders as well as Ric McGee and myself attended a leadership session designed to help each of us be better informed and inspired on how to better articulate and demonstrate the power of change through positive leadership. This was a great day and we have received many very positive comments from those who made the effort to attend this program.

The opening speaker was John C. Maxwell. He is an internationally respected leadership expert. He alone was worth the price of admission. John’s message was very straightforward. He believes leadership and the ability to influence others is a must for the person who wants to succeed in life. Your ability to have successful relationships or a successful job and your overall satisfaction with life will have something to do with your ability to influence others and yourself.

To my mind, every one of us is a leader regardless of position, marital status, age, sex, etc. John believes there are five levels of leadership. These are defined as follows:

Level 1. Position - This is the most basic level of leadership. You have a title and that's it. You will only be able to lead based on what that title enables you to lead with. Your authority only goes as far as the title and people will only follow you as far as your title allows. An example of this would be a first level manager in an organization. People that you are managing will do just enough to please you. You are only leading them in name and your leverage is only what authority has been given to you from above.

Level 2. Permission - This is when people begin to follow you because they want to. This is the true beginning of influence. You can begin to really grow as a person and organization when people follow you voluntarily.

Level 3. Production - People begin to produce and follow you because of what they see you doing for the organization. People like what you do and also contribute themselves.

Level 4. People Development - At this point in leadership, you have others follow you because of what you've done for them personally. You've poured into other people and they are growing in leadership themselves.

Level 5. Personhood - This is the pinnacle of leadership and occurs when people follow you based on who you are and what you represent or stand for. John Maxwell says that this level is reserved for people who have spent years growing others and their organization. Very few people make it to this level.

The reality is we are all most likely at different levels of leadership with different people. The challenge for each of us is to work to move up the step grid in these relationships understanding this takes time, effort and commitment.

So, my question to you is……What level would others put you at in terms of your leadership role with them?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Back again…blog update # 2!

My 1st blog was completed after 16 days on the job.  I have now been on site for 25 days since day 1 on February 9.  At the same time, I feel I am very connected and involved with the day to day activities and issues as a result of the technology I have access to. Not a day goes by without some thought or activity associated with the City of Kawartha Lakes.  As I update this blog it is Sunday evening….see what I mean!

I have continued to meet with many employees throughout the organization. This has proven to be a great opportunity for me to listen and learn. I will continue to wander around all our offices, with and without a purpose, so don’t be surprised to see me.

At the outset let me say congratulations to all who made our United Way campaign a success and helped to push it over the goal. I can’t think of a more worthwhile cause, although I realize there are many needs throughout the community. Special thanks to the Campaign organizers and those who supported this cause. Frankly, we can and should do better through the involvement of more employees for an organization our size.

We recently had an internal chili competition. Up until this event, my chili recipe, which I am very proud of, had never finished lower than 2nd in a competition. When the results were in let’s just say this proved to be a very humbling and somewhat humiliating experience for me. They tell me my entry tied for 3rd! I understand the finals are set for later this week. Good luck to all entrants.

I continue to learn a great deal every day.  I also continue to be impressed by many in the organization. Unfortunately, most of my time is dealing with past issues that need to be addressed and resolved. Frankly, I would rather be dealing with matters that deal with the future and with change.

We are making progress with the CAO recruitment. An organization has been selected to assist us and this group is moving ahead very nicely behind the scenes. They have interviewed most, if not all of Council on a one on one basis and have begun external advertising for this position. People ask me when will a new candidate be on site and the answer is I don’t know the date. I am willing to assist in the interim and we remain committed to recruit a very capable and competent leader in this role. Perhaps a decision will be made by sometime in June.

I am excited about the pending approval by Council of the North West Trunk initiative. Staff has done an excellent job in moving this project along of late. There are significant economic benefits to the CKL from this development over time. I am told there are around 6,000 lots in this future development area. Make no mistake about it; this community will grow in the days ahead I have no doubt it will look quite different 20-25 years out from today.

We should all be very concerned about the overall unemployment in this area. I can’t think of anything more important than economic development and I intend to make this a priority internally. We, the municipality, our MP and our MPP need to make positive things happen and the sooner the better. I believe the results of the pending Provincial and Federal elections will be more important than ever for this community.

Our internal budget process is in need of help. The fact is our staff and our Council would like to see improvements to the effectiveness and efficiency of this process. I have considerable experience in this area and I am looking forward to seeing what we can do, collectively, to make everyone feel better about this activity. Meetings are scheduled in this regard during the coming month. This is the sort of thing I want to spend my time on, namely the future and not the past.

Another agenda item I have in the near future is the Employee Suggestion Program. There has been quite a bit of activity done on this but it has yet to be implemented. This too will be addressed and moved ahead, one way or the other.

I remain more convinced than ever there are many opportunities for both challenge and change within this organization. I also believe we, as in all levels and areas in the organization need to develop a greater sense of urgency and commitment to make positive change happen. There are many reasons why change faces resistance but this is another topic.  I remain open to talking with anyone at anytime about your ideas for positive change. I find this exciting and I welcome your feedback.

Until the next time, stay positive and make something happen!


Monday, March 14, 2011

Interim CAO Dave Paterson opens the lines of communication

I have seen this method of communication used effectively elsewhere and during my time here I will provide monthly updates of my activities and comments for those interested. The comments will be brief and hopefully this forum will give readers some additional insight into the activities of your CAO. I will provide an update every 3 – 4 weeks going forward.

To begin with, it is indeed a pleasure to be a part of this organization, if only on an interim basis. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever anticipate I would have such an opportunity. At the outset, let me say I am honoured to serve the citizens of the City of Kawartha Lakes and I do not take this responsibility lightly.

Success for me during my time here will be measured by the thoughts and comments of others, not myself. Specifically, I have every intention of making a positive difference in the eyes of our employees, our Council and our taxpayers.

Many of you know I live in the Peterborough area and am very involved and committed in a number of activities, most of which are volunteer in nature. I am doing my best to fulfill the CAO role during the 3 days a week that I am at City Hall. In reality I am actually very connected to the daily CAO role 7 days a week thanks to technology and the very nature of this position.

I firmly believe your next CAO should live within the geographic boundaries of the City of Kawartha Lakes. I would also expect the next CAO to be very involved in your community in leadership positions. This person needs to be visible in the community and develop a well respected profile with taxpayers. I will be assisting the Mayor and Council members in getting you an outstanding leader going forward.

So, what have I been doing to-date? Well, during my 16 days on site so far I have made a point of getting to meet and know as many people as possible. These meetings have been one on one and in groups. I have been meeting with employees, at all levels and in multiple locations, not only in the Lindsay area but also at the five Service Centres throughout the area. You can’t do this job if you don’t know the people, their issues or concerns, and dialogue about opportunities. I have also met directly with a number of Councillors in an effort to understand their perspective on issues and the role of the CAO.

Although my background has been in the private sector I see many similarities between my past life and my new responsibilities. At the end of the day I believe there are more similarities than differences. It all comes down to people and processes.

I am entirely committed to working very closely with both staff and Council. We are one organization with one plan. We clearly must work together in the best interests of all taxpayers. Mayor Ric McGee and I are working very closely together as we have much to gain and a lot to learn by working in a collaborative manner.

Jack Welch is GE’s former Chairman and I love one of his quotes… "If you’re stagnant, you’re dead". I could not agree more. I view myself as a catalyst for change. We need to embrace change throughout this organization. My job is to help others get rid of bottlenecks and roadblocks. In this regard, I see lots of opportunities and these will be pursued.

Feel free to drop me a line or give me a call with your thoughts. We need to work together!

Until mid April….