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DND Civilians supervising CAF members [Merged]

Navy_Pete

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stellarpanther said:
I didn't hear the comment as I was out of the office but apparently someone was a little sarcastic with her and everyone was told that her position is similar to a Captain and we need to watch our tone as it is the same as speaking to a Captain.  Something like that.

Sorry, I've got to laugh, that sounds pretty much the same tone that is occasionally used.  'Okay sir, that seems like a great idea.'  ;D

That's kind of daft, but probably a good time to smile and nod. Not really worth any grief; they don't have any actual CoC authority, but guessing they probably report to someone fairly senior, so can be awkward.

Forgot also Ottawa has some pretty crazy position inflation as well; an AS-5 is usually a rung or two down from someone running the office, or maybe an admin assistant to a Cdr/LCol.  You can find Captains in that kind of job I guess, but usually as a secondary/tertiary duty, so it's not really the equivalent in skill sets or level of general responsibility/training.
 

Colin Parkinson

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exgunnertdo said:
My boss is a civilian (a PG-05, which I am told is the equivalent to a Major).  And if you go up high enough, I work for Dan Ross, who is ADM(Mat), a civilian.  There are several military officers in between my boss and Mr. Ross.

He writes my PER, but there are varying opinions as to who signs it.  He signed it one year and the LCol signed it another year.  Some will say that a civi can't sign a military PER.  My reading of CFPAS says he can, but whatever.

In our case, my CO is military, and I would imagine that, as an officer, most of the challenging issues (ie discipline etc) if they came up, would be dealt with by the CO.  Less formal stuff - counselling, PDRs, and so on would be handled by my boss, more formal stuff, up to the CO.

For example - my CO signed my TOS recently, which would be the CO regardless, not the immediate supervisor.

You think we're bad for rank stuff - you should see the unions fighting over who should work for whom!!!  We've had to re-work our entire org chart, because PIPSC (union) said that an ENG-05 can't work for a LCol and an ENG-04 can't work for a PG-05 or a Major.  Our org chart is now one deep and a mile wide, cause we have so many engineers, and they all have to work for the Col (or something).  They seem very very comfortable with the concept of rank and Chain of Command  ::)

I am an EG-6 at the top of my payscale, we don't have such issues, although my manager is an EG-7. If I was on a ship I wear the same rank as a Major, but due to the differences in careers, it's not really comparable. If I had to report to a another EG-6 or a Major, that would not bother me. I be more concerned about their ability to manage/lead which I find has very little to do with rank/level.
 

mariomike

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"civilian (AS something)"

"civilian (a PG-05"

Colin P said:
I am an EG-6 at the top of my payscale, we don't have such issues, although my manager is an EG-7.

In case anyone is curious what the abbreviations mean,
https://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/hrpubs/coll_agre/rates-taux-eng.asp

Date modified:  2015-06-01

 

QV

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SupersonicMax said:
Civilians may be supervisors of military pers.  AS-5 would likely be equivalent to Captain.

AS 1/2 - Lt
AS 3/4 - Capt
AS 5/6 - Maj
AS 6/7 - LCol

It's not about rank, it's more about job responsibilities, and who your peer group on the other side is.  A higher level admin assistant might be as high as an AS02, but more likely an AS01.  An AS06 could be a technical advisor to an L1. 

 

 

 

Navy_Pete

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QV said:
AS 1/2 - Lt
AS 3/4 - Capt
AS 5/6 - Maj
AS 6/7 - LCol

It's not about rank, it's more about job responsibilities, and who your peer group on the other side is.  A higher level admin assistant might be as high as an AS02, but more likely an AS01.  An AS06 could be a technical advisor to an L1. 
 

That seems a bit high.  The office I just left had an AS 3 as an entry level position, with an AS 6 acting as the advisor to a DG (one star equivalent). Believe the L1 advisors were AS-7s (or equivalent for a different classification).  That was common across a number of different departments working together on a major project here in Ottawa.

At the end of the day, they are civilians, we're not, but if everyone follows the golden rule of 'don't be a knob to each other' it works out pretty easily.
 

Kat Stevens

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CFE school teachers in Lahr were given access to the BFOM, and we had a COs secretary who treated the RHQ troop like her personal labour pool, and woe to the young Cpl who said something about it...or so I heard.
 

Blackadder1916

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Jarnhamar said:
Does that mean military members can be charged for insubordination if they're insubordinate to their civilian supervisor?

