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Conflict Resolution

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The city of Bedford Falls has two men who share similar duties and whose conflicts have caused a great deal of inefficiencies and stress among the other city workers. On a number of occasions, the Director of Municipal Services has been present in situations where a conflict has occurred between Mr. Kelly and Mr. Booker. He waits them out, then when both gentlemen leave with no resolution to their differences, the Director calls upon other city employees who witnessed the conflict and asks what they feel was actually going on. The city employees will comment on being concerned about Mr. Kelly's attitude toward the employees and Mr. Booker, about Mr. Booker's attitude toward Mr. Kelly's short-comings, and how often city workers are caught in the middle of the conflicts that occur between these two. After the Director hears out the workers, no changes have yet to be noted.

Mr. Kelly was hired as a laborer approximately 10 years ago. The town hired him after he left a similar job in another location. After five years, due to a rearrangement in the management structure and the departure of several upper management personnel, he was promoted to the position of Assistant Superintendent of Public Works. He worked immediately under the Superintendent of Public Works and was responsible for assisting his supervisor in various duties, overseeing work crews, and filling in for the Superintendent in his absence. Mr. Kelly held the position of Assistant Superintendent of Public Works for 2 years and basically served as an errand boy for the Superintendent. At this time, another restructure took place and several more upper management personnel were let go. Mr. Kelly was then made Director of Public Works, which basically is the same job he already had but with a bit more responsibility. He was now responsible for assignment of work crews and personnel (approx. 40-50 employees) as needed to conduct

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necessary town business such as: purchasing, sanitation, water & sewer maintenance, and the like. He works directly under the Director of Municipal Services, which is basically a desk job/paper pushing version of the Superintendent of Public Works. Mr. Kelly has held this position for the last 3 years and has managed to keep his job, although not due to any efficiency of action or management skills. It is suspected he has done that with the assistance of the Director of Municipal Services, who is a personal friend to Mr. Kelly. The Director of Municipal Services often covers Mr. Kelly's tracks when there are problems in his department.

During this same ten-year period, Mr. Booker was asked to fill these vacancies as they came available, prior to promoting Mr. Kelly into them. Mr. Booker was employed by the State during this period and had been there as a Supervisor (overseeing approx. 200+ employees) for nearly 15 years. Because the town did not have a state pension plan for time served, Mr. Booker refused the offered positions during the first two restructures

so he would not lose his state pension. When the last restructure took place, the town finally adopted the state pension plan and again offered Mr. Booker the opportunity to fill a new management position. Since he could then transfer his pension, and would have

more time to spend with his family without losing any pay, he accepted the position of Public Works Inspector. He is his own supervisor and runs his own department. He is under the supervision of the Director of Municipal Services, the Town Manager, the Mayor, and the Town Council. His responsibilities are: meeting with independent contractors and upper management, as listed previously, regarding contractual and construction type projects such as: downtown revitalization projects, re-zoning, town property plans/construction, new water/sewer lines, etc. He is also to assume Mr. Kelly's responsibilities in his absence. Mr. Booker's only affiliation with the Public

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Works Department and Mr. Kelly is to arrange for the proper manpower needed for each project, and to make Mr. Kelly aware of project status/completion, etc. He also must report any emergencies, changes, or work assignments that were in effect while assuming Mr. Kelly's responsibilities. During emergency situations such as a hurricane, snowstorm, etc., Mr. Booker is to run any crew working during an extra shift. If around-the-clock crews are needed, Mr. Booker will run one shift and Mr. Kelly the other.

Mr. Kelly is under the assumption that, since he basically was an errand boy for the Superintendent when he was the assistant, Mr. Booker's position is comparable to that and Mr. Booker should also act as his errand boy. This is the root cause of much of the conflict between these two men. Mr. Booker does not work for Mr. Kelly, and he resents this. When Mr. Kelly needs to delegate tasks he does so only so that when things go wrong, he has a scapegoat to pin the blame on. Mr. Booker knows this and of course has no respect for Mr. Kelly because of it. Mr. Kelly's belief that Mr. Booker is in an inferior position also causes resentment and is yet another point of conflict and contention. It's possible that the conflict between Mr. Kelly and Mr. Booker is going to get to the point where either one or both of them quits. They have two very different views on how to manage a department.

As for the employee's trust and respect, Mr. Kelly's style is to bully and threaten people and he likes to delegate responsibilities to others more qualified so that he can place blame elsewhere if things should go wrong. He will accept all the credit if things go right but takes no responsibility for failures or shortfalls. He never explains to his crews or anyone else why he wants things done a certain way or in a specific time frame. He also doesn't check to make sure he is assigning the right crew to the right job. Mr. Kelly incorrectly finds it unnecessary to check to see if the contractors are ready for the extra

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manpower or if there is a delay, and never checks to make sure all necessary supplies and equipment are available before the start of a project. If there is a delay of any kind for contract jobs, he places blame on the contractor. If the supplies/equipment are unavailable, it is the Purchasing Agent's fault. Either they had not been ordered or it wasn't understood that there was a priority on receipt of the items. Mr. Kelly will often order items required for a routine job on a, "I needed it yesterday" basis. He never waits to confirm availability or delivery dates. He then wants to know why items don't get there when he expected them



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