Readers weigh in on…

Re: Termination relationship management (Nov. 27)

As an IT employee who has gone through this very experience I would suggest that management be very cautious about considering Reimer’s

recommendation to catch the departing employee entirely by surprise. The Human Resources material that I have read on the subject of terminations appears to pretty much universally condemn this approach. There are good reasons for that.

The large public sector employer who used that approach on me is about to face in a B.C. Supreme Court the first of what will likely be a series of very expensive legal actions precisely because they had not a clue how to deal with terminations, or for that matter, anything related to the HR process.

Simplistic recommendations such as Reimer’s are not what responsible management need. In general, if organizations took the time to treat their employees with the respect and consideration they deserve, they would achieve far more than relying on deception to solve problems that they likely created for themselves.

Chris Budgell

Re: Termination relationship management (Nov. 27)

I do not agree with some of the methods described in the article. The process, if followed, will open a management nightmare.

Let’s start by looking at the background check. If an IT company had a request for a background check from a competitor about a particular individual, the likely answer for Would they hire them back? will usually be no. The reason, well, it’s a corporate secret and that information can’t be divulged. If there is a concern, let the candidate explain the situation.

If you are looking for a non-disclosure agreement at the end of a relationship with an IT individual, you can forget that as well. Before being hired all IT personnel (and it doesn’t matter what industry you are in) should sign a non-disclosure agreement with a review of the agreement each year. The reasoning for this is IT personnel always have access to potentially secure and sensitive information.

If you keep the termination from an employee, unless the termination is for violation of policy (and not downsizing layoffs), you will send a very negative signal to the other employees in the company. Such questions as “”what did he do?”” “”Am I next?”” will become regular murmurs, creating a very bad work environment. In an IT environment, the worst reaction that can occur in the business is if its employees mistrust its employers.

I would also suggest considering how you remove the individual from you workplace. Gestapo tactics will make other employees feel as though they are in a prison, and draw unnecessary attention to the event that can also leave a bad impression with the former employee. Unless there was some violation within the company making it necessary to remove the former employee, care should be taken to not insult or cause bad feelings. There may be a day when you again require the services of that person, and removing their dignity will not win them over. I would suggest that taking the time to get back company belongings from the former employees office (i.e. the boss brings in a box and works with the former employee, thus totally emptying the space occupied) is a much better solution.

Trevor Mazak
Computer/electronic tech
Civil engineering
University of Manitoba

Re: GOL dissatisfaction prompts call for shared approach (Nov. 26)

I think these people are missing the point of the average citizen who uses the system. There are lots of times when basic information is just not available on these sites. For example, Industry Canada is responsible for the management of the radio spectrum in this country and are the authority for issuing licenses to use certain frequencies. My father and two of my brothers each spent about seven or eight hours trying to find some information on frequency assignments, licensing requirements, fees or who to ask/where to go. They found nothing to answer any of these questions. Both my brothers are IT people. I also have 30 years in IT and work at PWGSC. After hearing their horror story I tried to acquire information myself but to no avail! After spending three or four hours myself, I gave up. I don’t do this easily and am somewhat of an expert in finding and acquiring information.

I have had similar experiences on CCRA’s and DFAIT’s Web site.

The bottom line is that it’s great if you have a Web site. It’s a waste of taxpayers’ money when there is really no useful information on it.

Eddie Donovan

Re: It’s a wonderful byte (Nov. 26)

I really enjoy your editorials. They are a must read for me.

I was fascinated to see the news item on MS Media Presence Lab’s MyLifeBits. David Gelernter, one of the Unabomber’s targets, has created a similar system, sometimes called Mirror Worlds or LifeStreams. He is a professor at Princeton but has gotten backing to start a commercial venture. It’s been going for at least five years now and has had commercial product for more than two. The system originally required an NT Server and was configured as an enterprise document management system, giving any client the ability to view all personal client history in many new and interesting was. I believe recent efforts have been to create a personal system with no heavy duty servers involved. Check it out at:

I’m surprised that the MS effort reports have not referenced Gelernter’s system.

Jake Morrison

Re: Passport office: We won’t let U.S. see digital photos (Nov. 25)

As University of Toronto Centre for Innovation Law executive director Richard Owens notes, people may tire as they warily watch for what’s coming.

Art Smith

Re: B.C. backs Radwanski against CCRA database (Nov. 25)

Unfortunately the CCRA is just following the dictates of a bureaucracy that gets its marching orders from our covert government — The U.N.

That comment, “”searching a whole block of houses, because one may be a problem,”” is exactly the direction this country is taking, a normal procedure in 3rd world countries.

Welcome to the Peoples Republic of Canuckistan.

Mel Garden

Re: The outsourcers among us (Nov. 12)

I was astonished to read the comments by John Schinbein, CIO of the B.C. Ministry of Health Services, praising the idea that confidential patient information should be turned over to a foreign-owned corporation.

The B.C. government’s approach to information technology makes no sense. It may be good for IBM, but it’s not good for British Columbians. It means higher cost and less privacy.

The Campbell administration is laying off trained, experienced workers, and replacing them with “”consultants”” at a higher cost to taxpayers. A stable, committed group of IT professionals dedicated to public service is being replaced by a foreign-owned corporation whose first loyalty is profit.

In addition, the government has abdicated its responsibility to safeguard confidential personal information. IBM is now in charge of more than 80 percent of the applications used by the health ministry, including client registration and billing.

Mr. Schinbein claims that “”good communication”” is the key to getting around these issues. No amount of communication will change the fact that what the government is doing is harmful to the interests of British Columbians.

George Heyman
B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union

Letters to the editor must include the writer’s name and company name along with an e-mail address or other contact information. All letters become the property of Editors reserve the right to edit submissions for length and content.

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