What do you mean by "insubordinate"?

The NDA uses "Insubordination" as a heading for a group of service offences that include 'Disobedience of lawful command', 'Striking or offering violence to a superior officer' and 'Insubordinate behaviour'.  The last one is usually what pers mean when they talk about someone being insubordinate.

http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/about-policies-standards-queens-regulations-orders-vol-02/ch-103.page#cha-103-18
103.18 – INSUBORDINATE BEHAVIOUR

(1) Section 85 of the National Defence Act provides:

“85. Every person who uses threatening or insulting language to, or behaves with contempt toward, a superior officer is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to dismissal with disgrace from Her Majesty's service or to less punishment.”

Ostrozac was correct in his previous post that a service member could only be charged with one of the subordination offences if the breach was directed toward a "superior officer" as defined in the NDA, however the notes to that QR&O provide a more complete answer.  The QR&Os referencing the other two insubordination offences also have the same Note (A).

NOTES

(A) The expression “superior officer” is defined in section 2 of the National Defence Act to mean any officer or non-commissioned member who, in relation to any other officer or non-commissioned member, is by that Act, or by regulation or by custom of the service, authorized to give a lawful command to that other officer or non-commissioned member. Unless this relationship exists, the charge must be laid under section 129 of the National Defence Act (see article 103.60 – Conduct to the Prejudice of Good Order and Discipline).

. . .  (the additional notes are worth reading)

Just because a member's supervisor is a civilian doesn't remove him/her from either disciplinary or administrative jeopardy if the member's behaviour is contrary to what is expected.
 

Rawimage

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Navy_Pete said:
That seems a bit high.  The office I just left had an AS 3 as an entry level position, with an AS 6 acting as the advisor to a DG (one star equivalent). Believe the L1 advisors were AS-7s (or equivalent for a different classification).  That was common across a number of different departments working together on a major project here in Ottawa.

At the end of the day, they are civilians, we're not, but if everyone follows the golden rule of 'don't be a knob to each other' it works out pretty easily.
Correct, i was civilian AS05 until May 18, and i had a Capt and a WO working for me and my immediate boss was a Maj in the DGCB world.  Wrote their PERs and went on unit boards to represent within the CMP World as well.  In NDHQ it’s very different than on any Base that”s for sure, in Halifax we had a civi running the show at the BOR but the senior officers didn’t want her to be an AS as they viewed that as being an Officer?? That was in early 2000s.
 

Navy_Pete

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Rawimage said:
Correct, i was civilian AS05 until May 18, and i had a Capt and a WO working for me and my immediate boss was a Maj in the DGCB world.  Wrote their PERs and went on unit boards to represent within the CMP World as well.  In NDHQ it’s very different than on any Base that”s for sure, in Halifax we had a civi running the show at the BOR but the senior officers didn’t want her to be an AS as they viewed that as being an Officer?? That was in early 2000s.

Thanks for the info; pretty varied for sure. Have seen other departments were someone was doing the same work but classed as a CR (so significantly less pay).  Thought the union would be pushing for some consistency in classification and levels that matched up with the description in the collective agreement, but they were pretty much useless (except for collecting the dues).

Have spent most of my time in Ottawa reporting to civilians, so not really a big deal, but can be strange to be a lone CAF member amongst in a civilian shop.
 

Pusser

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I asked a legal officer about this once.  Essentially, it boils down to this:  a civilian cannot give a military member a lawful command.  However, the military chain of  command can order CAF personnel to follow the direction of their civilian "superiors."  This is essentially what happens.  Having said this, every military member has a military chain of command, but it may only kick in for disciplinary matters.  For example, I was the most senior military officer at one unit where a civilian was officially appointed as the CO (that was an anomaly in itself); however, for disciplinary purposes, I had the powers of a commanding officer over all military personnel, even though I was not the unit CO.

There is no direct correlation between PS classification and military rank.  If your organization places a civilian in a superior position, they are in a superior position.  Their PS classification or pay level are irrelevant.
 
S

stellarpanther

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So the exact comment that was made to us was "even though she is a civilian, she holds the rank of Captain in the unit".  I don't think anyone really cares to argue it but I know a few of us would like to understand this stuff.  Any ref on this?
 

SupersonicMax

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stellarpanther said:
So the exact comment that was made to us was "even though she is a civilian, she holds the rank of Captain in the unit".  I don't think anyone really cares to argue it but I know a few of us would like to understand this stuff.  Any ref on this?

