Dale Destin Responds, Met Officers Cry Out For Help Over His Management Style

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Destin/Photo 268weather

Response to article titled MET Office workers stage Sick out demanding the removal of Dale Destin

Antigua and Barbuda Meteorological Officers Association (ABMOA) is aware of an article circulating in the media about officers staging a sickout demanding the removal of the Director Mr. Dale Destin.

While some officers did report sick over the weekend it was clarified in a meeting on Sunday with the Permanent secretary, ABMOA as well as with the management of ABMS (including Mr. Destin) that the staff had not taken industrial action.

There is indeed unrest at the MET office and these matters have been ventilated to the Permanent Secretary for his intervention. Some of the issues are:

–              Mr. Destin does not hold his staff in high regards and micromanages every section of the MET office. Every officer at the ABMS is competently trained but the workers have become frustrated and demoralized because of the condescending manner in which they are spoken to and the lack of respect has reached to boiling point.

–              He berates the staff, berates the Permanent Secretary and other senior members of the Ministry even in the presence of his subordinate members of staff. It is as if he is lord unto himself and has even declared that he is second to none in the Caribbean.

–              He is denying officers their promotion albeit they would have attained the required years of service and displayed the ability to function on the desk unsupervised. He has also indicated it could be 10, 20 even 100 years, he will not promote persons unless he sees it fit based upon his merit.

–              There is also the move to amend officers’ job descriptions without the formal consultation in accordance with the Civil Service Act.

–              Finally, is the serious conflict of interest in which his social media platform “268Weather” is used as a competing source of official weather information separate and apart from the official government warning agency in which he is appointed to lead; much to the demise of the general public who thinks that “268Weather” is an official source for national weather information.

He tries to control the narrative of the forecasters, instructing them as to what they should write in their forecasts all in an effort to line up to what is being broadcast on his personal platform. Officers who oppose this are threatened with letters of insubordination

The issues with Mr. Destin date back years and he has proclaimed that he will use the stick and carrot approach in getting things done the way he wants them done. ABMOA recently wrote a letter to the Permanent Secretary indicating the officers’ reluctance to continue under this type of leadership.

A meeting was convened with the Permanent Secretary and subsequently The Minister with responsibilities for aviation, Hon. Max Fernandez. We were promised that the issues would be looked into it but in the meantime the officers continue to be aggravated at the hands of Mr. Destin through degrading emails and notices. This is not the first time officers have withdrawn their support to Mr. Destin where a petition was signed by 85 percent of the staff in 2019.

Contrary to what Mr. Destin says in the previously aired news article, officers are not resistant to change as we too believe that the people of Antigua and Barbuda deserve nothing but the best; however, you will never achieve this with a body of degraded and demoralized staff.

 The ministry has given the assurance to investigate these matters in a timely manner.

ANR SOUGHT A RESPONSE FROM DESTIN AND BELOW IS HIS STATEMENT.

I can assure you that these are false, old, regurgitated accusations of a few, in resistance to change in the quest for excellence and a second-to-none position in weather and climate services.

To provide some context, these same accusations were thoroughly investigated by the Ministry and the Public Service Commission approximately five years ago. At that time, they were found to be baseless, which ultimately led to my appointment as Director in 2022.

I could categorically dismantle each of the accusations; however, it would require me to throw some of my colleagues under the bus. Whereas they have the luxury to throw me under the bus, I don’t have that luxury. However, I will restate the following:

Accusations of micromanagement and disrespect toward staff members are unfounded. As the Director of the ABMS, it is my responsibility to ensure efficient operations and adherence to established protocols. Any interactions with staff are conducted professionally and with respect for their contributions.

Regarding promotions, decisions are made based on an objective assessment of qualification, experience and merit and in consultation with other persons. In the last six months, at least six persons have been promoted or recommended to be promoted. I understand the desire for career advancement; however, it is essential to maintain standards and fairness in the promotion process. Additionally, twelve new positions have been requested for creation to bolster and diversify career advancement within the Organization and broaden the thin management structure I inherited. Further, I have sent numerous people on training courses, as a part of continuous professional development, which I am a very strong proponent of.

I continue to use all resources available to move the Services of the Organization to first-world standards, including my resources. I use my social media platforms to promote and republish products of the Met Service, especially alerts, to try to reach the widest audience possible, to shine a light on the life-saving services of the Organization, not to overshadow it.  

Under my leadership, significant progress has been made, including the development of a strategic plana met billa quality management system, which we hope to get ISO certified later this year, millions of dollars committed for equipment from the systematic Observation Financing Facility (SOFF), close working relationship with the UK Met Office, a media centre etc. These accomplishments reflect my commitment to improving the organisation despite facing resistance. With the help of the staff, I have made the place a far better organisation than I met it. On June 4, we will hold the Country’s first National Climate Outlook Forum (NCOF), focusing on providing services for tourism, water resources, health, disaster risk reduction, energy and agriculture and food security.  

The concerns raised by staff have been duly noted, and I am committed to addressing them (notwithstanding the character assassination attempts) in collaboration with the relevant authorities. Steps are being taken to address any valid grievances.

I assure you that my priority remains the effective and optimal functioning of the ABMS and the well-being of its staff (notwithstanding the unwarranted character assassination attempts, by media). I am open to constructive dialogue and am willing to work with all stakeholders to ensure a positive and productive work environment.

The truth is my shield and will ultimately triumph.

Regards,
Dale 

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7 COMMENTS

  1. This is so much like a superintendent in apua water dept,she is already over 60yrs old and still in the company saying who should get promoted or not…………..When you check these shot callers out on the job they’re only on the job to boss around big grown people with qualifications but can’t even speak to their kids at home and they’re feeding them……….

  2. It matters not how brilliant and how knowledgeable one is, that alone doesn’t make them a good and effective manager. Having great meteorological knowledge and skills doesn’t necessarily make you a good manager. Good managers are great communicators, active listeners and amazing supporters. Management skills aren’t taught in school. To be a successful manager you need to hone and develop a new set of qualities or you run the risk of always being at odds with your team.
    You must be inclusive and have open and honest conversation with your team about how they feel at work and with the team. You must establish communication norms, you must practice active listening, empower your team, be decisive, hold yourself accountable, be confident but not corky, develop adaptability, know when to push and when to stop, be honest.
    When you have lost the confidence and trust of your team, it makes it impossible to manage and only adds to the chaotic dilemma in the office.
    There is nothing worse than when the manager and his subordinates are at constant loggerheads and he is not seen to be the type who listenes to anybody.

    • WHAT STAFF HAS BEEN DOING CONSISTENTLY FOR “25 YEARS?” LOL

      Take my advise… Gradually.
      Time has a way of resolving all issues.

  3. WHAT STAFF HAS BEEN DOING CONSISTENTLY FOR “25 YEARS?” LOL

    Take my advise… Gradually.
    Time has a way of resolving all issues.

  4. as our people say, be prepared to be CRUCIFIED. Maintain your composure, do not BE DISTRACTED, BE RESPECTFUL IN SPITE OF THE ANTIPATHY, DO YOUR WORK EXPEDITIOUSLY and wait. THEY WILL EVENTUALLY CALL YOU “SIR” and mean it.

  5. This all sounds bad. Where there is smoke, there is fire! I trust that as an Antiguan and tax payer that the relevant persons at the helm do their proper and thorough investigations with all parties involved to have this issue resolved in quick time.

  6. If he’s running a competing business on government time that is sufficient cause for his removal, never mind all the other stuff.

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