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Thread: Taking responsibility

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Taking responsibility

    I have been in my new current planning position for a few weeks (my first ever, my other experience was with a non-profit consulting agency). I have been learning a lot, it's been great.

    Unfortunately, I've also been finding that on my very first projects I am dealing with bosses who tell me to do something and then when I do it and someone gets mad, they won't say they told me to...if that makes sense.

    Basically, I had a subdivision case where the applicant didn't get their plans in until the day it was due to be distributed to the PC. My boss was pushing me to do my report even though two of our staff had problems with the plan that needed to be addressed. He said that since it looked like they had addressed them in the resubmittal, I should just do my report. Never mind that if the applicant is turning their $hit in that late, it's not our job to work our a$$e$ off trying to get it done. Then we get a plan commissioner calling about those questions, and I'm left with my d*ick in my hand. When it's my FIRST case (in my life), I think that leaving me there in the dust when I was doing what my boss told me is shady.

    I've certainly learned my lesson. Namely, don't rely on anyone else's advice. Does anyone have any other tips about these kinds of situations that could help me in the future?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    It's a awful position to be in, especially when you're in a situation where you feel you must prove yourself. I feel for you. I guess you learned a bit about your boss too - you can't rely on him to stand up for you. It almost sounds like he has his own hidden agenda in this particular case. But if he's always like this, then he probably has self-image and self-security issues.

    Very much depends on the situation and the particular stakes involved. For me, the bottom line is, do not do what is clearly wrong. I have to live with myself and I like living with a clear conscience.

    If there's something very dubious and you feel you're being used, ask for explicit instructions in writing. The specific situation often makes this impossible or unreasonable...but you can ask him "can I quote you on that?" to let him know you expect him to take his share of the responsibility.

    Unfortunately, it is because of cases like this that all kinds of bureaucratic rules are made - to protect the client, or the officer, or the procedure itself.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Kinda lost here.
    The applicant turned the submittal in by the due date, which is the same day it had to be distributed to the plan commission, correct? I don't see how this is late: it's just more stress for you to get your work done for that evening's meeting. Did two of your staff have problems with the first submittal or the resubmittal? If the items were corrected in the resubmittal, then your boss would be right, and you could write your report.

    You said when someone get's mad, who is this someone: is it your boss, the petitioner, the plan commissioner? Are they lying or did you not fully understand the directions?

    I can't really tell if this is an ethics problem just yet. Sounds to me like you have no time between receiving a submittal and preparing the report, which can ultimately be changed through an ordinance amendment. Maybe there are also some communication problems: maybe your boss is not giving the full story, maybe it is up to you how to figure it out (thats the learning curve)...or....maybe he really is lying. I just need a little more info first.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    Kinda lost here.
    The applicant turned the submittal in by the due date, which is the same day it had to be distributed to the plan commission, correct? I don't see how this is late: it's just more stress for you to get your work done for that evening's meeting. Did two of your staff have problems with the first submittal or the resubmittal? If the items were corrected in the resubmittal, then your boss would be right, and you could write your report.

    You said when someone get's mad, who is this someone: is it your boss, the petitioner, the plan commissioner? Are they lying or did you not fully understand the directions?

    I can't really tell if this is an ethics problem just yet. Sounds to me like you have no time between receiving a submittal and preparing the report, which can ultimately be changed through an ordinance amendment. Maybe there are also some communication problems: maybe your boss is not giving the full story, maybe it is up to you how to figure it out (thats the learning curve)...or....maybe he really is lying. I just need a little more info first.
    My original post was more of a rant than an actual attempt to clearly explain the situation and may have been more suited to the FAC.

    The applicant turned in the submittal late. The rules are there, giving a clear timeline, but there are applicants who don't follow those timelines or our people who make special exceptions, making the rules pointless.

    The resubmittal corrected most of the original problems, but not all. I couldn't tell if it had corrected one of the problems (not my area of expertise), I asked the boss and he said, oh yeah, they addressed that, just write the report and don't take the new drawings to those people who had problems with the original. Reports went out, and a plan commissioner noticed that the problem had not actually been addressed. Then it was as if I hadn't acted on anyone's advice, just my own stupidity.

    I handled it well, got the report done, then talked to the right people and straightened out the whole mess. I'm disappointed with the situation. Ethically...i just want to keep my hands clean.

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