Hey Pete, uh, gotta tell ya, it took a while for my food to come out the other day. I didn’t want to say anything, but I figured since you always say you want to know, I’ll tell you.
I’m in Wegmans talking to a client of mine about this and that when they mention an experience at my place that could have gone better. (And by the way, I really want to know if something is not as it should be, so please, if you see me, don’t hesitate to chat with me.)
But back to the customer.
I could have explained all the reasons that may have caused the delay in receiving their order. I could have said I wasn’t working that day so it’s not my fault. I could have said that our industry has been hit hard by the lack of personnel. Heck, I could have said a lot of things, but that’s not how it goes. As the owner, you listen, you say, “I’m sorry for your experience,” and you take those comments, get back to work, and see if you can make sure those issues don’t happen again.
But I’m going to take the other route this time, and explain why things can go wrong.
However, I will not use my line of work as an example in this column.
I will use our local police department.
In any place of business where more than the owner works, you are going to have problems with the employees. People are not machines and they have a host of things that affect the way they work. Family life, health issues, and financial issues are just a few of the things that can negatively impact a person’s ability to perform at optimal levels.
Me being the sole proprietor, I decide when enough is enough and it’s time for someone to go.
The chief of police doesn’t have that luxury. He is bound by the union’s collective agreement.
If an officer does something he shouldn’t, he can’t just be fired. There are steps leading to this end. Steps that can be very long to go through. Sometimes, in fact, these steps can take years.
Then there are the labor shortages that have affected almost all of us here in America.
If I’m understaffed enough, I just close (I’m closed on Tuesdays even as I write this).
Can you imagine calling the police department (I’ll expand on this and also say the local fire department and ambulance) and getting an answering machine that says, “Hello, our normal hours of operation are Wednesday through Monday, and we’re closed Tuesday until further notice. Please leave a message.”
Seriously, could you imagine?
(By the way, for any disclosure, I happen to know the chief of police in Geneva. I also knew the chief before him…and the chief before him…and so on. I also know the code officer, the fire chief, the city manager, and the guy who plows the streets. If you’ve been in business in Geneva for more than a while, you get to know just about everyone.)
So that brings me to the guest column in last Saturday’s Insight section saying the leader should be fired for the conduct of his officers.
I felt it was a bit of a stretch to claim that the ongoing feud between Councilman Salamendra and the GPD elevates to the level of ‘rape culture’ or ‘femicide’ as noted in the op. . Photoshopping the “GPD” logo onto an image of the advisor’s forehead and turning it into a screensaver is childish, unprofessional, and deserves a reprimand or suspension. But comparing it to “rape culture” understates the horrific crime of rape. And to be fair, it’s not as if the counselor and some police officers have been completely neutral with each other on every issue. There were a few button presses on both sides.
So, given that there has been questionable behavior on both sides and that the boss has his hands tied by the union, what exactly would you want him to do?
Pete Mitchell writes a regular column for The Times, “In America,” which appears every other Monday. He lives in Geneva.