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Blog Post

[3] The Social Isolation of Over-Specialized Wading Pool Workers

02-Sep-2012 [5738]

Wading pool (Aquatics) workers at the end of the summer of 2012 were told not to communicate with recreation workers in Ward 18 (apart from entirely banal interactions). Likewise Recreation workers were ordered not to communicate with Aquatics staff.

In addition, both sets of staff were told not to communicate with the public on any internal matter, or regarding any internal information, referring matters instead to their supervisors.

Dufferin park workers were even told not to use shared email accounts for communication with senior city staff.

And all of this puts a chill on communications in general, including with the public visitors to the parks, even with kids.

These practices have apparently been pursued by Parks, Forestry & Recreation (PFR) in an attempt to secure "compliance" with departmental policies and procedures, judging that inter-group communication would result in "conflict", and presumably overly transparent communication with the public would result in unwanted interventions.

In practice these directives had their intended purpose of subverting collaboration among the staff, and with community members, in doing the work of maintaining park activities. Ironically, the result was a severe deterioration of productivity, and consequently reduction in levels of support for the community.