CASE 5: A COMPETENT BUT SLOW EMPLOYEE

| June 19, 2015

CASE 5: A COMPETENT BUT SLOW EMPLOYEE

First Deputy County Clerk Christie Baird was reviewing the personnel file of Heather Points, an employee she had hired almost six months earlier.

Heather had been hired to replace a young woman named Rebecca Luker who had left the Clerk?s Office to go back to college and finish her degree.

Rebecca had been a model employee. She had been easy to get along with, and everyone in the office had really liked her.

In addition to her outgoing personality, Rebecca had a good work ethic and she had quickly learned all the computer programs in the office as well as

the land records which were kept in both electronic and hard copy formats as required by state law.

When Rebecca left, everyone knew that she would be hard to replace and that anyone who did take her place would have ?big shoes to fill.? Heather was

chosen from a candidate pool of twenty-four applicants most of whom were at least partially qualified for the position as it was advertised. Heather

was forty-nine when she was hired, and although she had a different personality than Rebecca, most people in the office felt she would be the best

fit for the position. They thought that, due to her age, Heather would be less likely than younger candidates to leave after only a year or two to

return to school. In addition, Heather had worked in a law office as a legal secretary in her last position. Most people in the office thought her

experience would be beneficial to the Clerk?s Office. Most importantly, the hiring committee was enthused about Heather?s pleasing personality and,

as a result, did not feel the need to conduct as thorough a reference check as they would normally.

After six months, Christie was beginning to have doubts about Heather. Heather had been slow to learn how the state indexed land records; after two

rounds of training she was now only minimally competent. She was still struggling with the indexing methodology. Christie inquired about Heather?s

previous job, ?I thought that you worked in a law office prior to working here. Didn?t you already have experience with land and title records,

indexes, and searches?? Heather explained that she had worked for a firm that handled personal injury cases only and that she had no experience in

real property law as a result.

In addition to having trouble with the land records, Heather struggled to learn the computer programs in the office. After nearly six months, Heather

was minimally competent in all of her duties, and many of the functions of the office had slowed down since Rebecca left. Since the Clerk?s Office

was already operating on an almost ?skeleton staff,? every individual in the office had to interact and rely on every other staff member. As a

result, Christie was seriously considering recommending that the County Clerk Kelly Monden terminate Heather?s employment prior to the end of her

probationary period while she could still be let go without cause. After the probationary period, the policy of the County Board of Commissioners was

that an employee could only be fired for ?just and good cause.? Christie?s only hesitation was that it would take some time to train a new employee

and get them up to speed. (Sharp 21-22)

Reference:

Sharp, Brett S., Grant Aguirre, and Kickham. Managing in the Public Sector: A Casebook in Ethics and Leadership. Pearson Learning Solutions, 2013.

If you were in Christie’s position, what would you do? Be as detailed as possible. Explain your decision.

Do you think that Christie’s decision-making process is sound? Explain.

Support your statements with a peer reviewed article.

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