Does it matter?  Is it the hill you want to die on?
 

Journeyman

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SupersonicMax said:
I don't think anyone really cares to argue it but I know a few of us would like to understand this stuff
Does it matter?  Is it the hill you want to die on?
Wow.  Having stated that it's not an arguing point, should a service member merely seeking to understand their military be such a personal affront?
 

PPCLI Guy

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stellarpanther said:
So the exact comment that was made to us was "even though she is a civilian, she holds the rank of Captain in the unit".  I don't think anyone really cares to argue it but I know a few of us would like to understand this stuff.  Any ref on this?

Perhaps what was meant was "status" vice "rank".  In a military unit where everyone automatically knows where they are on the pecking order, indicating to all that someone is at a specific spot in that order just makes good sense to me.
 

Eye In The Sky

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stellarpanther said:
So the exact comment that was made to us was "even though she is a civilian, she holds the rank of Captain in the unit".  I don't think anyone really cares to argue it but I know a few of us would like to understand this stuff.  Any ref on this?

I think the person making the comment could have picked more appropriate wording.  I worked as a Branch 2 I/C, my branch head was a (retired Officer) civilian hired under an ASD contract (Alternative Services Delivery).  We understood each other perfectly; he knew he couldn't give me a 'lawful command', and I knew the HQ Adjt and COS certainly could.  ;D

I took my task list and priorities from him and interacted like I would have if he'd of been a Captain (the rank the position called for).  Sometimes 'common sense' is a good ref to go by.

Civilians can obviously never 'hold rank' etc, but they can have levels of responsibility and authority equivalent to X rank in the CAF.  :2c:
 

blacktriangle

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I've seen at least one DG who had a bio that stated he was "equivalent to MGen rank". I feel that was a bit of a stretch...

At the end of the day, if you are being supervised by a civilian, you aren't exactly at the pointy end (maybe a few exceptions to that) and it really doesn't matter. With that said, I commend anyone that tries to learn about the system. It will only serve to better a member as they move up, or out.

 

QM

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gunner26 said:
Here's a new one I heard from out west.  In the terms of reference for a civilian employee it includes 'supervision of orderly room staff'.  I thought it was odd that a civilian would be put in charge of an orderly room of CF members.  I seemed to recall seeing a CFAO on the matter; that DND civilian employees weren't to be place in charge of CF members, but can't seem to find it now.  I would think that this invites having issues with command authority and discipline.

The legal discussion is a separate one from the day-to-day workplace reality discussion. With regards to matters inside the Orderly Room, the civilian supervisor will indeed be in charge. It's his or her OR, and decisions impacting the operation of that OR will be at that leader's discretion. Yes I said leader. As well, a certain degree of control over the uniformed Member's development and conduct and assessment is going to be exercised, in conjunction with whatever military C2 is in the picture.  It's not radically different than a purely uniformed C2. Your MCpl doesn't decide when you get loaded on a career course or get exempted from PT for a couple weeks because your workload is too heavy. They can recommend for or against, but a lot of players are involved in the decision. Same applies when your Section Commander-equivalent is a civilian.

Although the civilian may be in charge for day to day operations, the uniformed Member in this scenario will also be responsive to whomever is the closest uniformed supervisor, perhaps the CC or a Pl WO or maybe the AO or the Adjt, depending on the organization. When you get to Ottawa it could even be someone outside your Org Chart, since you could have 2 or 3 or 4 civilians directly above you in your C2. But there will be uniformed staff - Sr NCO and Officer - formally designated as being responsible for purely military matters for uniformed Members with civilian bosses. There are dozens and dozens of different setups across the country. In a military Unit with a uniformed CO and a uniformed RSM etc, having a civilian supervisor or five dribbled into the structure is routine and very easily managed. Think Service Battalions, which can even have Officer-status civilians, an AS-02 Procurement Officer, for example. There is no shortage of uniformed C2 available there to make the troop's (or the civilian's) day entertaining.

Bottom line, the civilian boss has known arcs of fire within which he is clearly the boss, and can legitimately order the uniformed Member to undertake the activities outlined in the job descriptions. "Corporal, you are on front counter duty next week" is a legitimate order from the civilian boss. "Corporal, you are exempt battalion PT for the next month while we work end-year" is something the civilian supervisor would have to coordinate with the military C2 above him.
 
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