Show me the money!

Ida Chong, the minister responsible for the British Columbia public service agency, says the results of a recent government employee survey indicate "there's room for improvement" in the civil service. That survey, which was reported on exclusively by Public Eye, found an average of just 29 percent agreed with statements such as "executives in my organization make effective and timely decisions" and "I have confidence in the senior leadership of my organization."

When asked why she thought executives received so few favourable reviews, Minister Chong said there has been a change in the government work environment "in terms of perhaps new and different responsibilities" since the Liberals were elected. She also noted the survey was conducted in February and March - "prior to all the wage settlements" with public sector unions. And "sometimes, a very large influence or factor in responses can be (wage) satisfaction."

Minister Chong then went onto explain her government has done much to promote excellence and innovation amongst government workers - including introducing awards recongizing such service and establishing a leadership centre that develops career opportunities for bureaucrats.

But, if that's the case, then why are civil servants so dissatisfied, we wondered? Well, one explanation, advanced by Minister Chong, is that the Campbell administration "might have to do a better job in terms" of letting civil servants know about those initiatives. "Sometimes it's just awareness."

And awareness also seems to be a problem amongst members of the Campbell administration's executive council. In an earlier interview with Public Eye, Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister Mike De Jong said he hadn't seen the public service survey. "And if I have, I don't remember it."

Asked about that response, Minister Chong said the survey might not have been "as well publicized amongst all my colleagues as it should have been." But better communications isn't the only measure the Campbell administration will be taking to make the civil service a more attractive work environment. The premier's deputy minister Jessica McDonald recently announced corporate human resources plan which includes among its goals "improved workplace health and employee engagement.” Although, that plan wasn't "a direct response” to the survey results, said Minister Chong.

5 Comments

After 33 years in the public service, retiring recently as a middle manager, I believe the reason for the survey results are simple.

The current government doesn't respect their employees, despite what they claim. This inevitably results in employees lack of trust in the senior management.

One of my first 'Leadership in the New Era' sessions started with the premier telling us we were either 'with him' of we should 'hit the road'. Not exactly the most inspiring way to introduce us to the new goverment.

This attitude continues today, with fear tactics and threats the more common method of 'motivating' employees.

If the government wants to turn this around they have to stop treating public servants as a bunch of card-carrying 'NPDers' out to get the Liberals.

Most public servants are hard-working and dedicated, regardless of the government in power.

It is more difficult at present for public servants because they see the reality of privatization (same or higher cost, less service), but continue to try and do their jobs despite all the 'hypocrisy' around them.

The survey likely reflects that the public service is aging, and the large number of career public servants are getting a bit cynical after many years of doing their jobs in spite of the politics.

I hold a high level of respect for those public servants that have stayed on and do such a great job in spite of all the roadblocks to success.

Not a direct response ehh? Can Ida explain the emphasis for ministries to bring on new hires below the age of 30? Assuming there are a lot of people under the age of 30 that want to work for the province and pay Victoria/Vancouver real estate costs.

There are many folk very anxious to get on board with government. Great benefits, unlimited sick days, eat your breakfast & lunch on gov't time so you can shop on your own time, 30 minute coffee breaks, 90 minute lunch breaks (oops, I mean shopping breaks), newest in IT & systems, unlimited office supplies (take some home!), and so forth. There are people who work a second job on gov't (taxpayers) time & dime. And you can earn $37,000/yr being a receptionist, answering phones and greeting people.

Is it any wonder civil servants are so unhappy?

No ceratain how loang you have been out GladToBeOut, but the Public sector has changed. ther are no receptionist - you a clerk doing five other jobs that has to talk any one taht walks up to them and interrupts their work. Those offices like welfare have the staff member behind armoried glass, but they still are expected to do five other jobs.

Remember the announcement by the Government on Nov 27 that Government office were open! That's so the Government doesn't have to pay anyone who didn't show up.

New systems? You have been out for a long time. The new P3 initatives have you the taxpayer paying top of the line prices and having crap delievered.

Unlimited sick time! BUll Shit! You get a short amount of time, then you endup on UI short term disability.

What you get to do in teh Government is attend meeting ad nauseam talking about the colour of the deck chairs on the titanic, while the contract deliver balsa wood benchs.

Grow up GladToBeOut! The civil service is a sucky place to work, unless it is in the HR department, where yyour job is to stroke the ego of the politician.

GladToBeOut claims "There are people who work a second job on gov't (taxpayers) time & dime."

Are you refering to "moonlighting"? Do you mean people who hold a second job?

Conservatives label someone with a main job at a private company, who then gets a second job at another company, as hard-working and ambitious. But, if a government employee gets a second job with a private company the conservatives call them lazy and greedy. Why is that? Could it be just pure, petty politics?

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