Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Doing it right

I've been 'working' on this blog post for many months now.  I can't honestly remember how many times I have started it, edited it, and deleted it.  This is without a doubt the most painful post I have ever done because it dredges up painful memories of being abused and bullied by the political system, a process that drove me into some serious depression.  In order to understand where I am coming from, it is important that you know where I've been.

Not that long ago I was excited to have been working for the City of Edmonton, specifically the Edmonton Police Service.  I was ultimately responsible for all desktop database applications... creating new ones and fixing old ones...literally having the time of my life.  You see, I rock at what I do.  Building new complete applications, often in a matter of a week or less... being at a sections area within a matter of minutes to respond to problems and creating fixes on the spot.  My "reputation" within EPS was being the "go to" guy when you needed something done.

You learn a lot working for a large organization like the City, and a lot more when you work for the police.  Over the years I saw consultants sitting on their butts professing to be doing something, when most of what they did was to be 'buddy buddy' and drink coffee.  I can't tell you the number of times when I had to help a consultant do their work because they couldn't do it right or figure it out.  Rather annoying when they are being billed out at $75 per hour and you are making $23 per hour.

One of the other things you learn is how much politics plays a role, especially internal politics of the police.  I was told on many occasions by many people over the years to "be careful" of so and so, but one of the most heard 'stories' was told about a 'group of 3'(Go3) who apparently all started around the same time and supposedly there was a 'pact' in place where they all agreed to pull each other up the ladder.  Over the time I was with EPS, several Chiefs came and went... and eventually one of those three made it into the Chief's position.  One of the other 'group of 3' members was a Staff Sergeant who I will refer to as Mr. SS.  Throughout my days with EPS I was "warned" over and over about Mr. SS and the Go3.  Indeed, Mr. SS had been placed in many positions and could never seem to manage them in a manner that would allow for his friends to pull him up that ladder.

At one point, my daughter had been verbally sexually harassed while walking back from a trip to 7-11, and I got the address of where it happened and asked the folks in Sex Crimes to see if this was someone to watch out for.  They investigated and brought me a fairly thick file.  My simple question was "is the person there going to be a problem or have they been a problem in the past", and the answer was 'no'.  I never bothered to read the file, and the detective and I walked to the shredder.  I was also dealing a lot with the Crime Analysis section and the officer in charge of that section suggested that I go up onto the internal website and take a look at the new 'sex offenders' web page, and get a list of the people in our area to see if perhaps one of those folks were 'visiting' the address in question.  The web page had photos and some other information, and I printed out the ones in our area, and took them home to show my daughter.  As it turned out, none of those people were "the one" from that house.  So I dropped the matter, knowing it was probably just some idiot being an idiot.

While working for EPS, I was still doing my job as a volunteer Probation Officer, dealing with young offenders.  EPS hired me knowing that I was doing this work.  Anyway, some time passed and Mr. SS was put 'in charge' of the IT section, probably with the intention of using that position as his climbing the ladder thing.  You see, thanks to me, the IT department turned from being a "submit your request and two years later you will get it" into one where programs were literally flying out the door in a matter of days.  Just as a tidbit to toss in, I even re-wrote an application from scratch for the Property and Drug Exhibit unit.  The one that took 4 people 2 years to write, I did it in just over 2 months.

Well, it appears that I was wrong in one aspect. Mr. SS's placement into IT was more into catching me.  You see, I was placed under investigation by Internal Affairs as a result of Mr. SS... I was charged with releasing confidential information (the stuff for my daughter) and associating with known criminals (my work in probation)...

