I worked for nearly 20 years as an emergency planner for a Scottish local authority.
On Wednesday 15 February 2006, I was invited to a meeting with my line manager at 1400 hours in his office. He advised me that our departmental director had identified the production of a generic major incident plan as a priority and she wanted it completed within three months. He said that I was to move into an empty office across from his own and we would work on it together. I was extremely surprised by this instruction, especially as it meant that that I would be unable to discharge other duties that fell to me in my position, not only in respect of my employing authority, but also under a service level agreement for the local health service.
I suspected that I was being set up for disciplinary action. My managers would have expected me to fight tooth and nail to remain in the Emergency Centre. I raised no objection to his proposal and his demeanour immediately confirmed that my acquiescence was unexpected. I asked him what was going to happen to the Emergency Centre and he said that his emergency planning assistant Jim (false name) would be there. The meeting went on much longer than I felt the discussion warranted but we were on reasonably amicable terms. Before leaving his office I suggested that he ring Jim and advise him what had been decided.
He agreed to this and I walked back to my office. When I got there shortly after 1600 hours, Jim was not there and I assumed that he had left just before I came back. About ten minutes later my manager phoned and told me that Jim had reported some problem at home to Personnel and had been allowed to go home early.
When I got to my office shortly before 0900 hours on Thursday 16 February, Jim was already there. He seemed to be very tense and he told me it was time to “put our cards on the table”. He said that he had been told to lie to me about the events of yesterday afternoon but that he was going to tell me all about it. He also said that he expected me to be straight with him. He told me that a clerical officer from Personnel had telephoned him just after I had left the office to meet my manager and told him to go home. This was on my manager's instructions, she said. Jim then told me that my manager had phoned him at home that evening and told him to tell me that he had asked to be allowed to go home. Jim also said that my manager had told him that I had said that he was not competent to do the work that I was going to be leaving behind. I was absolutely shocked. I never said this. I assured Jim that I have the highest regard for his ability and had never made a secret of that fact. Jim then went on to say that he had come in to work that day prepared to “rip my arms off and beat me to death with the stumps”, if I hadn’t persuaded him that I had not made any such statement about his competence.
I feel that my manager put me at considerable risk when he lied to Jim. He had told me himself that Jim had a problem with “anger management” and I consider that it was at the very least irresponsible, to put me in such a position.
My manager came to the Emergency Centre around 1000 hours that day with a technician from IT, to take away my PC and office chair. I confronted him about the false statement he had made to Jim. He told me that he had sent Jim home to protect him from me in case I had become angry at being required to move from my office. I was absolutely dumbfounded, I assured him that I don’t go around assaulting people and in any case, I can’t imagine someone as young, fit and strong as Jim (who used to be on a Royal Navy Field Gun Team), needing any protection from me. As far as Jim's competence is concerned, he stated that Jim had misunderstood the definition of 'competence' that he, my manager, had been using during their telephone conversation.
Mealy-mouthed, or what?
I no longer work with these people.