Expansion and contraction

Back in September, executive financial officer Sarf Ahmed was given an "expanded leadership role" at the ministry of children and family development, adding the title of assistant deputy minister of corporate management to his business card. But now, eight months later, he's taken a job as the assistant deputy minister of workplace solutions at Shared Services BC - which got a pounding during the government's recent workforce adjustment initiative. In an email sent yesterday, Mr. Ahmed's soon-to-be-former boss Lesley du Toit announced his departure would necessitate "a few changes to the organization." Anticipating how the ministry's long-suffering employees might feel about that, the deputy minister added, "I know that for some folk this will be hard to have yet another change and I want you to know that all of us in the Leadership Team will be there to support you. We do not have absolute certainty on all changes, but will be sure to give those who are impacted the reassurance of specifics within the next 2 weeks." So, in the meantime, here's what the ministry's reporting structure will look like.

Dear colleagues:

I am both sad and pleased to announce that Sarf Ahmed, ADM of Corporate Services, has accepted a position as ADM Workplace Solutions, Shared Services BC, at the Ministry of Citizens' Services and will begin there on Monday the 17th May. This is a new and well-deserved opportunity for Sarf and we congratulate him and wish him much success in his new role! Sarf means a great deal to our ministry and to many of us personally and we will miss him greatly. He has taught us all a great deal, contributed so much to our transformation work, and modelled exceptional leadership in MCFD over many years and I have no doubt that he will continue to contribute significantly to Shared Services and the Public Service as a whole.

Since joining government, Sarf has worked in various positions in the Ministries of Forests and Social Services before joining the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD). He has been part of the Finance and Corporate Services team in MCFD since its creation in 1996 and has been responsible for a wide variety of roles over the years . His commitment to improve social services has been evident in all of his work and particularly through his active involvement in the Government/Non Profit Sector initiative as co-chair of a task force in procurement and performance management. He was the Executive Sponsor for the implementation of the BC Negotiated Funding Framework for the community social services sector, a co-sponsor for reviewing MCFD's Aboriginal Contracting Framework with participation from Aboriginal stakeholders, and is the Executive Sponsor for MCFD's Collaborative Contracting Framework. Last year Sarf was promoted to ADM Corporate Services with his responsibilities expanded to include additional program areas. He has been an integral part of our Leadership Team over the last several years and has made a huge positive impact on the ministry in many ways. His skill in financial management and leadership was recently recognized by the Premier and his procurement team received a 2009/10 Premier's award in recognition of their work.

With Sarf going we have to make a few changes to the organization. I know that for some folk this will be hard to have yet another change and I want you to know that all of us in the Leadership Team will be there to support you. We do not have absolute certainty on all changes, but will be sure to give those who are impacted the reassurance of specifics within the next 2 weeks.

I have considerable faith in those who will step up into new roles and look forward to their participation in MCFD within the Leadership Team and throughout our transformation work.

These are the changes which are definite and which will take effect on Monday, May 17th:

* The Chief Information Officer, Gina Pala, will report to Mark Sieben

* Craig Wilkinson will have oversight of the Procurement team. Craig will report to Mark Sieben

* Autism and Medical Benefits will fall under Mark Sieben at this point and more detail will be given to this group in the near future

* Child Care Operations and Integrated Case Management will report to Chuck Eamer, ADM CFD

* Quality Assurance Practice in Regions will be moved to Doug Hughes

I am very pleased to announce that Craig Wilkinson is promoted to Executive Financial Officer. Congratulations Craig! We have no doubt that you will continue in Sarf's footsteps as an excellent leader and financial manager.

Thank you to all our staff in the Provincial Office for your continued patience with the changes and your exceptional work in spite of dealing with change, and thank you to Mark and the ADM's who will take on a few new responsibilities.

Regards,

Lesley

3 Comments

Okay Deputy Min of MCFD, what does this mean:

"Autism and Medical Benefits will fall under Mark Sieben at this point and more detail will be given to this group in the near future"

Just askin'.

Ms. du Toit wrote to her colleagues: "...I want you to know that all of us in the Leadership Team will be there to support you..."

This wording indicates du Toit's preference for an imperial, centralized and autocratic style. Even the capitalized letters of "Leadership Team" imply the ministry is organised on authoritarian lines. In such organizations, lower level people become expert at passing the buck and avoiding decision making. Through conflict and lack of co-operation, the organization performs poorly, job satisfaction reduces and turnover rises. Groups with authoritarian management styles tend to repeat errors and not learn from mistakes.

Sounds like the Ministry of Children and Family Development does it not?

nobody's been allowed to think about making a decision since Dutoit held her first meeting with ministry staff where she told them all they would either do what she said or she would "help them move on" -four years ago but the words are still ringing in there ears, whhoever's left that is.

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