Former Sackville firefighter Kevin Scott says he needs to speak to the consultants conducting a workplace assessment of the town’s fire department, but has yet to receive an invitation to an interview.
“I think they need to know that the issues have been going on for several years with no resolution during our time with Sackville Fire and Rescue,” Scott says in a message to Warktimes.
“They need to know how frustrating it’s been to deal with favouritism and bullying and getting nowhere with the chief and CAO.”
The town hired Montana Consulting Group of Moncton last month to conduct the workplace assessment after Warktimes published stories about what one former firefighter called the “toxic work environment” in the fire department.
Scott, who resigned in December and who now volunteers with the Point de Bute fire department, says he has counted 17 Sackville firefighters who have resigned in the last five years.
Not an investigation
Last week, Montana Consulting Group e-mailed letters to current Sackville firefighters inviting them to face-to-face, 30 minute interviews with the consultants from May 11 to May 13 or, if they prefer to meet online because of COVID-19, they can book an interview during the week of May 17.
The consultants’ letter tells the firefighters there are certain things worth noting about the workplace assessment.
“First, it is not an investigation: we are not investigating specific allegations and there is no respondent identified,” the letter says.
“A workplace assessment is a proven way to determine what the underlying issues and challenges are within a workplace to make proper recommendations and improvements.”
The letter promises firefighters that any information they give during interviews will remain confidential and they will not be identified in the report the consultants write.
“The only exception for the assessment is that we may have to refer to a specific position to address some concerns, usually positions of leadership, or if we were made aware of severe behaviors or comments contrary to the Town of Sackville’s Workplace Harassment and Violence Policy,” the letter says.
“Should the latter be the case, we may have to inform the Town of Sackville to determine the proper course of action,” it adds.
“Your participation in this initiative is voluntary, but we do hope that you will agree to participate to help us get a clear understanding of the current reality.”
To read the letter, click here.
Kevin Scott says that so far, neither he nor other former firefighters quoted in Warktimes articles have received invitations for an interview with the Montana consultants.
In April, CAO Jamie Burke said it would be up to the consultants to decide whom they will interview. The company itself did not respond to a phone message from Warktimes.
Scott, who served for more than 11 years in the Sackville fire department, says it’s crucial that former firefighters be included in the review if the consultants want to get a full picture of the bullying, harassment, favouritism and discrimination that has been happening in Sackville Fire & Rescue.
“This isn’t something that just started, and has been ongoing for several years,” he says.