Needless to say, my world had been shattered.  I had been working my ass off, doing everything right, helping sections that were desperately in need of assistance.  Maybe I was doing too good, maybe I was putting the jobs of the others in IT in jeopardy because I was so good at what I did.  There are lots of things that could be "maybe" things, but I'll never know for sure.  But the bottom line in all of this was...  I cooperated with Internal Affairs completely.  I told the truth about everything, and I mean everything.  But Mr. SS kept the pressure on.  It didn't matter that 75% of the police vehicles parked out front of main headquarters were left with their new laptop computers still turned on and their last screens still had piles of information on them that anyone walking down the street could see.  This happened for months and months and months.  Yep, I was still the bad guy, and Mr. SS made it clear he was out to get me.  When you get told, over the years, about how Mr. SS consistently stabs people in the back in order to advance, well... I was fighting a system, one that I thought at the time that I had no chance at winning.  I was essentially forced to resign.  EPS Human Resources department told me they wanted to transfer me to a different area of the City but Mr. SS refused to allow it.  Internal Affairs thanked me for being completely honest with them, and that everything I had told them was indeed the truth.  But of course, that didn't matter.  I was tossed out the door.  And of course, those charges against me were dropped.  But the damage was already done.  The people who were my family had no hesitation in throwing me under the bus because after all, Mr. SS HAD to climb the ladder... you see, the new Chief was in the Go3.

Shortly after, Mr. SS was promoted to an Inspector.  And shortly after that things happened in the well known drunk driving sting.  The result was (in simple terms) the Chief was fired.  Mr. SS spoke out and apparently was given a gag order... which he promptly went in front of the TV cameras with the order in his fist, showing it to reporters and saying something like "you can't do this to me"...  Now, you never see him anymore.  And when you do, you will notice he never says a single word.  I suspect he was probably told to sit in a corner and shut up otherwise his job would be toast.  And of course, the disposed Chief launched a lawsuit with the City.  You will remember never hearing another word about that...  But if you had your eyes open, you WOULD see him again in front of the TV cameras because... the City hired him as a "consultant".  Rumor has it that he was paid about $500,000 to settle the lawsuit, and it would seem that part of the agreement was to re-hire him in the consultant position.  Do note that this IS nothing more than pure speculation on my part, and some of my conclusions are just common sense.  Clearly something happened, of that there is no question.

So we have two of these "Go3" folks who are of... shall we say... strange character... and please feel free to jump to whatever conclusions you want to.  One of my personal conclusions is that the politics of politics wins over what's right.  I was saving the City literally millions of dollars and providing extreme outstanding service. And I was a stepping stone for someone else...  In a world of black and white, I would have to say I was one of the good guys... the others are... well... questionable, considering all of the events.  Perhaps good intentions, but maybe driven by power rather than by doing "it" right.  I don't know...

What I DO know, is that my eyes were painfully opened to the world of 'dirty politics'.  The world where you can be legally right in what you do, because you follow the letter of the law.  But what about Justice? What about doing things RIGHT?

City Council followed the legal side of handling the City Center Airport talks.  I have serious questions about just how "right" that was and the true purpose in my mind, was just so they could SAY they followed the law.  I think many people were shocked about how this was handled, and there seemed to be a lot of dirty pool going on.

Yes, I've been hard on the City, and even on the police service at times.  When you take a good person and toss them on the ground and kick the shit out of them like what happened to me... you learn that the politics of politics can be very painful.  In my case, probably about 5 years of being in a deep depression caused by a system that didn't care.  You see, I went to the Mayor over this.  I went to the Alberta Government over this...  Guess what... no one cared.  Why?  Well, you have to protect your own, right?

So for the folks in the Alberta Party... and especially to Chris and the rest of those on the Board... Maybe now you will understand my passion for wanting to do things RIGHT and that I am not willing to settle for being "legally correct".  I am all about true JUSTICE, and for trying to fix things that are wrong within the system.  No one deserves to go through the hell I have been, and the way I was treated by "the system".

Some of you have said that my morals leave a lot to be desired.  I think that you should desire the morals that I do have.  Would I personally make a good politician?  Probably not, because I won't stand for any bullshit and I will speak my mind.  Despite what some of you may think, my mind is actually VERY open to new things and explanations.  But be warned, they have to make sense... justice type of sense, not legal type of sense.  From a "peoples" aspect, I am the type of person that should be in politics because I will and do, stand for doing things right.  My failure within politics however, is clearly that I am not polished... I don't care about saying the politically correct thing...

To the Mayor, EPS, and to the Alberta Government I say that you are bullies... you let bad things happen to good people, and you didn't give a flying rats ass about doing anything about it.  Just remember, what goes around comes around...