The Opinion Page
News and comments about the issues facing today's SCM and Inventory Management professionals.
The iconic Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have endured theor fair share of troubles lately, not the least of which is the tyrranical rule of their current Commissioner, Mr. William Elliott.
From the outset, Mr. Elliott's appointment to head up the RCMP has been problematic. In today's Edmonton Sun newspaper, Pamela Roth writes:
RCMP Commissioner William Elliott says he doesn’t regret a controversial decision to carry a gun on a trip to Afghanistan last year.
Following his visit to the war-torn country in April 2010, a photograph of Elliott — a civilian commissioner — wearing an RCMP uniform and carrying a holstered gun appeared in the mission’s newsletter.
The photograph raised questions among rank-and-file officers about whether Elliott had the proper qualifications to carry the weapon, and eventually led to a formal complaint being launched.
Elliott, who was in Edmonton on Thursday, said he was carrying the gun for personal protection and had some training before he went on the mission.
“People think I should have been trained to the same standards as our men and women who are on the streets of Canada arresting people and doing law enforcement. That’s not what I was doing in Afghanistan,” said Elliott. “I have no regrets to make the decision that I took.”
The Harper government announced last week that Elliott will step down this summer as the RCMP’s first civilian commissioner.
Elliott has been ruffling feathers since he was appointed in 2007, forcing the government to launch an internal human resources review of his management of the force.
This little incident pales in comparison to his behaviour vis-a-vis his own employees during his tenure as commisioner. It seems that he was the consummate "office bully." He regularly berated, humiliated, and otherwise yelled at his underlings, showing a total lack of interpersonal skills. The situation became so bad, that on February 8, 2011, it was the subject of a hearing with the Public Safety Committee of Canada's House of Commons.
At the hearing, Elliott was accused of causing the morale of the RCMP to sink to an "all time low" because of his abusive leadership style.
Deputy Commissioner Raf Souccar, along with former assistant commissioner Mike McDonell led was was effectively a revolt against Elliott last summer. It shook the RCMP to its core. Elliott has announced that he will resign effective July 2011. Presumably he will be replaced by an RCMP insider.
And now I come to the point of this entry.
The comments from Raf Souccar were fascinating, and aligned directly with the Ten Toxins of Strategic Planning that I revealed in my blog entry just previous to this one.
Souccar testified before the Commons committee that he had spoken to Elliott about his behaviour, and found that he (Elliott) either could not, or would not change." "Members wanted to come forward with complaints," said Souccar, "but they were fearful that they would either lose their jobs, or that they would be moved out of their current positions."
"I have to tell you that I had so many people complain to me about Bill Elliott's disrespectful behaviour that my very position required me to act. I was a member of the Senior Executive Committee, and I could no longer point a finger of blame at the senior executives for inaction, because I was one,. Mr. Chairman, I took my position very seriously and could not stand by and watch while two of our very core values, Respect, and Compassion, be nothing more than words hanging on a wall in our buildings across Canada."
Bravo, Mr. Souccar. We would all be well served by more senior executives who share your sense of courage and integrity.
As for the monster called Bill Elliott? No doubt he will secure a lucrative and meaningless position somewhere in the civil service. The private sector, however, should be ashamed that it breeds and rewards brutality such as his.
John Skelton is the Principal Consultant and founder of Strategic Inventory Management.