I completely disagree with the findings of the Integrity Commissioner with regard to ‘training’ for councillors, and disagree that Tony Bell had breached any conduct issues.
The concept of ‘stress’ is rather too all-encompassing, but one massive area of stress on the job is frequently wondering whether one will continue to have a job and be paid all 52 weeks a year.
Municipal employees, particularly senior ones, do not have this worry at all.
People in the private sector, whether employees or the self-employed, don’t have this income security, and are vulnerable. I worked in manufacturing for almost 40 years, of which 25 was in senior management, and stress was a daily fact of life.
There were many many reasons why industry was, and is, a continuously stressful environment, and always will be.
Managers didn’t take stress leave, and they still don’t in 2021. They do their jobs, and they use their weekends or vacations, whenever possible, to settle themselves down and recharge their mental and physical energy levels.
In other fields, how many electricians, plumbers, or carpenters can just go home if there’s too much ‘pressure’? How many building contractors can let their forepersons throw up their hands and leave the job site if the drywall delivery is late or the generator quits?
During this awful two years of COVID, do restaurant owners or retail merchants just take off when the rent can’t be met, or legislation or construction blocks what remains of their business? Do the vast majority of hospital staff just leave when the pressure builds, or do most of them summon their inner strength and keep going?
A reality check is sorely needed in HR, in several fields of employment.
Mike Robertson, Meaford
From personal experience, mental health issues are complex and can rarely be attributed to any one single issue including the workplace. My own doctor has asked me many times to consider a six-month leave to properly address my own mental health issues, however a six-month leave is not possible for me, but if it were I would jump at the opportunity to get better without work getting in the way.
As for your suggestion that hospital staff don’t leave when the pressure builds, in recent months there have been a number of news articles about the large number of first responders currently off on stress leave, and the fears that post-pandemic as many as 15 percent of nurses could leave the profession. Food for thought.