Thursday, January 03, 2008

Channeling Spock

First off, thanks for all of your replies to my thought provoking post yesterday. We are letting him go. I say "we" because I don't make this decision in a vacuum. A general officer gets the final say after all of his advisors make our recommendations. I pray this young man dies peacefully, even if he is a bad guy. If he uses his last few days on Earth to hurt people, I'm going to feel like shit.

Now on to my next problem.

We have a dirtbag soldier. Compounding this problem is the fact that she is a senior non-commissioned officer (NCO). She is being removed from her job and I found out second hand that she is being placed in charge of my emergency room. We have an outstanding NCO already in charge there and this would be a very disruptive force. What bothers me is that I wasn't even consulted on this decision. I guess that's par for the course when you are the ACTING Deputy Commander as opposed to the full-time Deputy Commander.

Well, I managed to arrange a meeting with all of the deputies and the commander and convinced the commander not to make a final decision until each of his advisors had a chance to give him input.

During the meeting, I began to realize that this soldier was being forced on me whether I liked it or not, even before I had a chance to get a word in edgewise. Well, what's a good deputy supposed to do when faced with this situation?

I stood up and prepared to walk out of the meeting in mid-discussion. I grabbed the door handle and turned to face the crowd. In my most logical voice I calmly said, "It looks like we are trying to accommodate this soldier at the expense of an entire department. I disagree with this plan. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one."

Then I walked out.

Don't laugh too hard. I just found out she is being assigned to a completely different section out of my area.


BamBam said...

O c'mon! No way did you really quote Spock in that meeting!!!

If you did.... (and I actually have a hard time believing otherwise for some strange reason) I hope at least one person in the room could truly appreciate how perfect that line was for the situation.

Live long and prosper !
(sorry, couldn't help it)

Be safe !

TenMile said...

You really like to bring the stuff, Doc.

This little problem has just about every military prejudice ever invented wrapped in it.

Start with what you did: Good stuff. You done good.

But the back ground for the situation facinates me more. I'll assume you are not a West Pointer; I'll assume that you are a USA(R) ranker; I'll assume you are the hot track special medical promotion type we need to retain in the services because we don't have enough of them; I'll assume that the services still promote NCO's through Commissioned decisions not congressional mandates; and I'll assume that many NCO's, especially senior ranks, are still promoted by mild favortism from senior, sometimes superior officers and therefore a certain patronage creeps in; and I'll assume that normal senior protectionism kicks in in this NCO's favor rather than causing seperation from the service for conduct.

Having assumed all that, one must see you bucked the system man wise and won.

Well done. And the ACTING CO part might have been a factor but the other assumptions were lurking.

Question: Did the NCO transfer come before the combatant thing; the same time or after.

Another Question: Are you being considered for promotion soon? One that would determine your future decisions to stay or left the service? Or having made the decision to leave, are you the whipping boy?

DrChako said...

TenMile - you clearly have military experience!

You are correct, I am not a West Pointer (but do I get credit for growing up right next door?). I am a Regular Army Lieutenant Colonel commissioned once through ROTC and again via Direct Commission when I became a physician. I am also prior service enlisted, so I have pretty good insight into this nonsense. You are spot on in your assessment about cronyism.

Being the Acting Deputy Commander AND knowing that I'm getting out of the military in less than 6 months gives me a lot of leeway. Everyone knows I don't need to suck up to anyone. I get to do things solely because I think they are the right thing to do. Fortunately my commander knows this and relies on me to give him the straight, non-sugar-coated scoop.

But yes, I'm also the whipping boy.


911siren said...

Bravo Brother!!

I am so glad you channeled Spock!! No one could have said it better. And it needed to be said!!

You have gone where no man (military-doctor-man) has gone before!! You Vulcan God!!!

Sister Michele (not a nun)

Anonymous said...

Wow bro!! I am dancing up and down! ATTICA! ATTICA! I must say, I had no idea that you were quoting Spock, and hopefully most of the people in the room didn't either. But you are in such a good position knowing that food and home for Ms. Chako and little Chako's does not rest with your job in the military. Keep on keepin' on bro. You are my hero!

CC said...

I am struck by the broader issue for the Armed Forces obviously overstretched regarding how collectively it deals with the Peter Principle. I assume that the NCO's situation is not an isolated occurrence; i.e., that there are numerous individuals who have through their own desires, the "system," and pure need, have been put into situations they are inadequately prepared for nor capable to perform. It is a quandary I assume that is as old as the Armed Forces, possibly magnified by the fairly unique situations of Iraq.

I hope there won't be any negative impact on you or the department after this, only positive. Keep scrapping, Chako!